In 1776, the War of Independence comes to New York City, and to twelve-year-old Sophia Calderwood’s family. William, her older soldier brother, has been missing since the defeat of George Washington’s Army at the Battle of Brooklyn.
When the British occupy the city, Lieutenant John André of the English Army, is boarded at the Calderwood home. He and Sophia develop a flirtatious friendship, which is tested when the girl discovers that William is being held in The Sugarhouse, a notorious British prison. She hopes André can help. When he chooses not to, Sophia struggles to save her brother by herself.
Behind the story
- I was raised in Brooklyn Heights, the site of the biggest battle of the American Revolution. It was that battle, which brought the English to Manhattan, which they occupied for the rest of the war.
- The place where I lived was also not far from the Brooklyn bay where the British had prisoner ships. Fifty thousand Americans died on those ships. The beach was littered with human bones. read more
Read Chapter 1, readable online and as a downloadable PDF.
Pinterest Board by Kara Strode, background photos and sites for Sophia’s War
The Battle of Brooklyn: take a video tour with John Turturro
“The Grisly History Brooklyn’s Revolutionary War Martyrs,” Benedict Cosgrove, Smithsonian magazine, 13 March 2017
“The Death and Resurrection of Major John Andre,” John Knight, Journal of the American Revolution, 2018
A new book by Avi, Loyalty, available next spring, will tell a story of the Revolutionary War from a boy’s point of view. It will be fascinating to juxtapose these two texts in your reading group or classroom.