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The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson

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Deborah Sampson wanted to travel and have adventures, but since she had no money, the best way to do that was to join the army. This is the exciting true story of a woman who became a soldier during the American Revolutionary War, by dressing and acting like a man.


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Deborah Sampson wanted to travel and have adventures, but since she had no money, the best way to do that was to join the army. This is the exciting true story of a woman who became a soldier during the American Revolutionary War, by dressing and acting like a man.

30 review for The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julesmarie

    This came across as very odd to me. It's so short, with so many facts thrown in that it didn't feel like a story at all, more a summary of her life. Which, given the intended audience, seems rather an odd approach, as even to me the dry tone was uninteresting. However, in among the plain list of facts were a few attempts to guess at what Deborah Sampson's emotions might have been over certain events. For example: "Deborah loved her kind cousin. Miss Fuller taught her how to spin and weave, and how This came across as very odd to me. It's so short, with so many facts thrown in that it didn't feel like a story at all, more a summary of her life. Which, given the intended audience, seems rather an odd approach, as even to me the dry tone was uninteresting. However, in among the plain list of facts were a few attempts to guess at what Deborah Sampson's emotions might have been over certain events. For example: "Deborah loved her kind cousin. Miss Fuller taught her how to spin and weave, and how to make bread. Best of all were the wonderful hours of reading lessons... For three years Deborah was happy." Which attempts at making this a "story" and not just a summary just came across as condescending. Also, there were a few events included in the story that seemed rather too mature for the intended audience. The most vivid being the detailed description of Deborah using her knife to dig a bullet out of her own leg so that doctors wouldn't find out she's a girl. So, I suppose by odd I mean contradictory. The dry facts presented in a condescending tone interspersed with too-graphic details makes me wonder just who the intended audience might be. I'm not sure how comfortable I feel having this in my classroom library.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shaeley Santiago

    Deborah Sampson had a challenging life growing up, so when she was finally free to do as she chose, she wanted adventure. She wasn't ready to marry and have a family like most girls her age. So, she dressed up as a man in order to join the Revolutionary army. Reminds me of another woman soldier who fought during the Civil War, Sarah Edmonds, . Deborah Sampson had a challenging life growing up, so when she was finally free to do as she chose, she wanted adventure. She wasn't ready to marry and have a family like most girls her age. So, she dressed up as a man in order to join the Revolutionary army. Reminds me of another woman soldier who fought during the Civil War, Sarah Edmonds, .

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    I rated this book a little higher than I might have on my own because of the opinions of my daughters. (My 8 year old said she’d give it 5 stars). We enjoyed reading it aloud together after studying the Revolutionary War in history. It’s a good beginning biography for children and we all admired Deborah Sampson’s sense of adventure and courage.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emery B

    I read this book in one evening.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If I had never read this story until today I would most likely have given it three or four stars. But I read this book over and over and over in elementary school and junior high and high school. It was my favorite book, and so it gets five stars for its longevity and a bit of nostalgia too. When I was young I admired Deborah's work ethic and dedication to her current living situation - whether she love it or not. I loved her honesty and hard life. Her desire to learn everything she could at a ti If I had never read this story until today I would most likely have given it three or four stars. But I read this book over and over and over in elementary school and junior high and high school. It was my favorite book, and so it gets five stars for its longevity and a bit of nostalgia too. When I was young I admired Deborah's work ethic and dedication to her current living situation - whether she love it or not. I loved her honesty and hard life. Her desire to learn everything she could at a time when it wasn't thought important for girls to do more than work hard, marry and have a family was inspiring to me as an eight-year-old and throughout my life. She wanted to learn of life outside what was considered acceptable for a young woman at the time and she planned her adventure well. She didn't seize out one morning on a crusade in a blanket of passion and determination, she watched and learned and solidified her plans. I believe this care for the future and the path ahead is why I respected her story more than any emotional flight of fancy it could have been. The chapters are short. The story is presented as I imagine Deborah Sampson would have told the story herself: proudly and with attention to detail. My eight-year-old daughter read this twice recently and asked me to read it in my own again. While she waited for me to read it, her 10-year-old brother snatched it up and read it. Both of them enjoy it enough that it now rests more often on a sofa than a bookshelf. I completely understand why.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Colin Peck

    By reading this book, students will gain a better understanding of the life of women during the Revoltuionary War as well as the life of a soldier in the Continental Army. This will give students another perspective on this time period (a girl fighting as a man in the Continental Army). While this book is historical fiction, it is also classified as a biography. This woman actually dressed as a man so she could fight in the army. Underlying themes in this book are also courage, bravery, and adve By reading this book, students will gain a better understanding of the life of women during the Revoltuionary War as well as the life of a soldier in the Continental Army. This will give students another perspective on this time period (a girl fighting as a man in the Continental Army). While this book is historical fiction, it is also classified as a biography. This woman actually dressed as a man so she could fight in the army. Underlying themes in this book are also courage, bravery, and adventure. This would be an excellent book for fifth grade teachers to use in their classrooms, either as a read aloud or as part of their curriculum. It could also be used in eighth grade history classes (maybe as part of a biography assignment during a unit on the American Revolution). The grade level of this book is 4.3, and the interest level is for grades 6-8. It could be used effectively in either a fifth grade class or an eighth grade history class depending on the students' abilities.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shannon McGee

    Written in short entertaining paragraphs which I can only assumed where formed from Deborah Sampson diary as the book states she kept one most of her life after she learned to read. Deborah was known to be a very smart child and as a adult even taught as a school teacher for a while until she became eager to travel the world. She saw her chance in joining the American Revolution dressed as a man. She even fooled her own mother dressed up. The book is easy to read and entertaining with drawings of Written in short entertaining paragraphs which I can only assumed where formed from Deborah Sampson diary as the book states she kept one most of her life after she learned to read. Deborah was known to be a very smart child and as a adult even taught as a school teacher for a while until she became eager to travel the world. She saw her chance in joining the American Revolution dressed as a man. She even fooled her own mother dressed up. The book is easy to read and entertaining with drawings of Deborah and her history. I think it is an excellent read for children to learn how far women have gotten to this day and in Deborah’s time period. I would be interested to see more books about her. I do not know if any books are out there in adult format but there should be if her diary is around.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ivy

    SYNOPSIS: The Secret Soldier tells the story of Deborah Sampson, a woman who always wanted to travel but never had any money. She knows that the army travels so she dresses up as a man so she can join the army, where women aren't aloud. But what happens if they find out her secret? REVIEW: This review contains some historical events throughout the book that had appeared in Deborah's lifetime. Everything all happens so quick, that you don't feel like your reading a book, you feel like your reading SYNOPSIS: The Secret Soldier tells the story of Deborah Sampson, a woman who always wanted to travel but never had any money. She knows that the army travels so she dresses up as a man so she can join the army, where women aren't aloud. But what happens if they find out her secret? REVIEW: This review contains some historical events throughout the book that had appeared in Deborah's lifetime. Everything all happens so quick, that you don't feel like your reading a book, you feel like your reading a short summary. No time for details, thoughts from the character, it was just ridiculous. AGE RATING AND RECOMMENDED TO: Recommended to children, age rating: 7 and over. IF YOU LOVED "THE SECRET SOLDIER", YOU'LL LIKE: "Abigail Adams: Girl of colonial days" By: Jean Brown Wagoner

