Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 3, 2022


Nov. 15: CLOAKED IN COURAGE: UNCOVERING DEBORAH SAMPSON, PATRIOT SOLDIER, illustrated by Anne Lambelet, Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane.


The remarkable story of Deborah Sampson, a woman who fought in the American Revolution disguised as a man—and who ends up finding her true identity and purpose in life.

Deborah Sampson didn’t like being told what to do, especially by the King of England. Fiercely independent, 18-year-old Deborah enlists as Robert Shurtliff in George Washington’s Continental Army to fight for her country’s independence. But being a soldier is hard, dangerous work. Can she fight for her country and keep her identity a secret? Can she also discover who she really is and find her true purpose? This unbelievable story from American history about a woman with a rebel spirit will inspire and enlighten young readers.

Cloaked in Courage is inspiring storytelling centering the life and actions of a brave woman and soldier, Deborah Sampson. Anderson’s contribution brings to light a lesser-known hero in history and emphasizes the importance of historical investigation and research.” —Lori Ann Terjesen, director of education, National Women’s History Museum.


Thank you for having me back to share the book journey of CLOAKED IN COURAGE: UNCOVERING DEBORAH SAMPSON, PATRIOT SOLDIER, illustrated by the amazing Anne Lambelet!

While the experience of each manuscript contributes to the next, each book journey is different, with new insights, lessons, and challenges. I’ve known the basics of Deborah Sampson’s story for a number of years. I considered it for a children’s book a while back, but it didn’t grab me enough to make me dig into it. That is, until I saw a newspaper article in July 2019 about a found diary acquired by the Museum of the American Revolution which referenced what appeared to be her failed attempt at enlistment. That piqued my interest, and I investigated further. I found a person who faced challenges of all kinds as she resisted tradition, defied gender expectations, and pushed past poverty—a woman intent on choosing her future and proving her capableness.

Her story was a difficult one to research due to all the misinformation that’s been perpetuated over the years. Much of it came from a biographer of her time that took liberties with what she told him. It appears that he wanted to shape her into his version of a heroine. Consequently, that book can’t be trusted, and unfortunately, it’s been used by others through the years as fact. I put on my nonfiction blinders as I picked through resources and tried to sort it all out. One source that took each bit of her life and tested the veracity of the original bio was a treasure trove.

While her story is definitely historically interesting, it took a while before it grabbed me at an emotional level. I wrestled with how to tell it after researching for a few months. I got through a first draft. And then I was stuck. For quite a while. In 2020, the release of Lizzie Demands a Seat took lots of time, and then the pandemic hit and anxiety stalled my writing for a few months. I dove back in hoping it would put me into a more normal mode. I dug deeper into her life. When I explored her childhood, I started to see the pieces fit together—her “becoming” who she would be as I researched widely to understand being “bound out,” indentured servitude, her family history, use of disguises, attitudes and media of the time. Setting is SO important to understanding a story like hers—in trying to find an emotional core, as well as avoiding interpreting her actions through today’s lens. I was able to contact some amazing historians who deepened my understanding of various aspects of her life and the history.

The driving question of what made her who she was began to emerge. When I anchored the thread of “becoming” by connecting the events of her life and the world around her, I was able to build the narrative. One of the challenges was finding how to see and use her very difficult childhood. Looking at it from various angles, I discovered that the best way to view it for young readers was that her mother gave her a chance in life, even when it was heartbreaking. The idea of Deborah capitalizing on chances in life, and the courage she exhibited in always being her best self, became the “heart” of the ”becoming” thread.  She became a character we could root for, one that would touch our hearts.

By the end of 2020, and after many revisions, I had a contract. Anne Lambelet came on as illustrator, and due to an open time slot in her schedule, the book was scheduled for fall 22, quite a speedy publishing timeline! Seeing the sketches is always a special moment. Anne’s work was emotional and beautiful, had an interesting style, and so many historical details. Working with an expert to vet the illustrations was a vital piece of the process. I dug into more research and searched out more questions. The expert alerted us to details that didn’t fit the times and sent images and information to help us ensure historical accuracy. I learned about “wallets,” in the form of a bread holder on the table, and also as Sampson’s “travel pouch”; about mattresses; about army food; and lots and lots about army equipment and uniforms which happened to change over the years of the war.

