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A Dear America

Latest Episode


The Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl Part 1: We'd Huck a Rotten Potato at an English Landlord No Problem

Dear Diary, 

It's new book time! And this one is a fan favorite. We're reading So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl. This is the second book in the series by Barry Denenberg and it was published in 1997. 

The story begins in Skibbereen, Ireland where Mary Driscoll lives with her Ma and Da. Ireland is in the depths of the potato famine, with Skibbereen being hit particularly hard. But hope is on the horizon. Mary is headed to America to find work in the textile mills and hopefully save enough money to bring the rest of the family over in time. But first, she must survive a treacherous journey across the ocean. 

Join us as we discuss Mary's journey to America and get really passionate about the horrors of the Irish potato famine. 

Yours Truly, 

Cate and Jen

Old Books

   The Show

Welcome to The Ribbon Book Club! We are Cate Reed and Jen Vos, two friends who built bonded over a shared passion for history and stories. We began podcasting together in 2016, and in 2022 decided to launch our new venture, The Ribbon Book Club: A Dear America Podcast.

The Dear America book series was a popular young-reader series from Scholastic in the late 1990s-2000s. Each book was written like a diary, from the perspective of a young girl at different points in American history. The series has had a lasting effect on many history lovers. 


We want to honor the importance of young adult historical fiction by revisiting this beloved book series, learning more about the history behind the stories, and talking to experts in the field. Through our podcast, we hope to introduce the Dear America book series to a new audience and provide an engaging and educational experience for young adults.

podcast art, banner reading The Ribbon Book Club, two oval portraits of women looking at each other, text below reads A Dear America Podcast
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Cate Reed


Jen Vos


Cate is a former museum educator and loving mother to her dog, Gambit. She is passionate about literacy, cooking, history, and Jim Henson. Other interests include letter writing and the Ice Age. 

Jen is a museum curator turned archivist. She spends most of her time thinking about D&D and planning murder mysteries for her friends. She has a deep love for her three-legged cat, Artemis. 

Danny Heck


Danny is a film graduate of Grand Valley State University and a lifelong lover of nature, storytelling, the weird, and the wonderful. Everything he does, he does in service of his beloved kitty cat Princess.

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