Nine-year-old Hope is a cook, a gardener, a housekeeper, a schoolgirl, and one of the very first people to hear the Declaration of Independence read aloud in July, 1776.

But even though it’s been exciting, it hasn’t been an easy year. Her father’s been at sea for months, fighting King George, and has sent no word. Her brother has been acting strange, quiet, and distant, and Hope has had to give up her attic room so they can take in a boarder. Without Papa there, money is tight. Her mother is pregnant, so there’s more than ever for Hope to do — sweep the house, make tarts and pies to sell at the market, wash sheets and clothes, cook, tend to the vegetable garden, and of course, go to school. Her teacher is very strict, and if the students don’t know the correct answers, he hits their hands with a ruler, or makes them sit in a corner with a tall cap on their heads that says “Dunce.”