Books for Kids: George Washington

My Little Golden Book About George Washington

By Lori Haskins Houran, Illustrated by Viviana Garofoli

This Golden Book introduces the youngest readers to our first president with engaging anecdotes. Learn how young George Washington liked to study and ride his horse. With fun facts, including: George’s image is found on our dollar bill, our postage stamps and on Mount Rushmore.

George Washington’s Teeth

By Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora

Illustrated by Brock Cole

From battling toothaches while fighting the British, to having rotten teeth removed by his dentists, the Father of His Country suffered all his life with tooth problems. Yet, contrary to popular belief, he never had a set of wooden teeth. Starting at the age of twenty-four, George Washington lost on average a tooth a year. By the time he was elected president, he had only two left. In this reverentially funny tale written in verse and based on Washington’s letters, diaries, and other historical records, readers will find out what really happened as they follow the trail of lost teeth to complete tooflessness.

George Washington: The First President

By Sarah Albee, Illustrated by Chin Ko

After General Washington led the American colonists to victory in the Revolutionary War, everyone thought he should become the first president of the United States. He became a strong leader and a wise president. Kids will learn interesting facts about Washington including his spy ring and how one of his dogs was named Sweetlips. 

George Washington’s Cows

By David Small

“George Washington’s cows were kept upstairs,

And given their own special room.

They never were seen by light of day.

No matter for what or by whom.”

These cows are just the beginning of George’s problems. To be sure, his hogs are helpful around the house, but it irks Martha when their parties are better than hers. And then there are the sheep, all of them smarter than Tom Jefferson, with degrees (sheepskins) to prove it. What’s a Father of his country to do?

George Washington’s Rules to Live By:

How to Sit, Stand, Smile, and Be Cool! A Good Manners Guide From the Father of Our Country

By K.M. Kostyal and George Washington

Illustrated by Fred Harper

Featuring the Rules of Civility that George Washington learned when he was a child, this book focuses on 50 of his maxims, ranging from table manners to polite conversation to being a good citizen. Paired with laugh-out-loud illustrations, this book is a sure-fire guide to amazing etiquette. 

Who Was George Washington?

By Roberta Edwards, Illustrated by True Kelley

In 1789, George Washington became the first president of the United States. He has been called the Father of Our Country for leading America through its early years. Washington also served in two major wars: the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. This book brings Washington’s fascinating story to life, revealing the real man, not just the face on the dollar bill.

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War

By Thomas B. Allen

Follow the action as 1775 dawns, and Washington finds himself in serious trouble. At war with Britain, the world’s most powerful empire, his ragtag army possesses only a few muskets, some cannons, and no money. The American’s only hope is to wage an invisible war — a war of spies, intelligence networks, and deception. 

George Washington

By Cheryl Harness

Cheryl Harness uses her vibrant are and down-to-earth style to “chip away the marble” and present George Washington as more than a monument. We see George the adventurous boy tromping through the woods with his dog and hunting rifle. We see him as the courageous military leader fighting alongside his men. And we see him as a brilliant statesman and president. 

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

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Books For Kids: Frederick Douglass

Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass

By Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by James E. Ransome

This picture book biography chronicles the youth of Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent African American figures in American history. Douglass spent his life advocating for the equality of all, and it was through reading that he was able to stand up for himself and others. This is a moving and captivating look at the young life of the inspirational man who said, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History

By Walter Dean Myers, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Frederick Douglass was a self-educated slave in the South who grew up to become an icon. He was a leader of the abolitionist movement, a celebrated writer, an esteemed speaker, and a social reformer, proving that, as he said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Who Was Frederick Douglass

By April Jones Prince, Illustrated by Robert Squier

Born into slavery in Maryland in 1818, Frederick Douglass was determined to gain freedom. Once he realized that knowledge was power, he secretly learned to read and write to give himself an advantage. After escaping to the North in 1838, as a free man he gave powerful speeches about his experience as a slave. He was so impressive that he became a friend of President Abraham Lincoln.

Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery

By William Miller, Illustrated by Cedric Lucas

Born into slavery, young Frederick Douglass dreams of the day he and his people will be free. Yet until that day, his only escape is through the books he reads. They take him to worlds far from his own. When a menacing overseer named Covey sees that Frederick is different from the other slaves, he sets out to “break” him. But Frederick’s surprising response to Covey’s brutality is an act of courage that frees forever what no person can hold captive: his spirit. 

