By the Light of Fireflies

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Age of Revolutions

By the Light of Fireflies: A Novel of Sybil Ludington
Author: Walsh, Jenni L.
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Time Period: Age of Revolutions
Time Frame: 1777
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: Sybil Ludington, Spies
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Middle Grade
Format: Chapter Book
Published: 2021

American History > Age of Revolutions > American Revolution

Sybil Ludington believes in the legend of fireflies--they appear when you need them most. But it's not until her family is thrust into the dangers of the Revolutionary War, and into George Washington's spy ring, that Sybil fully experiences firefly magic for herself--guiding her through the darkness, empowering her to figure out who she's supposed to be and how strong she really is--as she delivers her imperative message and warns against a British attack.

BY THE LIGHT OF FIREFLIES is the captivating tale of a young girl's journey as a daughter, a sister, a friend, a spy, and eventually a war hero, completing a midnight ride that cements her place in history as the "female Paul Revere."

Emily's Review

I was excited to read a story about a girl hero of the Revolutionary War. There isn't a lot of information about Sybil Ludington, beyond that she rode to alert her father's militia on a ride that was twice as long as Paul Revere's. So the author had to do quite a lot to flesh out this story.

I felt that Sybil's age wasn't clear throughout the story - she is a teenager for most of the book, but she feels more like a 12-year-old in her speech and mannerisms. Also, this is more of a horse book than I was expecting and unfortunately, horses are not my thing. However, I bet that the horse element will really appeal to some middle-grade readers! I also really liked how Sybil and her sister helped their father run his spy ring. The coding was really interesting. It would be fun, while reading this story, to invent your own secret code and pass coded messages back and forth!

Overall, I think this would be a nice extra to add to your Revolutionary War studies, particularly if you have a child who loves horses!

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