Dear America: The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory (New edition published by Scholastic, September 1, 2010; originally published in 1996)
Abigail Jane Stewart, called Abby by her family and friends, is eleven years old and living in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania when the American army arrives there in December 1777. Abby is mostly worried about her mother and her new baby brother, because five of her brothers died in infancy and she is afraid for this new baby. She thinks war is an adventure and doesn’t understand how serious it is.
However, when Abby, her mother, and her two sisters get a job doing laundry for General Washington, Abby and her sisters learn firsthand about the horrors of war. Determined to do their part to help, they sew for the soldiers, and visit the sick and injured soldiers in the encampment. In the process, Abby matures and understands the sacrifices of the soldiers, and that freedom is worth fighting for.
I first read The Winter of Red Snow in 1996, when it was originally published as one of the first books in the Dear America series. Each book in the series is the fictional diary of a preteen or young teenage girl living during an important time in American history. Out of the many books in the series, this one remains one of my favorites. The Dear America series truly brings history to life and helped me develop a love for historical fiction, and I am glad to see the series is being brought back into print for a new generation of readers. Highly recommended.