Frederick Douglass Abolitionist Hero

By George E. Stanley, Illustrated by Meryl Henderson

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery. He was separated from his family when he was young. He worked day and night and was beaten for no other reason than the color of his skin. How could anyone ever overcome such overwhelming odds? But Frederick eventually became a famous abolitionist, author, statesman, and reformer. He triumphed over impossible obstacles and paved the way for others to achieve freedom.

Frederick Douglass: National Geographic Readers

By Barbara Kramer

Discover the world of one of America’s most celebrated abolitionists, writers, and orators and learn about his life, achievements, and the challenges he faced along the way.

Frederick Douglass (True Books)

By Josh Gregory

Born into slavery, Frederick Douglass knew from an early age that all people deserved freedom. Discover how he secretly educated himself and taught fellow slaves how to read. And how he escaped to freedom and became one of the nation’s most persuasive voices for abolition.

Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas

By Dean Robbins, Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Aiko

Two friends, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass get together for tea and conversation. They recount their similar stories fighting to win rights for women and African Americans. This story is inspired by a statue in their hometown of Rochester, New York, which shows the two friends having tea.

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

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Books For Kids: Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott

By Ntozake Shange, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Walking many miles to school in the dusty road, young Coretta Scott knew the unfairness of life in the segregated south. A yearning for equality began to grow. Together with Martin Luther King, Jr., she gave birth to a vision of change through nonviolent protest. It was the beginning of a journey with dreams of freedom for all. 4-8 years

Coretta Scott King: First Lady of Civil Rights

By George E. Stanley, Illustrated by Meryl Henderson

Coretta Scott King is well known for being the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and for her own civil rights and world peace activism. She also received many awards and honorary degrees. But before she did all of those impressive things, Coretta was a strong little girl who could out climb anyone in her neighborhood, was very close to her dad, and had a beautiful singing voice. Coretta learned that if you work hard enough, your dreams can come true. 8-12 years

Who Was Coretta Scott King

By Gail Herman, Illustrated by Gregory Copeland

Growing up in Alabama, Coretta Scott King graduated valedictorian from her high school before becoming one of the first African American students at Antioch College in Ohio. It was there that she became politically active and joined the local chapter of the NAACP. After her marriage to Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta took part in the Civil Rights Movement. Following her husband’s assassination in 1968, she assumed leadership of the movement. 8-12 years

Coretta Scott King: Dare to Dream

By Angela Shelf Medearis, Illustrated by Anna Rich

From her childhood encounters with discrimination to her activism as an adult, Coretta Scott King dreamed of finding a place where people were treated equally. This biography tells the story of how she came to stand up against prejudice and violence during the African American Civil Rights Movement. 8-12 years

Women Who Broke the Rules: Coretta Scott King

By Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

Coretta Scott King, the wife of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., established her own career in activism. She took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, worked to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and founded the Center for Nonviolent Change. She dedicated her life to fighting for civil rights. 6-9 years

A Book To Share With Kids:

My Life, My Love, My Legacy

By Coretta Scott King and Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds

Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in 20th century America. She was a brave leader, who, in the face of hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life. 

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers. Although I have added the age ranges that the publishers used, these books can be for all children and adults too. 

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Books for Kids: Alexander Hamilton

Who Was Alexander Hamilton?

By Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso, Illustrated by Dede Putra

Born in the West Indies and orphaned as a child, Alexander Hamilton made his way to the American Colonies. He fought in the American Revolution and rose to the rank of Major General. He became the chief aide to General George Washington. After the war, Alexander became the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. 8-12 years

Alexander Hamilton American Hero

By Barbara Lowell, Illustrated by George Ermos

With his face on the ten-dollar and an award-winning musical about his life, it’s clear that Alexander Hamilton’s story is one worth telling. Despite feeling like an outsider, Hamilton fought hard to form a united nation with a strong central government. And many of his ideas are still relevant today! With this illustrated leveled reader, kids can learn about the man who, in many ways, was a true American hero. 6-8 years   Will be out on June 26.

Alexander Hamilton The Outsider

By Jean Fritz

Most people know that Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, and that his face is on the ten dollar bill. But he was much more than that!

