On June 1, 1660, Mary Dyer became the first woman in America executed for her religious beliefs. Her death shocked the colonists and the English government into into passing laws guaranteeing religious freedom.
My great-grandmother deeply admired Mary Dyer, so when I was about fifteen, I went looking for a book on her. I couldn't find anything for kids. Flash forward a few decades and there are still no children's books about her. Mary Dyer,
Friend of Freedom, is the first middle-grade biography about her. I hope to place this book in schools and libraries so that children can learn tolerance from her work as a voice for religious freedom and women's rights.
What We Need & What You Get
I'm about $2000 short of publishing this book. It has been written, edited and formatted, but I need help with the following:
- Publishing costs, including ISBN numbers and cover design
- Setting up an author website with additional information on Mary Dyer, religious tolerance, etc.
- Creating teacher's materials or study guide to accompany the book
- Creating marketing materials to reach out to schools and libraries
- Mary's life story
- Breakouts on other important figures, groups, and events in her life (Roger Williams, The Narragansett, The Death of Anne Hutchinson, etc.)
- A Historical Timeline
- A Glossary
- Diagrams and illustrations to highlight the text
Mary Dyer, Friend of Freedom is designed to add religious tolerance to the discussion of civil rights in the classroom by focusing on Colonial history and the price of religious intolerance. We need to broaden what students are taught about acceptance and civil rights. By teaching them about Mary Dyer, we add another strong voice to the subject.
Religious freedom remains an extremely relevant topic. We have just witnessed a shooting at two Jewish centers in Kansas. Different religious groups are routinely subject to profiling or crude stereotypes, and even our politicians are dismissive of different beliefs. George W. Bush once said he wanted the Army to reverse its recognition of Wicca because "Witchcraft is not a religion."
I think the book's dedication sums up what I hope to accomplish: To my great-grandmother, Esther Briggs, an ardent admirer of Mary Dyer, and to my son, John King Briggs, that he may someday admire her, too.
Your contribution will be a great help in having other children admire Mary and her lasting contribution to religious freedom.
Other Ways You Can Help
Please spread the word about this book by using Indiegogo's share tools to let others know how they can contribute, too.
Or ask your children's school or library to purchase the book for their students this fall, or bring me in to discuss the importance of Mary Dyer's life's work.
Like I said above, I've been hearing about Mary Dyer since I was very young, probably 7 or 8, making this book a labor of love as much as an academic pursuit. Anyway you can help out is greatly appreciated. Thanks!