Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Book Birthday! Ladies, First: Common Threads by Debra Scala Giokas



Did you know that whenever Eleanor Roosevelt was sitting, she was knitting? And that Dolley Madison crocheted baby caps and served as a directress of an orphanage for girls? These are some of the stories that sent Debra Scala Giokas, a resident of Sayville, on a journey of finding out more.

On June 2, which is National First Ladies Day, a book for readers 9 through 12 will be available. Entitled, LADIES, FIRST: COMMON THREADS, the book celebrates first ladies who, at one point in their lives, knitted, crocheted, embroidered, quilted, cross-stitched, or sewed. In 140 pages this unique look at 18 first ladies, from Martha Washington to Abigail Adams to Ida McKinley to Edith Wilson to Barbara Bush, will allow readers to touch history with a museum-like experience.

Each inspiring story gives a glimpse into the minds and hearts of these historic women and is threaded together by pictures of needlework and other fascinating images and photos. The book also includes places to travel in the United States or virtually to learn more about the first ladies and their important place in history.

Debra Scala Giokas, author of LADIES, FIRST, hopes that these “inspirational stories will encourage an appreciation of craft and creativity, patience and perseverance, sacrifice and service, and most of all, the role of the first lady in the history of the United States of America.”

This is the second book for Sayville resident Debra Scala Giokas, who is a full-time marketing communication professional and also a member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators. Last year, she brought attention to the American fashion designer, Claire McCardell, with her picture book, CLAIRE: THE LITTLE GIRL WHO CLIMBED TO THE TOP AND CHANGED THE WAY WOMEN DRESS. She and her illustrator Mary Ryan Reeves also created a companion coloring book called CLAIRE’S CLOSET. Reeves illustrated the cover for LADIES, FIRST.

Scala Giokas, who is a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America, first got the idea for LADIES, FIRST, back in 2014 when she learned about Ida McKinley’s 4,000 crocheted slippers. “I thought it would be a fun way to teach children about the first ladies,” she said. “When I was in school, not much attention was paid to them…only the presidents. Although I wrote it for kids, I hope anyone with an interest in learning more about the first ladies and anyone who enjoys knitting or crocheting or any other needlework, will enjoy this. I learned so much.”

Published by Chandelier Street, LADIES, FIRST will be available on June 2. For further information contact Debra Scala Giokas,, and visit