Born in the West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an immigrant, an outsider. He fought in the American Revolution and became George Washington’s most valuable aide-de-camp. As one of America’s Founding Fathers, he was there for the writing of the Constitution and became the first Secretary of the Treasury. Alexander Hamilton was a man of action, honorable, ambitious, and fiercely loyal to his adopted country. 8-12 years

Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father

By Jonathan Hennessey, Illustrated by Justin Greenwood

Alexander Hamilton was one of the most influential figures in United States history. He fought in the Revolutionary War, helped develop the Constitution, and as the first Secretary of the Treasury established landmark economic policy that we still use today. Hennessey and Greenwood tell the story of this improbable hero who helped shape the United States of America. A graphic novel.

Alexander Hamilton From Orphan to Founding Father

By Monica Kulling, Illustrated by Valerio Fabbretta

Did you know that one of our Founding Fathers was not born in America? An orphan from the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton came to the colonies and played an important role in the Revolutionary War. He helped obtain the ratification of the Constitution. He was American’s first secretary of the treasury. A man of ambition, loyalty, and principle, he is now celebrated as the prominent patriot he was. 5-8 years

Alexander Hamilton Activity Book

By George Toufexis

This educational activity book celebrates the inspiring achievements of Alexander Hamilton. With challenging activities including: word searches, mazes, puzzles, spot-the-difference, secret codes and more. 9-12 years

The Duel:

The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr

By Judith St. George

In curiously parallel lives, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were both orphaned at an early age. Both were brilliant students, were staff officers under George Washington, and became war heroes. Each served in the newly formed government. Why, then, did these two face each other at dawn in a duel that ended with death for one and harsh criticism for the other. 112 pages

Aaron and Alexander:

The Most Famous Duel in American History

By Don Brown

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were both fierce patriots during the Revolutionary War, but the politics of the young United States of America put them in constant conflict. Their extraordinary story of bitter fighting and resentment culminates in their famous duel. 5-7 years

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

You may also like: Books For Kids: Founding Fathers

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Books For Kids: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

By Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Albert Einstein’s name is a synonym for genius. His wild case of bedhead and his playful sense of humor made him a media superstar, the first, maybe only, scientist-celebrity. He wasn’t much for lab work. In fact, he had a tendency to blow up experiments. What he liked to do was think in “thought experiments.” What was the result of all his thinking? Nothing less than the overturning of Newtonian physics. 8-12 years

On a Beam of Light: The Story of Albert Einstein

By Jennifer Berne, Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. See how imagination can make a powerful difference in a life. 6-9 years

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein

By Don Brown

When he was born in 1879, Albert was a peculiarly fat baby with an unusually big and misshaped head. When he was a child, he hit his sister, frustrated his teachers, and had few friends. But Albert’s childhood also included his brilliant capacity for puzzles and problem solving. He set his mind spinning with ideas. His ideas were destined to change the way we know and understand the world and our place in the universe. 4-7 years

Who Was Albert Einstein?

By Jess Braillier, Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

Everyone has heard of Albert Einstein, but what exactly did he do? How much do kids really know about him besides his funny hair and genius label? Here’s the story of his life told in a funny, engaging way that explores the world he lived in and changed. 3-7 years.

Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids

By Jerome Pohlen

Albert Einstein made a lasting impact on the world of science with his genius, fascinating life, and unique personality. This book features lots of science activities. Ages 9 and up

Albert Einstein: National Geographic Readers

By Libby Romero

Explore one of the most recognized scientists in the world with this biography of physicist Albert Einstein. Kids will learn about his life, achievements, and the challenges he faced along the way. 6-9 years

Albert Einstein

By Frieda Wishinsky

This DK biography tackles one of the most colorful figures in science history, Albert Einstein. Ages 10 and up

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

You may also like Books For Kids: Scientists

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Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman is the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. Born into slavery about 1822, in Maryland, she escaped from the Brodess Farm in 1849, and traveled undetected to Philadelphia in the free state of Pennsylvania.

One of nine children, her parents named her Araminta and called her Minty. At age five or six she was “hired out” to a nearby family to care for their baby. Minty watched over the baby and if it cried, Minty was whipped. As a child she was hit with a metal object meant for another slave. She was severely wounded and suffered from seizures and headaches for the rest of her life. But she recovered from her injury and was able to work on the farm. She plowed, hauled logs, and drove oxen. When Minty married John Tubman around 1844, she changed her name to Harriet, her mother’s name. 

