Happy Birthday, Felicity! by Valerie Tripp, 1992.
It’s Felicity’s birthday, and her grandfather has given her a very special present: a guitar that once belonged to her grandmother, who is now dead. Felicity’s grandfather has heard Felicity singing and thinks that she shares her grandmother’s gift for music. He also thinks that Felicity is old enough to take proper care of the instrument, stressing the need for her to be responsible with it. Her mother tells her that she should keep the guitar safely in the parlor since she isn’t quite old enough for proper music lessons, like the ones Miss Manderly is giving Elizabeth’s older sister, Annabelle. Annabelle has been getting on Elizabeth and Felicity’s nerves by bragging about how they are still to young to even hold her guitar, although Annabelle really has no musical talent and struggles in her lessons.
Although Felicity knows that she should leave the guitar at home, she can’t resist taking it to Miss Manderly’s so that Miss Manderly can tune it for her and so that she can show it off to Elizabeth and Annabelle. Miss Manderly does tune the guitar for her and compliments her on owning such a fine instrument.
However, on the way home, something frightening happens. Felicity sees Elizabeth’s father, a known Loyalist, talking to a British soldier. She ducks into a bush so they won’t see her, and she hears them talking about the governor removing the gunpowder from the Williamsburg arsenal so the colonists can’t use it in the rebellion that has been threatening to come for some time.
Felicity hurries home to tell her family what she has heard, but when her mother and grandfather see that she has taken the guitar out of the house and gotten it wet and dirty while she was hiding, they refuse to listen to her. Her grandfather, also a Loyalist, particularly thinks that she’s making up stories to cover her irresponsibility about the guitar.
But, Felicity knows what she heard, and the situation is serious. What can she do to prove it to everyone?
In the back of the book, there is a section with historical information about how children were raised in Colonial America. Another good book on the same topic is Going to School in 1776.