Cokie Roberts Reads Her New Book to 5th-Graders

ABC News' Cokie Roberts sits down with Amna Nawaz and a classroom of children to talk about 'Ladies of Liberty.'
26:43 | 12/19/16

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Transcript for Cokie Roberts Reads Her New Book to 5th-Graders
It's up everybody I'm on in the eyes to you live today from the saint Ignatius loyalists will on the upper east side of Manhattan. Of course ABC though Cokie Roberts. And I think by exhibit greater if he air rule I. Air. It's. In credible that new. Accidentally of liberty the women who keep Arnie and if that prince Rupert. Accord. In the party tell me out why. Well I'm two big books about the period when our country was founded. And one con founding mothers and the other is ladies of the Britney which is a little bit later. And just let them and them and they both be grown up history books and the publishers these interest in women. Children should know about them. So a few years ago founding mothers came out my habit with me action appeared to show you. And then Jeff now to us last week. This book ladies of liberty came out. And illustrated by a wonderfully illustrated Diane good she's won that Condit at metal used the on the fronts of books sometimes. And she really studied about these women to see. What their lives her life and she had areas just what they wrote. And started writing like them she went god old fashioned queer old you know hands the with feathers. And wrote with ink. And sign Alex watched on the page and how hard that was and actually we were doing fan in Miami Hurricanes and eat it. And she was in the dark his in New Jersey and choose in the dark. For a few days says she really understood but the women's lives were like oh say of course didn't have any electricity right. So. She is wonderful wonderful mystery and we're able to tell the stories of these women with her great pictures now. I have to say I had a blast reading this good toddler as well. I'm perfectly good book for grownups absolutely and I learned a lot remaining is how you look at there are a handful of stories how did you pick which one to put in this first. So part of it was that I want and women. Of different backgrounds. I wanted to the degree that it's possible to have. Women of different ethnicities although that's very difficult because. The only way that we know. About. Our history. From a couple of hundred years ago. Is by reading letters or by reading diaries we can meet people's diaries. And the by record. People. It various organizations. And says some of the poorer women didn't have any of those records so it's it's more of them women who were. And influential with the man who ran the country. That equity thank you here at the hat. So so on the cover you know businesses right on the cover. Back at Joliet. As secretary has a baby on that issue can see because right before. They left to go live where they should go ahead. Lewis and Clark and where did they go to you now. Go ahead. There where they did get that far ahead. That's rev a the first white people to explore and and get to the Pacific Ocean. And the publisher wanted this picture on the cover because they thought the baby was so cute my. Actually plotted this picture of America. Because it shows her pointing the way. Am one instance some things about second to Maria. Is that she why is very important on me. Expedition. And she had to do the whole thing just like amended. With the baby on her back. And she was probably only about fifteen years and the baby was born right before they left on this long long journey. Where they had to walk and take vote. But at the end they knew they needed horses to get across the mountains and her. Her tribe of native Americans the show Shoney's had the horses. And so when they set out. She. Was with them and helping them find. BO reason and vegetables things lead and they like that a lot. And then. Not I'll read this by not long after the expedition began a storm came up. And swamped a boat with all the provisions for the trip. Sakic to Rea who's Lewis said showed equal fortitude with the man. Retrieved many of the items that had washed overboard and save him. A few days later the grateful men named a river and what is now Montana. This package and we are ripper. And so as they went on a win since I got the part of the land where initiation unease she discovered that her brother had become chief. And says she was able to act convince them. That. He should switch give them some courses and an exchange and and they got the voices they kept calling all the way across the Rocky Mountains that the list. That they didn't get all the way to the Pacific. They got to what we now again and then commandment gonna go to see that this thing and she said this is not. I have come all this way with you. I should be in the sea the mighty warriors to. And so. They said okay you can and when they got there they found. Some disease in native Americans they had never met before. One was wearing the otters and row you know and otters are out so. And I'm Clark said it was more beautiful than any her I ever see Clark wrote this journal. The men tried to bargain for the fair they want it. But the owner would not accept anything until he was offered sack until we is belt and blue beads. Poor bird woman that Cobb had to give up a beautiful belt. An all she got returned with him wouldn't Claude. So it wasn't really fair and at the end of the expedition. Aaron Clark said. That she was of great service to me as a pilot means she had shown him the way. And and that she deserved a greater reward. She's certainly did because her reward was zero. Where all of the work she did on that trip but Clark did. How educators. And he grew up with Clark hadn't. Became. But many languages and became very famous. But she won things that surprises me about this story is that Ian knows and art wonderful journals. And wrote down everything shoes buried in treaties and everything. And it about how important she lives on the and it was clear they apple. She became more and more important to them. Even name. And then lost. And people she wasn't merely that he. But in everything I. I know from Lewis and and they like it