Slave Notice Published by Eliza Brodess

In 1849, Edward Brodess, her owner died. Harriet believed that she and members of her family would be sold by his widow, Eliza. Harriet and her brothers Ben and Harry slipped away. Because they had been “hired out,” Eliza Brodess did not learn of their escape right away. She published a runaway slave notice two weeks later. But Ben and Harry soon changed their minds and returned home. They convinced Harriet to return with them. Shortly after, she escaped again and made her way to freedom by night with the help of abolitionists and freed slaves on the Underground Railroad.

“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields and I felt like I was in heaven.”

Harriet Tubman (left) and  Former Slaves She Helped Rescue

Once a free woman, Harriet decided to return to Maryland to help family members and other slaves travel to freedom. She returned thirteen times in about ten years and guided 70 slaves north.* Harriet guided the people she helped at night. She liked to travel in the winter months when the days were shorter. And Harriet knew that if she left on Saturday nights, the runaway slave notices wouldn’t be printed in the newspapers until Monday. Harriet worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad by leading escaping slaves through a network of safe houses. She earned the nickname “Moses of her people” by guiding slaves safely to northern states and Canada. 

A Woodcut of Harriet Tubman Dressed in Her Civil War Clothing

In 1860, at the start of the Civil War, Harriet became a scout, spy, and a nurse for the Union Army. She helped lead a raid on South Carolina plantations that liberated over 700 slaves.

Harriet Tubman in 1910

When the war ended, Harriet moved to Auburn, New York. She cared for her aging parents, whom she had helped to escape north, and other people who needed her help. She later became part of the suffrage movement and spoke publicly for women’s right to vote. Harriet died of pneumonia in 1913, an American hero. 

“I never ran my train off the track and never lost a passenger.” — Harriet Tubman

All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

*Recent research gives the numbers as thirteen trips, 70 slaves, and disputes earlier figures.

You may like: Books for Kids — Underground Railroad

Books For Kids About Harriet Tubman:

Before She Was Harriet

By Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by James E. Ransome

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Who Was Harriet Tubman?

By Yona Zeldis McDonough, Illustrated by Who HQ

Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman

By Monica Kulling, Illustrated by Teresa Flavin

Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman

By Alan Schroeder, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney


Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad

by Ann Petry


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Books For Kids: Civil Rights Movement

If You Were a Kid in the Civil Rights Movement

By Gwendolyn Hooks, Illustrated by Kelly Kennedy

Joyce Jenkins has recently moved to a new town with her family. She will soon be attending a segregated school for the first time. Connie Underwood is trying to figure out what her twin brothers are planning in secret. The two girls find themselves in the middle of a civil rights demonstration. The fight for equality will the country forever. 

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

There were signs all throughout town telling eight-year-old Connie where she could and could not go. But when Connie sees four young men take a stand for equal rights at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, she realizes that things may soon change. This event sparks a movement throughout her town and region. And while Connie is too young to march or give a speech, she helps her brother and sister make signs for the cause. Changes are coming to Connie’s town, but Connie just wants to be able to sit at the lunch counter and eat a banana split like everyone else.

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks,

A Young Civil Rights Activist

By Cynthia Levinson, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else. So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan: picket those white stores, march to protest those unfair laws, and fill the jails — she stepped right up and said, “I’ll do it. Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be. Hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

By Paula Young Shelton, Illustrated by Raul Colon

Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist, Andrew Young, brings a child’s unique perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Paula grew up in the deep south, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, including Uncle Martin (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,) Paula watched and listened to the struggles. She eventually joined with her family, and thousands of others, in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.

Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation

By Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Rosa Parks took a stand by keeping her seat on the bus. When she was arrested, her supporters protested by refusing to ride. Soon a community of thousands came together to help each other. Some started taxi services, some rode bikes, but many walked. After 382 days, they walked Jim Crow laws right out of town. Boycott Blues presents a poignant, blues-infused tribute to the men and women of the Montgomery bus boycott who refused to give up until they got justice.

Freedom Summer

By Deborah Wiles, Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there’s one important way they’re different, Joe is white and John Henry is black. In the South in 1964, John Henry isn’t allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation. The town pool opens to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other to the pool, only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people’s hearts.

