Martha Washington: America’s First First Lady

Happy George Washington’s Birthday, Perfect Picture Book Friday (over at Susanna Leonard Hill) and The Beauty of a Woman Blogfest II (over at August McLaughlin)






Luckily, I found a book that applies to ALL THREE.


Martha Washington: America’s First First Lady

Written by Jean Brown Wagoner

Publisher: Aladdin (1986)

Ages: 7 and up


Believe in oneself, be yourself, strong girls and women, follow your dreams

Opening Lines:

“The Dandridges had company. There was nothing unusual about that. They often had company, but this was someone special. Mr. Dandridges’ sister, Mary, had come from England. She had sailed across the ocean to visit her brothers in Virginia. In 1738, that was a great adventure.”


This story gives us a picture of the childhood of Martha Washington, America’s original First Lady. It also gives us a picture of life in the early 18th Century…Martha’s family were wealthy colonists in the New World.

Why  I like this book:

This is a chapter book from the 1980’s. Kids learn about the men who have been president of this country…but not much is taught about their wives. This book gives a wonderful picture of the strong young girl who grew up to be First Lady. Martha Washington was a gracious hostess and, although she objected to the rigid life as wife of the president, she had been raised to fulfill her responsibilities and she stood by his side. She stayed with her husband during the harsh winter at Valley Forge and was credited with keeping up the soldier’s spirits.

The line drawings depict the life of a wealthy family in the colonies…Indian scouts interrupt dinner to relay reports and black slaves keep the plantation running smoothly.

How a parent can use this book:

We need to encourage girls to dream and set goals…whichever ones they wish. These days, girls can set their sights on any job in any sector…they can even think about living in the White House…not as a First Lady, but as the President. The book can also be used to compare life now and then…parent and child can make a list of how things were done then and note how things are different these days.

Related Activities:


What a simple recipe…kids will love to help prepare these yummy cookies!


Recipe and photo from:

You will need: 2 eggs whites, 1 cup pecan halves, 1½ tsp vanilla extract, 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, ½ tsp salt, electric mixer, greased cookie sheet.


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
  2. Beat egg whites and salt until foamy; gradually add brown sugar and vanilla.
  3. Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. Fold in pecan halves.
  4. Drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour.


More Martha Washington recipes:

Some information about Martha Washington:

More information about Martha Washington:

For more quick and easy recipes and other activities that kids love to do, please check out my book. Click this link to purchase a copyshow me how build your child's self-esteem, positive parental participation

I also wanted to mention that Marilou, over at Spanish Pinay, did a special post, honoring several mommies with the Positive Parental Participation Blogger’s Award:

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on February 22, 2013, in Beauty of Women Blogfest, Martha Washington, Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. I love historic children’s books…especially about the childhood of famous women. I’ll be looking this one up!


  2. Strong women have shaped history. Glad to learn about another good read.


    • I agree, Wendy. It’s important for us to offer kids books with strong and successful female characters. I didn’t know that Martha had spent time at Valley Forge with her husband and served as an inspiration to the soldiers.


  3. What a great biography, and I love the cookie recipe.


  4. Perfect choice for Presdient’s Day this week. There is very little written about Martha Washington for children, but I’ve read a lot in adult books. She was an important person in history and I’m glad children can read about her.


    • I know that I never learned about her when I was in school…and it would have been such a valuable lesson to learn that this tomboy of a girl grew up to be a woman who had the courage to inspire the troops at Valley Forge. That was certainly not in the textbooks.:)   


  5. We were just having a discussion about first ladies with our kids. This book will be a perfect follow-up. Thanks, Vivian!


    • I was surprised to find such a fun and interesting book about Martha Washington…especially because it begins with her childhood. From 1986, it’s one of the old-fashioned ‘chapter’ books. And there are plenty of illustrations that help give the sense of what thinks actually looked like. Glad you liked it, Amy!


  6. So good to see a book about Martha Washington — there is such a plethora of books about George. Thanks, Vivian!

    (P.S. Did you get my message on Facebook?)


  7. Cookies AND history? Thanks, Martha AND Vivian.


  8. Martha Washington was a GREAT First Lady!


  9. Catherine Johnson

    Perfect Friday combination Vivian. What a great message and I’m going to make those cookies!


  10. This is a great book idea for kids of both sexes. I read books about girls and women with my boys and they don’t seem to mind, as long as it’s not ridiculously cheesy and girly (there are a lot of books like that, unfortunately).


  11. Thanks for this creative take on the BOAW, and for participating in the fest! What a fun way to learn about history, and potentially eat some tasty cookies, too. 🙂


    • I’m glad you liked it, August! My blogging mission is to always try to connect my posts with parent/child issues and concerns…and ‘The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II’ seemed like a perfect opportunity to offer a book for kids about a strong and courageous young girl.:)


  12. Wonderful post, Vivian 🙂


  13. I don’t know anything about Mrs Washington. This looks like a good way to fix that! And cookies to go along with! Thanks for sharing!


