Author David Bruce Smith, and world-renowned artist, Clarice Smith, have collaborated on a compelling, historical biography of Abigail and John Adams. Abigail & John is a unique children’s book about one of America’s most-treasured couples–with stunning and original illustrations. The couple was not just husband and wife; they were partners who helped nurture the U.S. in its formative years.
In an interview with the Maryland Humanities, Smith discussed the importance of writing about American History for his new Grateful American Book Series.
Maryland Humanities: Why is it important to make a story like that of John and Abigail Adams accessible for young people?
David Bruce Smith: When I visited Founding Father homes, regularly, I noticed over time that Mount Vernon was always referred to as “George Washington’s Mount Vernon,” and James Madison’s estate was called “James Madison’s Montpelier.” After a while, it bothered me, because little girls were being excluded; most likely, they thought of these historic homes only as places that once belonged to old men. It’s far better to be inclusive and recognize women’s contributions, because that gesture wraps more people into our history, and raises the country’s historical literacy.
The purpose of the Grateful American Book Series is to feature presidential/historical marriages that were partnerships. Abigail and John had a warm, intimate, loving relationship that was equal. She was also his most valued adviser and confidante.
Maryland Humanities: What is the most important thing you learned while working on this book?
David Bruce Smith: It is so important to understand how people from another time—like Abigail and John—lived and functioned, especially without any luxuries. Young people sometimes have to be taught to immerse themselves in a long-ago historical period.
Smith created the Grateful American Book Series to encourage young learners to understand and appreciate America’s history, in an era when teaching it in the classroom is on the decline. Each book will focus on a presidential or historic marriage that was a partnership.
Smith is the founder of the Grateful American Foundation, and co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, which recognizes excellence in non-fiction and historical fiction for seventh to ninth graders.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about Abigail & John, and additional interviews featuring the author, visit the Grateful American Book Series.
Abigail & John is published by Liberty Bell Press, an imprint of the Pike and Powder Publishing Group, LLC.