We March

By Shane W. Evans

On August 26, 1963, a remarkable event took place. More than 250,000 people gathered in our nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march began at the Washington Memorial and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. The thrill of this day is brought to life in We March, even for the youngest reader. 

A Sweet Smell of Roses

By Angela Johnson, Illustrated by Eric Velazquez

There’s a sweet smell in the air as two young girls sneak out of their house, down the street, and across town to where men and women are gathered, ready to march for freedom and justice. A Sweet Smell of Roses is inspired by countless children and young adults who took a stand and participated in the Civil Rights Movement. 

The book descriptions used are primarily the publishers.

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Thomas Edison Invented…

Thomas Edison grew up at a time when children went to work to help support their families. At age twelve or thirteen, he sold newspapers on the train that ran from his hometown, Port Huron, Michigan, to Detroit.

In his free time, Thomas like to read all about science and technology. He also liked to experiment with chemicals. He set up a laboratory in his basement. And he even conducted experiments in the baggage car of the train he worked on.

Young Thomas Edison (Wikimedia Commons)

At age sixteen, Thomas became a telegraph operator for the railroad. But he had to leave his job after a train accident was blamed on him. He then worked for the Associated Press at night. This job allowed him to read and work on experiments during the day.

Thomas Edison (Wikimedia Commons)

His first invention was an electric vote recorder. The recorder could be used by members of legislatures to count their votes on bills right away. But it was a failure. Thomas discovered that politicians did not want a fast way to count their votes.

Thomas’s first successful invention was a stock ticker that improved on earlier ones. His stock ticker let investors know quickly what was happening in the stock market.

Thomas Edison and his phonograph (Pixabay)

Thomas Edison’s first big invention was the phonograph. It recorded and produced sound that people could hear clearly. This invention made him famous all over the world. He became known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park.” Menlo Park was his research laboratory complex in New Jersey.

Thomas Edison and engineers at Menlo Park (Shutterstock)

Now it was time for his greatest invention, the incandescent light bulb. Inventors had tried for years to come up with an electric light bulb that would replace gaslight. But no one had found a practical way to do that.

First, Thomas set up the Edison Electric Light Company. Then he worked for years trying to perfect a light bulb. He failed many times until he tried a platinum filament. The light bulb burned for 13 1/2 hours. But Thomas wanted a bulb that would burn much longer and would be cheaper to make.

Edison light bulb (Shutterstock)

Thomas had been fishing with a bamboo pole made from bamboo threads. He decided to try a carbonized bamboo filament. And eureka, his light bulb lasted for over 1,200 hours. It was affordable too. Thomas demonstrated his light bulb by lighting up his Menlo Park laboratory complex.

Thomas Edison (Pixabay)

Thomas wasn’t satisfied just inventing a practical light bulb. He wanted to light up everyone’s home, business, and factory. He started the Edison Illuminating Company. Thomas’s first power station went into operation in Manhattan. It lit up a one-mile square area. It was only a matter of time until electric light lit up the world.

His other inventions include a motion picture camera, and a Kinetoscope to project the images on, and the first alkaline battery for electric cars. It was the forerunner of the alkaline batteries we use today. 

A quote by Thomas Edison (Shutterstock)

To learn more about Thomas Edison and his inventions visit:

Books For Kids:

Timeless Thomas:

How Edison Changed Our Lives

By Gene Barretta

Thomas Edison and His Bright Idea

By Patricia Brennan Demuth

Illustrated by Jez Tuya

Who Was Thomas Alva Edison?

By Margaret Firth, Illustrated by John O’Brien

Young Thomas Edison

By Michael Dooling

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Benjamin Franklin Invented Swim Fins

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Books For Kids — Inventors

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Books For Kids — Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words

by K.M. Koystal and Benjamin Franklin, Illustrated by Fred Harper

Discover history through the eyes of one of the smartest, funniest, and coolest figures from America’s past. Ben gives sage advice on everything from good citizenship, manners,  friendship, and being happy. 

Ben Franklin & the Magic Squares

By Frank Murphy, Illustrated by Richard Walz

A funny, entertaining introduction to Ben Franklin and his many inventions, including the story of how he created the “magic square.” A magic square is a box of nine numbers. They are arranged so that any line of three adds up to the same number, even on the diagonal. 

