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Buttons for General Washington

post written by Emma Filbrun

Title: Buttons for General Washington
Author: Peter and Connie Roop
Series: On My Own History
Major Themes: George Washington, Easy Reader, Picture Books, American Revolution
Synopsis: When a young Quaker man joins Washington’s army, his family devises an ingenious way to get information to the General.

One thing I enjoy supplementing our history course with is easy readers with lots of pictures. These books tell a fascinating, usually little-known story in simple terms, and the pictures keep children’s attention. One such book that we read in the past few weeks was Buttons for General Washington. We certainly enjoyed this short story about one little-known method of spying during the Revolutionary War!

John Darragh was 14 when he was given an important job during the Revolution. Though his family were Quakers who believed it was wrong to fight, his older brother Charles had joined Washington’s army. To help keep him safe, the family began spying for the rebel army, and John had to carry messages to General Washington. His mother devised an ingenious way to send the messages—it was up to John to get them out of Philadelphia without being discovered.

Buttons for General Washington is a good, gentle story for young readers that introduces them to the challenges faced by ordinary people during the Revolution who wanted to help the American cause without being in the army. The text is simple but very interesting, and the pictures are great. This is the type of book I like to have on my shelves for my beginning readers to practice with!

WARNING: John disobeys his mother and takes a shortcut—and is caught.

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9


Links to buy Buttons for General Washington:

Amazon: Paperback | Audio CD

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Paperback | Hardcover


George Washington, Easy Reader, Picture Books, American Revolution

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