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Becoming Ben Franklin
     

Becoming Ben Franklin

by Russell Freedman
 

In 1723 Ben Franklin arrived in Philadelphia as a poor and friendless seventeen-year-old who had run away from his family and an apprenticeship in Boston. Sixty-two years later he stepped ashore in nearly the same spot but was greeted by cannons, bells, and a cheering crowd, now a distinguished statesman, renowned author, and world-famous scientist. Freedman's

Overview

In 1723 Ben Franklin arrived in Philadelphia as a poor and friendless seventeen-year-old who had run away from his family and an apprenticeship in Boston. Sixty-two years later he stepped ashore in nearly the same spot but was greeted by cannons, bells, and a cheering crowd, now a distinguished statesman, renowned author, and world-famous scientist. Freedman's riveting story of how a rebellious apprentice became an American icon comes in an elegantly designed book filled with art and includes a timeline, source notes, bibliography, and index

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—There are numerous excellent children's books about Benjamin Franklin, including Robert Byrd's Electric Ben (Dial, 2012), Rosalyn Schanzer's How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning (HarperCollins, 2002), and Candace Fleming's Ben Franklin's Almanac (S & S, 2003). Freedman, however, is a master at taking primary sources and turning them into engaging narratives that draw readers into the subject. While the three earlier books are highly visual presentations, this treatment is more about the text. Numerous paintings and engravings are included, but they are not the main event. Tracing Franklin's life chronologically, the author chose episodes that reflect how the young man, disgruntled with being his brother's apprentice, made a life for himself, and how he became the figure who is revered today. By describing the obstacles Franklin overcame in establishing his print shop in Philadelphia, Freedman delineates a clear path between his subject's early ambition and his ease with people to his success in business and then to his later roles as a diplomat, revolutionary, and public servant. Biographers make decisions about what to leave out as much as what to put in, but Freedman is consistent in connecting his discussion to primary sources. The result is an account that examines the whole of Franklin's remarkable life but does not overwhelm readers.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Kirkus Reviews
An engaging biography of the man who "snatched lightning from the sky and the scepter from tyrants." Benjamin Franklin ran away from his apprenticeship in Boston and arrived in Philadelphia a tired, dirty and hungry 17-year-old who impressed 15-year-old Deborah Read, his future wife, as a young man with a "most awkward ridiculous appearance." With characteristic grace, Freedman sketches his subject's career: Franklin settled into life in Philadelphia and became a printer, first publishing Poor Richard's Almanack in 1733. Franklin led the Junto, which fostered such civic improvements as America's first lending library, lighting Philadelphia's streets, and founding the firefighting company, the first hospital and Philadelphia's first college. By age 44, Franklin was prosperous enough to retire from business, but he continued to be busy, inventing bifocals, the lightning rod and the Franklin stove. He was active in the creation of a new nation, signing all of the major documents that created the United States. Freedman is a master at shaping stories that bring history to life, with clear and lively prose rooted in solid research. The stylish volume includes many reproductions of portraits, engravings, and newspaper and almanac pages to enliven the fascinating portrait of Franklin and his times. A superb addition to Freedman's previous volumes on the Revolutionary period. (timeline, source notes, picture credits, bibliography, index) (Biography. 10 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823423743
Publisher:
Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2013
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
898,754
Product dimensions:
10.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
1170L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author



Russell Freedman received the Newbery Medal for LINCOLN: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY. He is also the recipient of three Newbery Honors, a National Humanities Medal, the Sibert Medal, the Orbis Pictus Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was selected to give the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Mr. Freedman lives in New York City and travels widely to research his books.

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