What’s the Big Idea Ben Franklin

By Jean Fritz, Illustrated by Margaret Tomes

A fun historic tale by Newbery Honor-winning author, Jean Fritz! No matter how busy he was, Ben Franklin always found time to try out new ideas. A man of many talents, he was an ambassador, a printer, an almanac maker, a politician, and even a vegetarian (for a time.)

When I Grow Up: Benjamin Franklin

By Annmarie Anderson, Illustrated by Gerald Kelley

Benjamin Franklin is one of America’s most beloved Founding Fathers and a man of many talents. He is most well-known for discovering electricity. But he was also an author, and editor, a printer, and a diplomat. And he invented many things we still use today. This book takes the reader on an exciting journey from Ben’s childhood to his adulthood as a famous American.

Who Was Ben Franklin

By Dennis Brindell Fradin, Illustrated by John O’Brien

Ben Franklin was the scientist who, with the help of a kite, discovered that lightning is electricity. He was also a statesman, an inventor, a printer, and an an author. He was a man of such amazingly varied talents that some people claimed he had magical powers. 

Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

By Gene Barretta

What would you do if you lived in a community without a library, hospital, post office, or fire department? If you were Ben Franklin, you’d set these up yourself. Franklin also designed the lightning rod. He suggested the idea of daylight savings time. And he invented bifocals. All were inspired by his common sense and intelligence. 

Benjamin Franklin (Giants of Science)

By Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Benjamin Franklin was a famous inventor and multitasker. He’s best remembered as one of America’s Founding Fathers. But he was also a scientist. His experiments led to important discoveries about the nature of electricity. He famously demonstrated that electricity and lightning are one in the same. 

John, Paul, George & Ben

By Lane Smith

Once there were four lads…John [Hancock], Paul [Revere], George [Washington], and Ben [Franklin]. Oh yes, there was also Tom [Jefferson], but he was annoyingly independent and hardly ever around. These lads were always getting into trouble for one reason or another. In other words, they took a few…liberties. And to be honest, they were not always appreciated. This is the story of five little lads before they became five really big Founding Fathers.

You may also like: Ben Franklin Invented Swim Fins

Ben Franklin Runs Away

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

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Emma Lazarus, Liberty’s Voice

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Poet Emma Lazarus wrote these famous words as part of a sonnet for an auction.

As a girl, Emma wrote poetry and translated poems from German and French into English. Her father, recognizing her talent, published her first book of poems, Poems and translations by Emma Lazarus, written between the ages of Fourteen and Seventeen.

Emma met and then wrote to one of America’s best known poets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, when she was nineteen. She and Emerson worked together as student and mentor. Emma continued to write and publish books of poetry.

Emma also dedicated herself to helping Russian Jewish refugees escaping persecution in their homeland. The refugees lived in poor conditions on Ward’s Island in New York Harbor. Emma brought them clothing and food, set up English classes, and a trade school. She wrote about their plight hoping they would be accepted into American society.

In 1883,  a committee invited Emma to participate in a fundraising campaign to provide a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. The committee asked her to write a sonnet to be auctioned to help raise money for the pedestal.

The statue, a gift from France, sat disassembled in crates on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor. The people of France paid for the statue. Now Americans raised money to pay for the pedestal to support it. But an economic depression made fundraising difficult.

At first, Emma declined the invitation to write a sonnet. Not only was the auction a week away, but as she told a pedestal committee member, Ms. Harrison, “A poem written to order would be flat.” Ms. Harrison asked Emma to think about the Russian Jewish refugees she had been helping. They could inspire her poem.

Emma thought it over. It seemed to her that the statue would light the way for immigrants entering New York Harbor. The Statue of Liberty would welcome them to their new home. She decided to write the poem and called it “The New Colossus.”

Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of The New York World, asked people around the country to contribute money to build the pedestal. To help with the cause, he published Emma’s poem in his newspaper.

Pulitzer raised over $100,000. Most of the contributions were less than $1.00. The pedestal was built and the statue reassembled. President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886.

In 1903, words from Emma’s “The New Colossus” were inscribed on a plague placed in the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. Unfortunately, Emma died in 1887. She never knew that her words, inspired by refugees, welcomed generations of new immigrants seeking freedom in America.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Books For Kids:

The Story of Emma Lazarus: Liberty’s Voice

By Erica Silverman, Illustrated by Stacey Schuett

Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty

By Linda Glaser, Illustrated by Claire A. Nivola

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