The process and challenges of researching offered many lessons, some of which I shared in the back matter section on being a history detective. Knowing some of the pitfalls, learning how to ask key questions, and thinking critically is essential—and fascinating!

Deborah Sampson’s story turned out to be so much more than I had thought at the beginning. I’m looking forward to sharing it with young readers! It’s just one more example of how you have to get to know someone before your empathy sparks and your view of the world opens up to new understanding.

Pre-order Special! The Wandering Jellyfish Book Store in Niwot, CO is offering signed copies and special pre-order swag!

Educator Guide for download here:


Beth Anderson, a former basement tinkerer and English as a Second Language teacher, has always marveled at the power of books. With curiosity and a love for words, she writes untold tales, hoping to inspire kids to laugh, ponder, and question. She’s the award-winning author of REVOLUTIONARY PRUDENCE WRIGHT, TAD LINCOLN’S RESTLESS WRIGGLE, “SMELLY” KELLY AND HIS SUPER SENSES, LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT!, and AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET.

Beth Anderson has always been fascinated by language. After years of using literature to teach English as a Second Language, she took off in pursuit of her “someday” and began writing for children. She loves exploring points of view, playing with words, and digging into history and culture for undiscovered gems. Beth is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. She has more historical picture books on the way, including CLOAKED IN COURAGE: THE STORY OF DEBORAH SAMPSON, PATRIOT SOLDIER, now available for pre-order.

Beth was born and raised in Illinois, she now lives near the mountains in Colorado.


Anne Lambelet  earned a bachelor’s degree in illustration from the University of the Arts in 2014 where she was awarded the Roger T. Hane award for the top illustration portfolio by a senior.  Since then she has worked with several clients:

Her first author-illustrated picture book, Maria the Matador, was published by Page Street Kids in February of 2019 followed by a second author-illustrated book, Dogs and their People, and The Poisoned Apple: A Fractured Fairy Tale. She has illustrated The Traveler’s Gift by Danielle Davison, the 3 three middle Grade novel in the Greystone Secrets Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and How to Build an Insect by Roberta Gibson.

She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband Brice, her adorable dog, Eevee and her morbidly obese (but also adorable) cat, Fitzgerald. For children’s book illustration, she is represented by Stephanie Fretwell-Hill at Red Fox Literary. You can contact her by emailing her at or by using one of the methods below.



  1. This looks like a terrific book. I will check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The book sounds fascinating. I’m in awe of the amount of research Beth did for her story. Looking forward to reading it .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an AMAZING backstory! Thanks Beth, for sharing it, and for Kathy for featuring this. I will link to this blog when I publish my review. Sharing on FB, Twitter, and Pinterest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another great picture book! Congratulations, Beth and Anne!

    I follow by email and tweeted this post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fascinating—I love reading about the process for finding the heart of your book. Love the book, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This book looks awesome!! So glad when untold stories come to light.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This author has the most amazing commitment to research and finding the heart of her stories. I enjoyed this interview and can’t wait to read this book too. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and tumblr.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am so happy to see a new book about a favorite of mine. I would love to have this to share with children.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful book for strong-minded girls. Great story come to life. Thank you for the chance to win this awesome story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amazing journey for all. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Educators need this book for the USA 250th birthday party. I can’t wait to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post Beth. I love your candor in the challenges that perpetuated falsehoods caused in uncovering the truth about Deborah. I think critical thinking applies to research and current news and social media. Awesome book, Beth.
    (email subscriber & shared on Twitter)


  13. I love all of Beth’s books and look forward to reading this one. Getting a glimpse of a book’s journey is always fascinating and reading about this book’s journey will make the book extra special when I read it! Anne Lambelet’s art is beautiful and perfect! Congratulations to all!


  14. wow! This book looks absolutely amazing. In both the narration and the illustrations. I look forward to reading and sharing! Thanks for keeping readers in the loop of great stories to check out. Also, shared on twitter and I follow. 🙂


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