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nelly411

    what I think of this book is that this is not only about the war it is about women work how they could not be a soldier and they only had a few choices and that is: * Get Married * Be a house wife * Be a survent for 10 years That was only three choices and that is not fare to the women they should have there own right they should be able to do the things they want to do like: * Be a soldier *Help the sick * and other things they like to do That should be there choice not ruled over men ok the wom what I think of this book is that this is not only about the war it is about women work how they could not be a soldier and they only had a few choices and that is: * Get Married * Be a house wife * Be a survent for 10 years That was only three choices and that is not fare to the women they should have there own right they should be able to do the things they want to do like: * Be a soldier *Help the sick * and other things they like to do That should be there choice not ruled over men ok the women needs freedom and have fun at least ok and thats why I love deborah sampson the secret soldier thank you for asking my oppinoin

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liane

    Genre: Illustrated Historical Fiction Reading Level: Transitional Topics & Themes: Revolutionary War. Poverty. Death. Women's rights. Illness. Courage. Strong historical women. Curricular Use: Guided or Independent Social: Poverty. Treatment and expectations of women. War. Social class: having servants. Literary Elements: Years and age of Deborah to track book progress. Setting of battlefields reflects fear of being caught. Climax leading to discovery that she was a female. Text & Pictures: Not illust Genre: Illustrated Historical Fiction Reading Level: Transitional Topics & Themes: Revolutionary War. Poverty. Death. Women's rights. Illness. Courage. Strong historical women. Curricular Use: Guided or Independent Social: Poverty. Treatment and expectations of women. War. Social class: having servants. Literary Elements: Years and age of Deborah to track book progress. Setting of battlefields reflects fear of being caught. Climax leading to discovery that she was a female. Text & Pictures: Not illustrated on every page. Captures part of the action on page.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This is an easier, less detailed read about a woman disguising herself as a man in order to fight in the Revolutionary War. I preferred Solider's Secret by Klass, but this version is preferable for 4-6 grades, primarily because it lacks the details of how she hid that she's a woman while living among men. This version is told with the same skimming over of details as Disney's Mulan. I preferred the Klass version for students who have the maturity to handle a more realistic and detailed account o This is an easier, less detailed read about a woman disguising herself as a man in order to fight in the Revolutionary War. I preferred Solider's Secret by Klass, but this version is preferable for 4-6 grades, primarily because it lacks the details of how she hid that she's a woman while living among men. This version is told with the same skimming over of details as Disney's Mulan. I preferred the Klass version for students who have the maturity to handle a more realistic and detailed account of Deborah Sampson.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephania

    This book was a quick easy biography to read. Very easy for the younger reader or lower level reader. 62 pages and easy to get through. Deborah's father is killed and her mother is ill and sends her children off to be cared for. Deborah goes from house to house until she finally lands in a deacons house. They keep her until she is 18 doing work and all she wants to do is learn and have adventures. She chooses to lead a secret life as a soldier and is discovered. Revolutionary War which is famili This book was a quick easy biography to read. Very easy for the younger reader or lower level reader. 62 pages and easy to get through. Deborah's father is killed and her mother is ill and sends her children off to be cared for. Deborah goes from house to house until she finally lands in a deacons house. They keep her until she is 18 doing work and all she wants to do is learn and have adventures. She chooses to lead a secret life as a soldier and is discovered. Revolutionary War which is familiar to most students and can draw them in.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    This adventurous, information filled biography provided me with great insight on the challenges women, specifically Deborah Sampson, faced during the Revolutionary War. I found this book to be intuitive and wonderful to read because of the great detail the author provided. I think students would find this story interesting because they could enjoy and adventurous read, while learning about the Revolutionary War at the same time. However, I think the illustrations could have had more detail, but This adventurous, information filled biography provided me with great insight on the challenges women, specifically Deborah Sampson, faced during the Revolutionary War. I found this book to be intuitive and wonderful to read because of the great detail the author provided. I think students would find this story interesting because they could enjoy and adventurous read, while learning about the Revolutionary War at the same time. However, I think the illustrations could have had more detail, but the text was 5 stars worthy!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Easy read for elementary aged students about the story of Deborah McGovern, a woman who dressed like a man so that she could fight in the Revolutionary War against the British. It is a factual novel, that starts with the story of Deborah's difficult childhood and continues to explain the hows and whys she wanted to fight in the War for Independence. I would have loved to read more about some of her adventures during the war, but the book does a nice job with "just the brief facts" of her life. Easy read for elementary aged students about the story of Deborah McGovern, a woman who dressed like a man so that she could fight in the Revolutionary War against the British. It is a factual novel, that starts with the story of Deborah's difficult childhood and continues to explain the hows and whys she wanted to fight in the War for Independence. I would have loved to read more about some of her adventures during the war, but the book does a nice job with "just the brief facts" of her life.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heloyce

