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Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero



Last updated Monday, June 11, 2012

Author: Marissa Moss
Illustrator: John Hendrix
Date of Publication: 2011
ISBN: 0810997355
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2012

Synopsis: This fast-paced, high-energy picture book tells the true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who at age nineteen disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the Civil War. She took the name Frank Thompson and joined a Michigan army regiment to battle the Confederacy. Sarah excelled as a soldier and nurse on the battlefield. Because of her heroism, she was asked to become a spy. Her story comes to life through the signature illustrations and design of John Hendrix and the exciting storytelling of Marissa Moss.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Has anyone here heard of the Civil War? What was the Civil War about?
•  Does anyone know what a spy does?
•  What is an arranged marriage?

Vocabulary:
•  Disguise: a costume, mask, or make-up used to change a person's appearance
•  Protested: argued
•  Gangly: tall, lanky
•  Discipline: training that improves skill
•  Camaraderie: familiarity and trust between friends
•  Flinching: moving
•  Fortifications: Walls made of earth, stone, or wood to protect soldiers in camp
•  Maimed: wounded; crippled
•  Ramparts: The tops of fortifications, sometimes wide enough that soldiers can walk on them

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you think Frank was brave for joining the army to fight the war?
•  What do you think of Frank playing the part of nurse, soldier, and spy?
•  Have you ever dressed up as someone else?
•  Do you know anyone who has been in war? Any women?
•  Why did Sarah want to join the Army?
•  Why didn't they want women to fight in the war?
•  On whom would you spy? What information would you seek?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a disguise
•  Draw pictures of soldiers
•  Make a tent (see the sample)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!