Rescuing the Declaration of Independence: How We Almost Lost the Words That Built America

Anna Crowley Redding (Author) Edwin Fotheringham (Illustrator)


He saved the words that built America Emmy Award-winning journalist Anna Crowley Redding and Sibert Honor illustrator Edwin Fotheringham bring to life the riveting true story about the lowly clerk who saved the Declaration of Independence from being destroyed by the British army in the War of 1812. This nonfiction picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 4 to 6. It's a fun way to learn to read and as a supplement for activity books for children.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

These are the words that helped found our nation. Today the Declaration of Independence is one of the United States' most heavily guarded treasures, but during the War of 1812 it would have been destroyed if not for one man whose story has nearly been forgotten by time. Come along on this historic adventure and learn how one ordinary clerk did a truly extraordinary thing.

As a clerk for the State Department, Stephen Pleasonton spent his days quietly immersed in paperwork. He never expected to receive an urgent message telling him that the British army was on its way to the capital. And that the documents that Stephen was entrusted with--such as the original Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution--were all in danger

It fell on Stephen to get our nation's most cherished and priceless artifacts safely out of Washington

--Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

$18.99  $17.47
Publish Date
April 14, 2020
8.4 X 0.4 X 11.1 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Before diving into the deep end of writing for children, Anna Crowley Redding's first career was as an Emmy-award winning investigative television reporter, anchor, and journalist. The recipient of multiple Edward R. Murrow awards and recognized by the Associated Press for her reporting, Redding now focuses her stealthy detective skills on digging up great stories for kids--which as it turns out, is her true passion. Her books include Google It! and Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World.
Edwin Fotheringham is the award-winning illustrator of numerous books for kids, including What to Do About Alice?, recipient of both a Sibert Honor and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor; The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy); Those Rebels, John & Tom; and Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word. He lives with his family in Seattle, Washington. You can visit him at


"This rollicking tale gives a nice sense of the time period. It also emphasizes how the actions of a less-than-famous but determined individual can have great effect and demonstrates that each person's role in history--even one that focuses on packing up government files and papers--is important. Budding historians as well as those unfamiliar with history will both enjoy this pleasant, fast-moving selection."

--Kirkus Reviews
"Fotheringham's (Most Wanted) action-packed illustrations, hand-drawn and digitally rendered, bring to life a little-known piece of United States history...Redding (Google It) imbues her often-alliterative narration with a sense of urgency, echoed in the artwork, as Pleasanton works to save original manuscripts such as the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Nearly every spread features exigent motion, whether a galloping horse or Pleasonton running."--Publishers Weekly
"The narrative propels readers forward and is complimented by Fotheringham's playful, digitally rendered illustrations...this picture book is a unique tale of heroism by an ordinary and relatively unknown clerk. A welcome addition to history shelves."--School Library Journal
"Budding historians as well as those unfamiliar with history will both enjoy this pleasant, fast-moving selection."--Kirkus Reviews