Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton

by Margaret McNamara (Author) Esme Shapiro (Illustrator)

Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Fans of the musical Hamilton and their children won't want to miss this stunning picture book biography about Eliza Hamilton, American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton's extraordinary wife and an important figure in her own right. Includes an afterword from Phillipa Soo, the actress who originated the role of Eliza in Hamilton!

We all know the story of scrappy Alexander Hamilton and his rise in American politics--but how much do we know about his workmate, inspiration, and stabilizing force, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton?

Margaret McNamara employs the letter-writing style of the period to tell the story of Eliza Hamilton, who was born into a family of considerable wealth, power, and influence in Albany, New York, in 1757. Eliza was expected to marry into a similarly powerful family . . . until she met and fell in love with the charismatic Hamilton. She stood by him throughout his tumultuous life, and after his death, she single-handedly collected his papers and preserved them for historians and musical-theater writers of the future. Eliza outlived Hamilton by fifty years; during that time she founded the first orphanage in New York State, raised funds for the Washington Monument, and kept the flame of her husband's memory and achievements alive.

This is a beautiful and informative biography featuring extensive back matter--including information about America's revolution, the historical relevance of letter writing, and a timeline--and exquisite, thoroughly researched art that mirrors paintings from 18th-century America. Every Hamilton lover will want to gift it to the young readers in their lives.
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Publishers Weekly

In an epistolary picture book, McNamara envisions Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton as an elderly woman writing a letter to her yet-to-be-born great-granddaughter Elizabeth: "My daughter, who is your grandmama, has asked me to devote this day to writing a letter to you, about my very long and fortunate life." The letter details Hamilton's upbringing (including her family's ownership of slaves and her deep, subsequent regrets), her marriage to Alexander Hamilton and her social and political engagement alongside him, and his untimely death. McNamara provides a portrait of the subject beyond her famed marriage, as Hamilton recounts her work to build schools and orphanages. Shapiro illustrates in delicate, pattern-laden mixed media; landscapes call to mind the work of Grandma Moses, while Hamilton, her husband, and other figures resemble finely featured paper dolls. Expansive back matter includes an afterword from Phillipa Soo, who originated Hamilton's role in the musical Hamilton. An intimate and well-informed biography. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A lovely biography of a revolutionary in her own right."—Booklist, starred review
Margaret McNamara
Margaret McNamara is the author of the Robin Hill School series, and she gets many ideas from her daughter's own school experiences. She lives in New York City.

Mike Gordon illustrates the Robin Hill School series and has an extensive and varied background in illustration and design. He lives with his family in Santa Barbara, California.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Schwartz & Wade Books
Publication date
October 20, 2018
BISAC categories
JNF007020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Historical
JNF007070 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Political
JNF019050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Family | Orphans & Foster Homes
Library of Congress categories
United States
Hamilton, Alexander
Hamilton, Elizabeth Schuyler
Politicians' spouses

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