• Happy birthday to Quentin Blake (The BFG, Matilda, Clown) who served as the United Kingdom’s first Children's Laureate, 1999–2001, and Peter Dickinson (The Ropemaker).
  • It’s the birth date of Marie Hall Ets (1893–1984), Play With Me, Nine Days to Christmas.
  • Also born on this day were Jane Austen (1775–1817), Pride and Prejudice, and Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008), 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • The last recorded eruption of Japan's Mount Fuji took place in 1701. Read I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child, because of a line referring to mashed potatoes as “cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji.”
  • It’s National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day.

On December 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place. The details of the event have always sounded a bit like a college prank to me. A bunch of rebels, dressed up in disguise with faces painted, descend on a small British ship and dump some boxes of tea overboard. Of what significance would such an act be to anyone? But Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty made their prank widely known, so that it became a symbol of the rebellion. From this moment on, the American Colonies moved inexorably toward open rebellion with England.

In Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody Declares Independence, the spirited heroine of her own series of popular books, Judy Moody, visits Boston, the Tea Party ship, the Freedom Trail, and Paul Revere’s house. In doing so she begins to get some very strong ideas about her own independence. Just like the early colonists, she draws up a list of demands. Hers include more allowance and a private bathroom. Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty would definitely understand the allowance part, but the bathroom might leave them scratching their heads.

However, Judy continues her quest when she and her brother Stink return home. And then she discovers another cause that she can get behind when she learns that a girl, Sybil Ludington, matched the accomplishments of Paul Revere, but has been passed over by history. This situation contains just the sort of injustice that makes Judy her most creative.

Since the first book about Judy Moody, Judy Moody Was in a Mood, appeared ten years ago, Judy has gained a devoted audience of six- to ten-year-olds—with more than ten million books in print worldwide and translations into over twenty languages. Next year fans will be treated to a movie, Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer. In fact, a global search was conducted for the young actress who gets to star as Judy. Stay tuned at her website for further developments to find out when Judy will be coming to a silver screen near you.

In the meantime, fans can simply enjoy her antics in Judy Moody Declares Independence or in any of her other sagas. Although few can rival author Megan McDonald when it comes to humor, word play, and snappy dialogue, Peter H. Reynold’s sketches of characters and scenes provide just as much enjoyment as the text.

I myself today may just go down to Boston Harbor and throw some tea in the water. We value tradition here. But I will be taking along Judy Moody Declares Independence when I do. I think even some of the Sons of Liberty might have been smiling as they pulled their prank. Certainly I will be if I am reading about that irrepressible third grader.

Here’s a passage from Judy Moody Declares Independence:


HEAR YE! HEAR YE! She, Judy Moody was in Boston! Bean Town! As in Mas-sa-chusetts. As in the Cradle of Liberty, Birthplace of Ben Famous Franklin and Paul Revere. Land of the Boston Tea Party and the Declaration of Independence.

“Boston rules,” said Judy.

Three best things about Boston so far were:

1. Freedom from two whole days of school (including one spelling test, two nights of homework, and a three-page book report)

2. Freedom from riding in the car next to Stink for ten million hours

3. Freedom from brushing hair every day

She, Judy Moody, Rider of the First Subway in America, was finally on her way to the real-and-actual Freedom Trail! The place where her country started. Where it all began.


Originally posted December 16, 2010. Updated for .

Tags: Family, History, Revolutionary War
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Judy Moody Declares Independence


  1. G.Perry says:

    I’ve only had time to thumb through this little book but as I did, I found myself comparing her descriptions of Boston with my personal experience walking the Freedom Trail and being in Boston a number of time. What she writes seems to match my experience perfectly.

    I had the feeling her books would be fun to read, even for us grown up kids.

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