    I read this little book years ago but read it again recently and found it an interesting account of a young woman, Deborah Sampson, who had a desire to travel and have a life of adventure. At the age of 18, she joined the army, dressed like a man, and continued to serve in that capacity for a year and a half. (Unbelievable but true) Her true identity was finally discovered when she was wounded and then discharged. She later married and had a family. Now I call that a real adventure.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kms7010

    I loved this book. When I first read it with my mom I realized that the book was about wars and laws and things like that . I realized that I had just taken a test that was on that stuff that I just listed above. The book taught me some new things and some things that I already know from my previous test. I would recommend this book to one of my teachers or my friend Gina.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kellyanne Higgins

    I read this book over and over as a kid, before I enjoyed reading and when I rarely ever did it for fun. Deborah Sampson is an unsung hero from our nation's past that every child should learn about in school. I read this book over and over as a kid, before I enjoyed reading and when I rarely ever did it for fun. Deborah Sampson is an unsung hero from our nation's past that every child should learn about in school.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan Haines

    Inspiring book for 2-5th graders about a woman who pretends to be a man in order to fight for her country in the American Revolution and ends up disillusioned about war but having made a mark for women everywhere who knew there was more to life than getting married and having kids.

  19. 4 out of 5

    xo Jules

    My almost 10 year old daughter loved this book. The idea that a woman could get away with pretending she was a man to join the army amazed her. Good biography for young ladies to read as an example of how to not let boundaries dictate their lives

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kamryn

    I really like this book and I am not a big fan of biography books.I think this book is very inspiring because it makes me feel like girls can do anything boys can do. I would rate this book 4 stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Demsky

    Scholastic does a good job on introducing books to children! This adult enjoyed the story – it was educational and encouraging for any young child to believe they could follow their dreams and be what they wanted to be!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Madhuri Podugu

    Deborah Sampson is very brave woman.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ricci

    This was an interesting read especially for my daughter. How often do you hear about female war heroes. Deborah Sampson was a tough cookie and was very fascinating to study.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susan Miller

    A great read about a brave young girl that fought for her country. She then spoke about her adventures around the country.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Cahill

    Very interesting story. Great for a Revolutionary war study. Will read again.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    I remember reading this a long time ago in elementary school. I enjoyed it. It was like Mulan in the Revolutionary War. That's all I remember of the book though and how she had to hide her secret. I remember reading this a long time ago in elementary school. I enjoyed it. It was like Mulan in the Revolutionary War. That's all I remember of the book though and how she had to hide her secret.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I rated this book based on my children's opinion of the book. They gave it 4 stars. They are 9 years old. We read this book as a read aloud for homeschool. I rated this book based on my children's opinion of the book. They gave it 4 stars. They are 9 years old. We read this book as a read aloud for homeschool.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    The true story of a girl who disguised as a guy, and joined the army. (Mulan?!) Decent book :)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Good basic little book. It was a good discussion on some of the women's issues and bravery during the civil war. Good basic little book. It was a good discussion on some of the women's issues and bravery during the civil war.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    She removed a bullet from her own leg with a pocket knife to keep from getting caught. 'Nuff said. She removed a bullet from her own leg with a pocket knife to keep from getting caught. 'Nuff said.

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