was very. So I think it's it's it's one of the reasons that I liked to tell these stories. Because sometimes. People are just walk us. And hundreds of views that come later and another person that was who. Is this on the losing hairy moments. Who I had never heard and you guys heard of her and it is. I do whatever I had now. And change think it can have composed the first African American pollen. And I say composed instead of written. Because it wasn't written was spoken which was true about poetry. For hundreds of years. The Iliad the Odyssey those famous books weren't opened. Thousands of years before they were written them. And so that was true of her Powell and that she was. Formally insulating. And she. It's horrible in this very important person. In New England back in the teen fitness seventeen hundreds. And when she got I didn't newspapers. Wrote about her and said. And this remarkable woman there was an assemblage of qualities. Rarely to be found of mind there's sex so they weren't nice about women in general but they were nice about her. And it was eerie and very unusual. Element to appear in newspapers at all. And the eighteenth century and it should be paying millions way in. Was really. Unheard. And so she must have been. Very special indeed and every one knew about it the time. We've lost. Our memory other. And so I thought it was important to bring back. Now this is somebody certainly here at this school you should know. Lewis'. I had access might they seats in the Elizabeth dale AC. And what does she now what do we color now. Saint Elizabeth. She is. And first American born. Born here in New York. She was not account. She grew up an aide Mary. There was. She married to reach. Yet I very quickly he then lost money wise to help. And they went to Italy and that he and his. And he did not and he died and people you. Two. That he started studying there me and it. And years tried. In New York. But people not only went that didn't work well you and went to Maryland. Weird she where people were friendly Catholic and she's news and the religious order in the United States that was a United States. In order. To. And he's. With. Parochial school system you might not be in this. If and why things have to K you guys need only. About history textbooks. Like the ones you probably. Is say things like. And then she started the parochial school system. Like it just happened overnight. Was right. Was intention to do before. Christian Vieri. And by the time he died he and the systems is Maggie had started. Schools and hospitals. And orphanages. And it really. Remarkable thing that she did. Back before he had gone to. Italy. She had helped here in New York start an orphanage. With this room. Isabella Graham. Who was Scott's one. Who had 4545. His widowed. And died Hughes four to hear about poor people. She started school here in New York that was very fancy girls school. Nellie Kostis when nine like this. And Martha Washington's plan. Why Washington was the first First Lady capital was and he. Mrs. Graham who would she really did do was help for people. And so she worked with news his seat. With the lies often and knows about ties besides. So go ahead. Where she worked. With Isabella Graham to do that. They started the forest orphanage. And they had to work really hard to do that fortunately. They kept records of everything they did so we know what they would do. And you know that that orphanage. Still exists in New York as an orphanage in more than is a wonderful place. To serve the port of New York it's called Graham Windham and so these women. Is a diagram. And allies to Hamilton ran. Elizabeth Seton all work. To make life better. For the poor children and it wasn't easy even have any rights they couldn't vote. They married women and property. They are there should be on there. Everything. It's it's we don't care is supposed to be sent and citizens we're gonna make life better. For the people need. Something more than what they again so they started orphanages and pours societies. He societies to get people. That they could get me and sound of these schools and all kinds of things. To make life better. And there are institutions are still around making America a better place. For me. So you'll have any questions. Asked me what let's start he. So I I started with the women the idealist who and the women. Who. Whom this founding fathers listened to it. So when they were starting in the country who were the women who were working alongside them and help them. But then as I started to learn about them women. I've learned that there were lots of influences in their lives. And and so I am I wrote about those Whitman and and so for instance this woman. Judith sergeant Murray back in the seventeen hundreds. Wrote dead men and women should be equal. That's why she's got this balance. She wrote something called on equality of the sexes. And she said it anybody everything in a two year old boy in it to you girl and thought that one was smarter than the other. When they did they tend to think it's the girl. And so she. She was saying that it is them. Education that makes the difference and so she was arguing for that. So I would find new women in his eyes studied. At what was unit. Elizabeth thank you for your question and a veiled threat then that's a qwest government going to figure name for it took. The huge amount of producers. It took years worth of research partly because. Versailles have did you. So and it I had to do it when I could. But partly because it's very hard to find out information about women from a couple of hundred years ago. Because. People didn't say aid what they wrote in the way that they saved with a man. Were questions again. He. Perfect as the perfect and I wrote my vote yes. I did raise a kid I went to a Catholic school with nuns. And they made you write and write and write and write and write and it was the best thing that could have possibly happened. Because my whole career. Has involved writing a great deal. And speaking. And of those two things are connected to each other and so. I've always written and I loved writing and I them. Fighting words letters special words that make something come alive. So keep it up. We're