Revolutionary John Adams
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Revolutionary John Adams

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by Cheryl Harness

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John Adams comes to vivid life for young readers in this latest addition to Harness's acclaimed presidential picture-biographies. Dynamic artwork and lively narrative create a warm, personable portrait of the stubborn man from Braintree, Massachusetts, whose passion for liberty spurred him on to extraordinary roles as a Founding Father, first Vice President, and


John Adams comes to vivid life for young readers in this latest addition to Harness's acclaimed presidential picture-biographies. Dynamic artwork and lively narrative create a warm, personable portrait of the stubborn man from Braintree, Massachusetts, whose passion for liberty spurred him on to extraordinary roles as a Founding Father, first Vice President, and second President of the United States. Through Adams's eyes, kids witness the tension-enflamed streets of Boston, the bickering Continental Congress, the complexities of waging the War for Independence, and the challenges of governing a new nation. Vivid quotes from both John and Abigail Adams provide great primary source material for school reports, and three illustrated maps let readers see where key events took place.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cheryl Harness zeroes in on America's second president in The Revolutionary John Adams. The lengthy text, with a generous sprinkling of quotes and paintings that evoke the period, puts special emphasis on Adams's role in the Continental Congress and the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. A timeline places his presidency (1797-1801) in the context of world events.
Children's Literature
Author and illustrator Harness has created a sweeping and striking biography of one of our nation's most influential, yet little known, founding father. The book is especially geared for young readers. Through richly detailed water-color paintings, painstakingly researched text, and a sprinkling of quotes from John Adams' own letters and diaries, Harness brings to life this "stout, stubborn New Englander" who was a steadfast patriot, a consummate diplomat, and wife Abigail's "dearest friend." The biography takes readers to young John's carefree life on the farm in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he often skipped school to fly kites on Penn's Hill. The biography moves on through the turbulent times of the Revolutionary War to Adams' post-war political life as leader and diplomat, when he strove to provide a strong foundation for our fledging country. Beautifully illustrated in (what else?) a red, white, and blue theme, this picture book is endorsed by David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of John Adams. Don't be surprised if you find grown-up history buffs pouring over the pages of this picture book biography, too! 2003, National Geographic,
— Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-An accessible, appealing, and informative look at the second president of the United States, "the stout, stubborn New Englander eternally bookended and overshadowed by tall, glamorous Virginians [George Washington and Thomas Jefferson]." Harness points out that Adams is one of the few revolutionary leaders for whom there is no monument. And she credits his numerous contributions as ambassador to France and England, both during the Revolution and later, and his role as champion of a strong and central government. She personalizes the text by recounting the great sacrifices made by Adams and his family during his long years of public service and includes quotes from his letters and speeches throughout. Details such as the supplies Abigail packed for John and their 10-year-old son when they sailed for Europe in 1777 are included. The author also points out what hard work it was to be a revolutionary as well as a diplomat. Large, colorful illustrations highlight points in the text, such as a painting of Adams, Jefferson, Washington, and Alexander Hamilton looking sincere and forceful. The book closes with an overview of world events during Adams's presidency, including Napoleon's invasion of Egypt. A first-purchase.-Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In her signature style, Harness (Remember the Ladies, 2001, etc.) joins the contemporary effort to bring John Adams to his rightful place in history. "The United States is a proper, living monument to intense, cranky, warm, heart-on-his-sleeve John Adams—America’s champion." George Washington was the first president and father of our country and Thomas Jefferson the author of our essential political manifesto, but John Adams was "the champion of its government." Adams was the one who led Congress through its turbulent early days from revolution to nationhood. He was an ardent believer in the machinery of government created by the founders. Harness takes readers through the essential people and events of Adams’s life and focuses on his role in keeping the revolution going, writing the Declaration of Independence, and keeping the army functioning throughout the war. Adams, John Jay, and Ben Franklin negotiated the peace treaties that officially ended the war in 1783. And as the second president, Adams managed to keep the young country out of war with England and France, thus preserving its independence. This handsome volume has 53 full-color illustrations, maps, and excerpts from Adams’s letters. The text manages to relay the details of Adams’s life while emphasizing what is essential about his legacy. Back matter indicates that the liberal quotes throughout come from letters, diaries, and papers—but whose? Who knew about the conversation between Adams and his father as they discussed his being a farmer? And who knew that he had "a stomach full of butterflies" as he rode off to Harvard? The solid information and lively format will make this a boon to report writers and a must forlibrary collections, but the skimpy bibliography will not be useful to young researchers. (author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 8-12)

Product Details

National Geographic Society
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.15(d)
1130L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Cheryl Harness is the author and/or illustrator of numerous children’s books, including seven picture book biographies for National Geographic and the series Cheryl Harness Histories. She has a natural talent for making history fun for kids, injecting the "wow" factor into the lives of America’s historical heroes and heroines. A multi-award winning author and illustrator, she lives in her historic hometown of Independence, MO. Visit Cheryl Harness at her Web site:

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Revolutionary John Adams 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
LynnEll More than 1 year ago
This book will definitely have a place in my classroom. It is a wonderfully written biography on John Adams, written for the late elementary/ middle school grades. The covers his young life right through to his death and is very good at depicting his life. His work as a revolutionary receives thorough coverage in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago