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Paperback Details
  • 06/2020
  • 978-0990940814
  • 63 pages
  • $10.99
Dorothea Jensen
Liberty-Loving Lafayette: How "America's Favorite Fighting Frenchman" Helped Win Our Independence

Children/Young Adult; History & Military; (Market)

Inspired by the Broadway hit, HAMILTON, and by Longfellow's "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," author Dorothea Jensen wrote this SHORT RHYMING NARRATIVE about the Marquis de Lafayette and his crucial role in our Revolutionary War. A glossary and extensive endnotes supply further information about the historical figures and events mentioned in the poem. This playful historical account is aimed at middle schoolers, as well as young and older adults. Illustrated with classic paintings of the people and events in the book, this also has a glossary and extensive end notes to provide further explanation of these fascinating historical happenings.
Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Tony award-winning Hamilton made household names of historical figures audiences previously hadn’t known much about. Jensen carries the torch with her second book for young readers (after the YA novel A Buss From Lafayette) about the hero of the American Revolutionary War. In engaging rhyming verse possibly inspired by the musical, Jensen details how the French marquis wound up in the American colonies and got caught up in the war. She peppers the text with modern slang (“bro”) and French phrases (“mal de mer”) while historic paintings, portraits, maps, and engravings (Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun’s sumptuous study of Marie Antoinette; Emanuel Leutze’s dramatic Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth) bring to life the tale’s cast and milieu.

The lighthearted storytelling still underscores the subject’s significance–“Without him we would not have won our Independency,” Jensen writes, rhyming with independency with liberty. However, the balance between historical authenticity, approachable language, and rhyme scheme fidelity can be precarious and sometimes gets lost. The text refers to Lafayette by multiple names (Gilbert, “the marquis”) which can be confusing given the plethora of characters, both British and French, featured in the story. Page layouts and the positioning of the period images often interrupts that most crucial element of rhymed, rhythmic storytelling: the flow.

This narrative is meant to be read aloud—and would be a valuable companion for classrooms and projects—showcasing its enjoyable blend of history and rhythm. Jensen proves scrupulous in keeping the text factual, digging into the political realities behind revolutionaries like George Washington embracing a French aristocrat, and her detailed end notes, offer concise explanations (“The French government feared having a ‘celebrity’ like Lafayette join the fight on the side of the Americans”) that will help alleviate any audience perplexity. Young history lovers and fans will savor this playful rendition of Lafayette’s biography, centered around historical documents and works of art.

Takeaway: Young history buffs will enjoy the rhyming text and historical art in this lively biography of the French hero of the American Revolution.

Great for fans of: Jean Fritz’s Why Not, Lafayette?, Selene Castrovilla’s Revolutionary Friends.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Alan R. Hoffman, Translator, Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825

"An ode to the great Lafayette, beautifully told and richly illustrated..."

Chuck Schwam, Publisher, American Friends of Lafayette Gazette

"Dorothea Jensen brings Lafayette to life for all ages" 

David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Book Prize

". . .a perfect example of how a writer can make history/learning history fun. . .the accompanying art is wonderful"

Diane Shaw, Director Emerita of Special Collections , Lafayette College

"A great addition to the [Lafayette] canon" 


It is an established fact that most Americans who are interested in our history are older.
One only has to be aware of the ages of the members of historical societies to be convinced of this.

Dorothea Jensen, however, specializes in making history come alive for the young - pre-teens and teenagers. In this her latest work, a short 50 page book, she tells the story of a French nobleman, the Marquis de Lafayette and his pivotal role in winning the American Revolution.

Her narrative starts with the nineteen year old Gilbert learning about the American struggle for freedom from the British, covers his important participation in the conflict and in bringing France into the war, and ends with his participation in the victory at Yorktown, Virginia.

To draw young people into the story, Dorothea richly illustrates her work, and presents the pertinent historical facts in rhyming verse. As you read, you can actually experience the rhythm of a rap performer.

Knowing that the young may have short spans of attention. Dorothea quickly imparts the key points of the story in rhyme. Then she supplements her work with a glossary of terms, and, for those interested, provides comprehensive end notes for each verse detailing the action.

As a life member of the American Friends of Lafayette, and a researcher for The Lafayette Trail Project, I can assure readers that Dorothea covers all the bases of this important story with historical accuracy while making it fun to experience.

A must read for the young (and old)!

John Becica


I truly enjoyed reading Liberty-Loving Lafayette: How “America’s Fighting Frenchman” Helped Win Our Independence by Dorothea Jensen. The clever verses make it easy to understand Lafayette’s crucial contributions to the American Revolution in a very enjoyable and memorable way. It makes learning fun for all ages. Also the archival illustrations, the glossary and the notes greatly enriched the story.
This is a jewel of a book that parents and teachers will enjoy just as much as children and teenagers.—Carolyn Pollak


Martha B rated it 5 Stars it was amazing

I LOVE this book! It’s great for adults as well as young people. What a fantastic homage to Lafayette, who’s been on our minds so much lately because of HAMILTON. I love how this book wonderfully encapsulates history with its vivid Lafayette portrayal, and how the author achieves this in such a super-engaging way, through witty, clever rhyme and poetry. And I love its multimedia approach – poetry, history, reproductions of gorgeous historical paintings. It's extraordinary the amount of accurate and sophisticated historical narrative the author fits into this wonderful book and how much the reader learns about this fascinating and important figure in American history. I learned so much about exactly who the heck Lafayette was and what he did for the American cause. Very cool, to know this, and to be entertained to boot. What a colorful figure Lafayette was!

Someone should make a play or musical from this book!!


Sometimes a rhyming narrative is just what you need to tell a story, especially if you include pictures. So Dorothea Jensen used this format to tell the story of General Lafayette’s contribution to our nation’s independence. Heavily researched, Dorthea’s new book Liberty-Loving Lafayette presents in words and art the story of how the young Marquis De Lafayette came to the colonies in search of freedom and fought alongside the colonists until the end of the Revolutionary War.
Each left page of Jensen’s work contains an image of a person or event portrayed in the narrative. The corresponding narrative relates the story. This book, designed for older students, can be used by teachers of the younger grades as well. It is a wonderful resource for any classroom, but especially for units of study about America’s beginnings and fight for Independence. Additionally, it is a wonderful companion piece to Jensen’s award-winning middle-grade book A Buss from Lafayette.—Connie Huddleston

Liberty-Loving Lafayette, is a winner in the 2020 IAN Book of the Year Awards!

When judging completed, Liberty-Loving Lafayette, was selected as a finalist in two categories of the Independent Authors Network Book of the Year Awards: “Young Adult Non-Fiction,” and “History Non-Fiction.” 


Liberty-Loving Lafayette: Rhyming History Wins Royal Dragonfly Awards

Congratulations to Dorothea Jensen, whose book, "Liberty-Loving Lafayette: How "America's Favorite Fighting Frenchman" Helped Win Our Independence" won Second Place in the History Nonfiction category and Honorable Mention in the Young Adult Nonfiction category at the 2020 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards!

Paperback Details
  • 06/2020
  • 978-0990940814
  • 63 pages
  • $10.99