Beginning September 13, 1814, British soldiers launched a historic assault on Baltimore, MD's Fort McHenry. The survival of the fort and its flag, and the subsequent withdrawal of British troops, would prove a defining moment in the War of 1812 and inspire the eventual United States national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Nearly 200 years later, Bancroft Press is commemorating perhaps the most important moment in Baltimore's history with the launch of its first children's book, Calvert the Raven in The Battle of Baltimore.
"Calvert the Raven was an attempt to strip away the dusty, formal feel of history," says author and illustrator J. Scott Fuqua. "I wanted to make it immediate."
In Fuqua's beautifully illustrated story, a Baltimore boy named Daniel has just received a poor grade on an awful history paper, but he doesn't really care. History is boring anyway. But when a magical wise-cracking raven named Calvert takes Daniel back in time to the Battle of Baltimore, he discovers a world of real soldiers fighting a real battle, with the fate of the United States of America at stake.
"When the British invaders turned their attentions to Baltimore, the city was ready," says Burt Kummerow, president of Historyworks, Inc. and the Maryland Historical Society. Kummerow has been involved with the book from the beginning. "It was a moment of triumph that propelled a fragile young republic into the future."
"Daniel is surprised by the very real fear and tension experienced by people so much like him," says Fuqua. "Calvert is willing to risk his own skin to provide Daniel with a new and different understanding of the past."