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Children's LiteratureThere are few good biographies for kids on this influential Revolutionary War pamphleteer. That is not surprising. Such a biography should be an intellectual history, which is a tough sell for readers of any age. Although this biography suggests otherwise, Paine had few original ideas, but he skillfully popularized the theories of John Locke and others, helping make them touchstones of the American Revolution. Paine's Common Sense, the first American publication to advocate independence, sold an estimated 150,000 copies in 1776. In the following two decades he published two more monumental works--Rights of Man and The Age of Reason. His work was not only important during the Revolutionary era, but it also formed the intellectual foundation for the far-reaching social reform movements of the 19th century. One of these days, maybe, a publisher will give us a good kids' biography of this important figure. 2006, Chelsea House, Ages 8 to 12.
—Michael L. Cooper