Books by Ruth Freeman

How to Save a Superhero cover

How to Save a Superhero


Eleven-year-old Addie hangs out at a retirement home after school waiting for her mother to get off work. She and her mother have bounced around for the last few years never finding a real home. The retirement home seems like the last place to put down roots, but then Addie meets the newest resident. Mr. Norris, a grumpy and difficult old guy, seems to have unusual abilities. Could he be a real…no, a REAL superhero?

Addie, together with her friends and the other residents, band together to help save him from a bunch of scientists trying to kidnap him. How do you save a superhero? Maybe by helping him become the superhero he never was.

This “leads to trouble, wild escapades, and a thrilling climax. Featuring a cast whose distinct personalities are clearly built out, Freeman’s imaginative, suspenseful, and well-paced novel of intergenerational friendship will keep readers guessing.” ***Starred review from Publishers Weekly!

From Kirkus:  “…a last-second rescue that will definitely have dazzled readers sorry to leave Addie’s suddenly not-quite-so-ordinary world. Behind an uncommonly savvy, redoubtable protagonist, Freeman stocks her cast with a diverse array of equally vivacious characters, including as lively and hilarious a group of resident seniors as ever was.”

From School Library Connection: “Filled with science fiction, a fun cast of characters, including a few who are unsavory, and a somewhat surprise ending, young readers will enjoy the adventure and the relationships between the characters.”



Published by Holiday House, Inc.

Ages 8-12

to order:,, Amazon

hardcover, paperback, e-book

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0823447626


One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman
illustrated by Kathrin Honesta
published by Holiday House, Inc.
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One Good Thing About America

Is it ever easy being new?

Anaïs was the best English student in her class in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now in Crazy America she feels she doesn’t know English at all. Nothing makes sense…chicken FINGERS for lunch in the school cafeteria?  In letters, she writes to her grandmother back home about Halloween, snow, mac ‘n’ cheese and princess sleepovers. She misses her father and brother and hopes the fighting is over soon. In the meantime, she writes about the weird things Crazy Americans do, and wonders if she will ever feel at home in this strange new country.

Ages 8 to 12, 160 pages.
hardcover, paperback, e-book

ISBN #9780823436958

Educator’s Guide

“Highly recommended for libraries seeking timely stories about the immigrant experience.”

School Library Journal

“Empowering to English-language learners; and middle-graders unfamiliar with such experiences might find new depths of compassion and understanding.”


“I love it because it shows how it’s fine to be different to others and the book is kinda similar to my life.”

–Fifth grader, from Totoket Valley Elementary School, CT, where One Good Thing About America was chosen for a school-wide One Book, One Read program, 2021.


Underwear: What We Wear Under There book cover
illustrated by John O’Brien
published in 2008 by Holiday House
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Underwear: What We Wear Under There

Have you ever wondered about what we wear under there, and why it is so funny? A revealing look at underwear down through the years and today! Includes a timeline.
Ages 6 to 10.
Price $16.95
ISBN #978-0-8234-1920-3

Underwear was voted a Children’s Choice Finalist for 3rd – 4th Grade Book of the Year!

“Children will find a multitude of interesting historical tidbits.”
School Library Journal

“A snappy general overview that is animated by O’Brien’s big, tongue-in-cheek cartoon illustrations . . . the breezy text receives appropriately playful accompaniment from illustrations that depict women drifting from balconies to the floor, supported by parachute-like hoops, and union-suit-clad skaters on a frozen pond.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This book provides a comprehensive overview of the history of underwear. Surprisingly educational, it shows how our undergarments can reflect changes in societies. According to teens, this book is ‘awesome’ and ‘funny’.”
Voya magazine


How Sweet It Is (and Was): The History of Candy by Ruth Freeman
illustrated by John O’Brien
published in 2003 by Holiday House
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How Sweet It Is (and Was): The History of Candy

From honey candies of the ancient Egyptians to the invention of bubble gum, a mouth-watering trip through the sticky story of candy. Facts about sugar, a candy timeline, and recipes.
Ages 5 to 9.
Price $16.95
ISBN #0-8234-1712-3

Junior Library Guild Selection 2003
Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2004

“Swain’s anecdotal, accessible examination of candy serves up tempting nuggets.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“A tasty account of the history of sweets…the global approach is particularly worthwhile.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science


Hairdo! What We Do and Did to Our Hair by Ruth Freeman
illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith
published in 2002 by Holiday House
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Hairdo! What We Do and Did to Our Hair

The way we cut, curl, and style our hair shows a lot about who we are (or would like to be). A fascinating history of hairstyles around the world including facts about hair.
Ages 5 to 9
Price $ 16.95
ISBN #0-8234-1522-8

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2002

“Swain’s mixture of humor and history makes this an effective look, not just at hairstyles, but also at social change . . . A cut above.”
Kirkus Reviews

“An entertaining, informative picture book that shows the length to which people—and their hairstyles—can go.”


Bedtime! by Ruth Freeman
illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith
published in 1999 by Holiday House
to order


Everyone goes to bed, but they certainly have different ways of sleeping! From early hammocks to sleeping bags on the space shuttle, a well-researched look at the history of beds. Facts about sleep.
Ages 4 to 8.
Price $15.95
ISBN #0-8234-1444-2

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2000
Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2000

“. . . one of the most creative books that we found this year that takes a daily event, we all go to bed, and looks at it throughout the course of history.”
Stephanie Oppenheim on the Today Show

“Children, to whom the questions of where and how people sleep are so important, will snuggle right up to this fascinating study of ‘beds.’”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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