  14. And the cookies are gluten free! 😀 I’m aka @GlutenNaziMom, so your recipe made an impression. I love that you said girls can aspire to be president, and think that’s definitely something we could see with the next election. I have an essay being published in the upcoming book, 51%: Women and the Future of Politics, and the tag line is WWWD–What Would Women Do? Or What WILL Women Do? Be totally awesome, that’s what I think!


  15. You are right. Girls still don’t really dream of bring the president. And that’s a damn shame. It’s also why we need to ratify an Equal Rights Ammendnent, once and for all.


    • Hi Renee,
      Thanks for stopping by and adding your impassioned plea…it is sad…as parents and teachers, we need to encourage girls and engage with them in meaningful conversations. The media has a big negative influence as well.


  16. How clever of you to find a book that covered all your bases at once, and with such a great theme! This looks terrific. AND THOSE COOKIES!!! YUM! GOing to have to try those out ASAP!


    • I’m sure you try to do the same, Susanna, with all you have on your plate…and maybe, if you make the recipe, you will have to add cookies to that plate.:) Are you guys getting more snow tomorrow…we are supposed to…I hope there’s not too much…I’m supposed to go to a really interesting talk on The Woman as Hero (like Joseph Campbell’s Hero/Mythology studies), but examining the role of women as the hero in books.


  17. I always enjoyed reading the biographies of historic figures . . . giving a glimpse of the past.

    The cookies look good. 😀


  18. Wonderful cookie recipe, Vivian! We have a good friend in Colorado Springs–a former history teacher who is 6’4″ and looks and dresses up like George Washington for school and professional performances –and he can’t have gluten. He’ll love the Martha Washington recipes!


  19. I love what you chose to do for this BOAW blog fest! As a child, my favorite books were history ones about women: Elizabeth Blackwell, Helen Keller, and of course all the Dear America series. We need role models throughout our years to show us what’s possible!


    • Thanks, Jess! It is so important for kids to have great role models. I love this book series because it enables girls to see what amazing people the First Ladies of our country have been. Maybe, one day in the future, we will have books about the First Gentlemen. 🙂


  20. Sounds like a great book, Vivian. I do have to say I was distracted by those cookies, though! Yum!


  21. You deserve some kind of award for combining all three elements so effectively into the one post, Vivian. Thank you for sharing. 🙂


  1. Pingback: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II! | August McLaughlin's Blog

  2. Pingback: Beauty of A Woman BlogFest: Lessons from Grandma H | Kourtney Heintz's Journal

  3. Pingback: Beauty of A Woman BlogFest: Lessons from Grandma H | Kourtney Heintz's Journal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Polilla Writes

reading, writing, celebrating the written word

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Michelle Eastman Books

Kid Lit Author and Advocate


about reading, writing & thinking children's books

Laura Boffa: Write of Way

Giving the way of writing the right of way


A Gallery of New Picture Book Talent

EMU's Debuts

From Deal to Debut: the Path to Publication

Wander, Ponder, Write

A KidLit Journey...

Picture Book House

reviews and stories about parenting with picture books

Pernille Ripp

Teacher. Author. Creator. Speaker. Mom.

Norah Colvin

Live Love Laugh Learn . . . Create the possibilities

Gathering Books

Singapore | United States of America | Philippines

Beth Anderson, Children's Writer

Reader, Writer, Miner of Moments

Susanna Leonard Hill

Children's Author

The Stinky Backpack

Traveling the Everyday World

The Runaway Palate

Food. Travel. Cooking. Random musings. Maybe some historical stuff.

The Reader and the Book

"O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Authors & Illustrators Wild About Kidlit!

Teresa Robeson

thoughts on kidlit nonfiction, diversity, and food

Tracy Campbell

Heart for Ewe Publishing

kidsbook friends

Check out this blog about children's books!

Mary Jo Beswick

Artist - Children's Book Author & Illustrator - Teacher

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

Children's Writer


READING: like dancing in your brain

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

Stacy S. Jensen

Reader | Writer | List Maker

Reading With Rhythm

book reviews from Rhythm the Library Dog

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Nerdy Chicks Write

Get it Write this Summer!

Laura Sassi Tales

Celebrating writing, reading, and life.

Erika Wassall here... The Jersey Farm Scribe

Author, Freelance Writer, Entreprenur... LIVER of life

Angie Karcher

Writing Children's Books

Chapter Book Chat

A Writer Reviews Chapter Books, by Marty Mokler Banks

The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

The Waiting

Turns out, it's not the hardest part.

%d bloggers like this: