Thomas Jefferson for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities


An architect, statesman, farmer, and inventor, Thomas Jefferson had few equals among this nation’s founders. Left fatherless at a young age, he was a hardworking scholar who came into his own as a lawyer, landowner, and county leader. Elected to the Virginia Assembly in 1769, Jefferson became an eloquent critic of the colonial policies of Great Britain and King George III. His talents made him the perfect candidate to write the Declaration of Independence, which set the United ...

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An architect, statesman, farmer, and inventor, Thomas Jefferson had few equals among this nation’s founders. Left fatherless at a young age, he was a hardworking scholar who came into his own as a lawyer, landowner, and county leader. Elected to the Virginia Assembly in 1769, Jefferson became an eloquent critic of the colonial policies of Great Britain and King George III. His talents made him the perfect candidate to write the Declaration of Independence, which set the United States apart in a world ruled by monarchs.

Jefferson, however, was not without his contradictions. His quill penned the immortal phrase “all men are created equal,” but during his lifetime he owned 600 slaves. And though he sought elected office, he was sensitive to criticism and often wished to escape his public role and return to his Monticello estate.

Author Brandon Marie Miller captures the complexity of this talented leader through his original writings and hands-on activities from the colonial era

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The volume offers the chance to delve into Jefferson's life and be inspired by the range of his interests."—Kirkus Reviews

"Altogether admirable. Brandon Marie Miller has written a concise, graceful, and accessible biography that carries lightly an astonishing amount of information and insight. This book is illuminating and brimming with respect for its subject and its readers. The activities are well-chosen to give young readers a sense of what Thomas Jefferson's world was like.  Highly, and delightedly, recommended." —R. B. Bernstein, distinguished adjunct professor of law, New York Law School, and author of Thomas Jefferson and The Founding Fathers Reconsidered

Children's Literature - Leigh Geiger
Miller has done an excellent job of balancing the need to keep this book simple enough for midgrade readers while still presenting a very well-researched and complex view of Jefferson's life. This biography begins with a brief introduction to Jefferson's parents and then moves chronologically through his life including his years as a bright, hardworking student at William & Mary, his involvement in the emerging new nation, his presidency and his final years surrounded by his grandchildren. The description of his early years is thorough enough to help readers understand some of Jefferson's political and personal actions. Miller also details Jefferson's many achievements and his commitment to developing a strong new government even after leaving the presidency. However, the author doesn't shy away from presenting the other side of this complex man. We learn of Jefferson's slave ownership and the fact that he fathered a son with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves, despite the fact that he spoke out publically against slavery and believed that all men should be free. Because Jefferson was so involved in the politics of his times, readers are treated to discussion of many complex historical issues such as the Alien and Sedition Act, the organization of a national bank and the development of trade treaties with European nations. The generous use of illustrations, primarily photographs, and the large page format will make this volume accessible for younger readers. Twenty-one activities such as building a simple microscope and plotting a map that are of this historical period will help bring the text to life. This is an excellent classroom resource which also includes a timeline, an explanation of primary sources, Web and travel resources and suggested additional reading. Reviewer: Leigh Geiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Jefferson is a complicated figure. His contribution to the founding of our nation was immeasurable, but he was much less successful in managing his personal affairs. In this warts-and-all picture of the president, Miller recounts Jefferson's early life, his rise to prominence in the political arena, and his later years. In lucid prose, the author gives a thorough account of the achievements for which Jefferson is most famous, but also draws attention to the irony of his slave ownership (especially in his relations with the Hemings family), and makes ample reference to the man's extravagant lifestyle that led to serious debt. The well-chosen activities are age appropriate, relate directly to the text, and offer a range of options. Black-and-white photos and images of artifacts and period artwork illustrate the text. The page layout is attractive, with wide borders trimmed in color. Miller's book is a good choice for those looking for an honest appraisal of the man. Thomas Jefferson (DK, 2009) also mentions the president's slave ownership and his debt problems but handles both with a lighter touch.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569763483
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: For Kids Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,056,340
  • Age range: 9 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: NC1100L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Brandon Marie Miller is the author of George Washington for Kids and Benjamin Franklin, American Genius.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2011

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    Informative Biography of Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson for Kids is a well-written, comprehensive biography of the third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. Brandon Marie Miller does an excellent job in portraying Thomas Jefferson as a multi-faceted, complex man.

    There are plenty of photographs and pictures of Thomas Jefferson, his home, and the people who influenced his life and times. Especially interesting, are photographs of letters that Thomas Jefferson had penned with his own hand.

    A nice feature that kids would enjoy, are the 21 activities. These include plotting a map, dancing a reel, building a simple microscope, and my kids' favorite - baking a macaroni and cheese pie.

    Thomas Jefferson for Kids is a book that would appeal to anyone wanting to learn more about our country's third president, and is an excellent resource for students having to do research projects and reports. I highly recommend it.

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  • Posted September 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Thomas Jefferson for Kids is perfect for ALL ages!

    THOMAS JEFFERSON for KIDS His Life and Times with 21 Activities By Brandon Marie Miller This is an in-depth well-written book about America's third President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's life is thoroughly covered in this book and portions of Jefferson's books and letters as he wrote them are found throughout. The first part of this book has a timeline of important dates throughout Jefferson's life from his birth on April 13, 1743 to his death on July 4, 1826. The second part is the real meat of the book, where you are introduced to Jefferson in all his complexities. His stand on slavery for one, though he was publically against it he himself kept slaves. He was against those in authority using their authority over others and wielding their power so as to keep others down, but in some instances he seemed to use the very abuses he was against to get what he wanted. He was plagued by the lose of those dear to him, as he lost his wife and most of his recognized children and these loses affected his public life. Jefferson was a man who loved knowledge and collected books throughout his life. Thomas Jefferson for Kids has 21 different activities for children that are similar to activities that Jefferson performed throughout his day-to-day life. Activities like plotting a map, making a simple microscope, observing the weather, or building a model solar system. This book would be an excellent classroom resource or text book for a homeschooler. It is also an excellent refresher on Jefferson for anyone who may not remember all of their American History! Jefferson is portrayed as a real person with faults and not some American deity as some books try to portray America's Founding Fathers. It is a well-balanced work and should be included in any Children's American History collection. Publisher provided review copy in digital format.

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