Who Was Ben Franklin? By Dennis Brindell Fradin Illustrated by John O’Brien

Who Was Ben Franklin? By Dennis Brindell Fradin Illustrated by John O’Brien

Late winter and spring is the time in school when many students read biographies of famous people. Starting in the lower grades youngsters scramble trying to find someone who is interesting enough to read about and write an assignment on and maybe even present it in character. Athletes, pop stars and others compete with famous historical characters. Here they learn about their lives, discover what their accomplishments were, what hardships and challenges they faced and hopefully they will see them as role models. (Maybe better they choose someone from times past than now as some of the more famous make poor role models) The range of biographies available for the younger to middle school readers is quite vast and there are many to choose from. The authors of these books manage to pack a lot of information into them, while making the person seem real and authentic.

Who Was Ben Franklin” is in the series Who Was…? which includes famous names such are Albert Einstein, Ferdinand Magellan, John Kennedy to name a few. The books are literally crammed full of information with interesting and amusing illustrations to highlight points of the person’s life, or to visually present something that was discussed. The series is aimed at the lower grade students (grades 2-5) and is presented in an interesting and engaging style with comic book style illustrations. The books are small with a large font, well spaced so that the page isn’t overwhelming for beginner or early independent readers.

“Who Was Ben Franklin” is packed full of information on the founding father. From his youth Ben Franklin’s life is described in reasonable detail (spoiler alert – he did ‘t really come from a loving home) and his thirst for adventure, his curiosity and great mind is obvious. Each of his contributions is covered and at times they are mesmerizing. How could one man accomplish so much in his life? As the opening section states he was “a man of many talents” and  “did so much that people claimed he had magical powers.” Inventor, statesman, scientist and quite a young rogue Ben’s many accomplishments and life story are presented in a very readable manner.

I quite liked this book and certainly learned a lot about Ben Franklin. I thought I knew about his life, but was I wrong. Dennis Brindell Fradin has done a wonderful job of packing so much information into this really slim book.


George Washington, Spymaster by Thomas B. Allen

April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...
Image via Wikipedia

“How the Americans outspied the British and won The Revolutionary War.”

In school we are studying The American Revolution and our teacher assigned us a project to research an aspect of the Revolutionary War (tactics, a person, weapons, etc.) and write a 4 page paper on it. I was originally going to do Spies Techniques for Communication during the Revolutionary War but when I went to my local library and met with my lovely reference librarian, I had a change in heart. She brought out this book, which she knew instantly off the top of her head (did I mention that she is amazing at being a reference library, no?, well she is), and she found it for me. Then I went on a hunt for more books and could not find anything. So she had the heart to go onto the librarians system and gave me quite a few pages worth of information on The Revolutionary War and Espionage. So I took it all home and I started reading this book. As soon as I got about 10 pages in, I knew that I wanted to change my topic from what I originally had to George Washington, Spymaster. I originally did not think the Revolutionary War was interesting but this book changed my views. This book has wonderful illustrations so it is not full of only text and the illustrations enhance the reading experience.

This book taught me a lot about George Washington. I knew that he was the first President, and I knew that he was a well-known and a well-respected General. I also knew that he had to do with spying. But what I did not know was that he was a Spymaster. I just thought he was a spy. Not a spymaster. This book did not only teach you about Washington, but it also taught you about the Revolutionary War. So if you are struggling to understand espionage, or even if you just want to learn, this was a very good book. Exciting and interesting and I guarantee, if you pay attention, you will come away from with book with learing something.


Talk Among Yourselves Tuesday

President Barack Obama has written a book for his daughters ~ Of Thee I Sing ~ and it is in bookstores today. Random House the publisher has released a video promoting it and the illustrations look wonderful.

Introducing several famous people the book appears simply written  but big on dreams and aspirations. I look forward to seeing it in person (more on this later).

Proceeds from the book will be donated to scholarships for children of soldiers who have been killed or injured. Now I might have to buy it!

With the holiday season fast approaching this might just be the perfect gift to give…..

Additional note:

Read a review here.

I guess there is nothing more to say.