question. With the evidence that haven't yet. It's there it back to back and makes everyone at home here and went hand McCain. Now it anyways I'm inspired support. No I never have favorites because. There are very different from each end and people ask me at about. Modern day people news do you have a favorite interviews and and the answer that no. But. But although I did review the Dali Lama recently and that was quite something. You don't get a word again that let that. But. What did inspire me things now person the time of the revolution. Wow what incredible patriots they. And you abstinent to ask getting to me. In the eighteen entry was really really. There is no washing machine wizard dishwashers or anything like that yes raising a family. Was very difficult and wait too often. Children die and it was really stand. And these women even everything they had to do. Just to get through the day we still so interest it. And the fate of the country and they there's great patriots. And they would sit and write letters and that's me and let's have a new country and that's make sure it's good. And and get avenue country is. Started working really hard to make it a good country every body. You know as we moved west and it was exciting. And great country it's still a great country. The people some people got left. Out. And the women's that ten day work to make it a more perfect union. Or questions. And I again. Electing. I. Good thing. When you found that new information act key research pictured through before it right out. One of the advantages to go into what's called primary sources so. If somebody writes and if you read this book about these women that would be called a secondary source because that's what I wrote about. Okay but if I go to their own letters that's got a primary source that's what they wrote themselves. So I know that's their truth you know that they said that. And the same thing as too about like the records of the oil and so I don't have to question. If I'm reading that someone else said about these women yes I do have to check in on the and the thing that. I would recommend against. Is reading something on the net and thinking that it that it you need to be very careful. About what you read and very near here. Importantly. Economic another question from the crowd. How about that there thinking. And there. I'm often feeling really scared and because I'm always really eight I always make the deadline. But as I said I have a day gap and so I'm often. Having to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning to write neck and things like tired. I'm a little nervous but that I did I love the action I love. Knowing these people and bringing them to you. And because of that size makes me very joyful but I get to know them so well. It sometimes I get upset so my husband called me Monday when I was writing then grown up book of fanning Mike Hazen said you sound so bad why. And I simple because Eliza Pitney desk I'd. Now implies a pain he died you know. And 793. Years something bad but a kid just died in my story and this. Our and I till our questions eloquent from the federal in this I'd written truck. Rating this leave. US patent. Good question Lyon handed to me and the middle and baker and the others are. I think this was sold and this was a decision by the artist and by the publishers to. Just have something that we catch awry on the cover of the black and and is I say the baby. The baby is really in chanting. And so I think that that was the main reason that it's also true. There's so many of them women in this book women that you haven't heard. And Sackett Julie is one. We have very so I think that that was part of the reason as well there are 21 ladies. My earlier book has more because they give them. It's that period they better known but Elizabeth Munro the life and games Munro. As First Lady in this book and she was not well when she was in the lighthouse and her daughter. A Liza hey you really. Back to vipers lady and we might be seeing that again. We're hearing that a vodka tribe might be coming and doing some of the First Lady work. And the other First Lady. Is Louisa Catherine Adams John Quincy Adams by. And she is the only other lady in the money income to have been born outside the United States. Her father was the council to do Great Britain. And so. So we have some some things that we can think about for today. From from the first ladies and. All right last question and even then though it Qaeda right next to you get the very last question go but what's you name it to. Him. We. 000. The yes. Yes because people spoke at. And then they wrote it down about a hundred years later and it was a time. An Indian me on the fun T in the front here at that when that fathers wells was Massachusetts. So this that he's not very far away as. And then and here's an excerpt from her apartment was called the bars by. And she says yeah this arms the Indians coming and hope to save herself by running. And I'm not her petty coats after the awful creatures had not mr. so she was done in by her dress. Eight. I'll follow F I didn't. Why did he want. I wanted to write about them because they were interesting to me and I thought they would be insisting to you. But I also think it's very important. That everybody particularly young people. Understand. That this country was not just founded. By man. That there were women very essential. To the creation of the country and the continuity of the country. And I think that's important for everybody to map. Who wants to read the book the whole thing now and that happen at school and I. That thing about you and me in thanking. I thank you have the stomach for welcoming us into your classroom. And hoping for the wonderful wonderful Christmas perhaps couple more days for vacation and it. And not get the most excitement they are thanks Tim that they cases like Ellis school. Here in New York thank you practicable and rob are you the book is leading the liberty ladies of liberty the women in shape that nation and you. Go check it out thanks so much for joining us we'll feed that again. Their exit.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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