Cover image for A is for Abigail : an almanac of amazing American women
A is for Abigail : an almanac of amazing American women
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2003.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 28 cm.
Reading Level:
AD 1030 L Lexile
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Each letter of the alphabet is represented by an important woman in the history of the United States, as well as others in her same field of accomplishment.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 920 CHE 1 1
Book J 920 CHE 1 1
Book J 920 CHE 1 2
Book Q J 973.099 CHE 0 1

On Order



Lynne Cheney and Robin Preiss Glasser collaborated on America: A Patriotic Primer, which captured the imagination of American children and became a national best-seller. Now they turn their hands to A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women and bring the great women of American history to life. Filled to the brim with words and pictures that celebrate the remarkable (although often unmarked) achievements of American women, this is a book to relish and to read again and again.
Mothers, daughters, schoolchildren, generations of families -- everyone -- will take Abigail Adams's words to heart and "remember the ladies" once they read the stories of these astonishing, astounding, amazing American women.

Author Notes

Lynne Cheney was born on August 14, 1941 in Casper, Wyoming. She received a B.A. with honors from Colorado College, a M.A. in English from the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. in 19th century British literature from the University of Wisconsin. She was the editor of Washingtonian Magazine from 1983 to 1986. As chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1993, she wrote and spoke about the importance of knowing American history and she worked to provide opportunities for teachers to gain the knowledge that leads to inspired instruction. She has written several books including We the People: The Story of Our Constitution and James Madison: A Life Reconsidered.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Similar in design and concept to America (S & S, 2002), this alphabet book is attractive and fun to read. Through it, Cheney hopes to educate children about a number of strong individuals who contributed to American society, and, in many cases, helped women to gain their civil rights. With rare exceptions, the profiled women were born before 1950. For each letter, a page features a person or a concept. The "E" page, for example, discusses six educators. The letter "J" is associated with Anna Jarvis, advocate of the Mother's Day holiday. Information about each figure is given in a phrase or one-sentence reference to her major achievement. The colorful, cartoonlike illustrations make this book particularly engaging, and the detail and varied design of the pages are additional enhancements. Some of the pages have borders containing the names of the women who fit the letter category, such as the authors listed in the borders on the "W" page, which cameos Edith Wharton and lauds women as writers. All of the people are shown in active postures. A double gatefold producing the effect of an opening theater curtain reveals an array of performers ranging from Mary Martin as a flying Peter Pan to Mahalia Jackson singing. While the information is limited, the overall effect creates an awareness of the totality of American women's achievements.-Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The follow-up to this team's America: A Patriotic Primer outshines their debut as it spotlights American "women achievers" in many areas. The Second Lady devotes a handful of pages to individuals ("A is for Abigail Adams, who knew that women should be heard"; Emily Dickinson gets a full-page dedication for "D"). More often, however, she uses a single name as a springboard to a thematic spread introducing others with similar accomplishments ("K is for Mary Kies and other inventors and entrepreneurs") or designates a letter for a particular vocation ("E is for the Educators, the women who taught us well"). In addition to politicians and writers, the book also acknowledges scientists, artists, athletes and mathematicians. Several vague entries slightly weaken the book's thrust (e.g., "S is for the Sixties and Seventies and the Second Wave" refers to the "second wave" of the struggle for equal rights for women, yet offers no specifics; "V is for Variety" is followed merely by the question, "Who can count all the things girls can grow up to be?"). Concluding notes flesh out the information provided on most of the pages, and a plethora of strong quotes add women's voices to this light-hearted history lesson. Rendered in black ink, watercolor washes and colored pencil, Glasser's creative illustrations brim with imaginative and playful details, and her likenesses of the many famous personalities are often uncanny. The letter "P" inspires the visual piece de resistance: a double fold-out enables readers to open an elegant theater curtain on a broad cast of performers-from Gloria Swanson (in her prime) to Judith Jamison to Maria Tallchief. Indeed, many of these pages deserve hearty applause and will likely whet readers' appetite for more information on these impressive women. All ages. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

This alphabet book honoring the country's distaff trailblazers is ill-conceived and poorly organized: kids who understand that Elizabeth Peabody began the American Kindergarten movement already know the alphabet, and they may wonder why she's on the T is for TRAILBLAZERS rather than the E is for the EDUCATORS page. Visually, the book is a hash of mini-bios and illustrations of the subjects. Endnotes. From HORN BOOK Spring 2004, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

The creators of the sumptuous, if superficial, America: A Patriotic Primer (2002) follow up with a better, look-alike tribute to the achievements of this country's women, Abigail Adams to Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Though Anne Hutchinson takes a solo turn for "H," most entries are multiples, from the four female medical workers surrounding Elizabeth Blackwell to a double-gatefold stage at "P," filled with renowned Performers. Occasional captions or pithy quotes, supported by sketchy notes at the back, provide snippets of context for at least some of the women here--and Glasser gives them recognizable faces in her big, playful, intricately detailed compositions. But few were born after 1950, and some are never even named: several feminists are seen marching in "S is for the Sixties and Seventies and the Second Wave" (i.e., of feminism), for instance, but not identified. Still, as a consciousness-raiser, this offers a larger cast than Cheryl Harness's Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women (2001). (Picture book/biography. 8-10) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-4. Hundreds of quotes, snippets of biography, and tiny line-and-watercolor portraits celebrate athletes, scientists, writers, suffragettes, inventors, entrepreneurs, and other trailblazing American women through history. The title pages show preschool girls playing dress up in all kinds of roles, and it's clear that the large volume is intended for sharing with children. But the overcrowded design with numerous small vignettes on every page will have limited appeal for the picture-book set. In fact, a few selections seem more for adults--among them, the double-page spread P for the performers, with flaps that open out to reveal Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, and many others of that vintage. This isn't a first purchase, but the sheer numbers and mix of subjects make this lively fun for browsing and a good starting point for classroom projects and family read-alouds. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist