The Silent Witness (Hardcover)

By Robin Friedman, Claire A. Nivola (Illustrator)

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 9780618442300, 32pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2005



Four-year-old Lula McLean lived on a plantation overlooking Bull Run Creek. There her family grew wheat, corn, and oats. In July 1861, troops fighting in the newly begun Civil War arrived on the McLeans’ front lawn in Manassas, Virginia. The peaceful countryside where Lula often spent time playing with her favorite rag doll became a campsite full of cannon and trenches and tents.

Wilmer McLean decided to relocate his family to a tiny village called Appomattox Court House, away from the war and the troops. But a few years later, on April 9, 1865, as Lula played with her rag doll, two visitors in tall boots made their way into her house. Lula and her doll were about to become part of American history.

Robin Friedman and Claire A. Nivola reveal, through the story of Lula and her beloved doll, the story of a nineteenth-century family who saw the Civil War unfold before their very eyes.

Praise For The Silent Witness

"Friedman’s economical text clearly shows how the Civil War touched the life of a young child. The watercolor-and-gauche illustrations and folk-art style add a sense of comfort to the turmoil and destruction of the war." School Library Journal

"This picture book set during the Civil War emphasizes the ways in which warfare can touch an individual. . . . The finely executed watercolor and gouache paintings, reminiscent of primitive art, accentuate the idea that this war was an intimate part of everyday life in the South." -- Horn Book Horn Book