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What Are You Figuring Now?: A Story about Benjamin Banneker

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A biography of the Afro-American farmer and self-taught mathematician, astronomer, and surveyor for the new capital city of the United States in 1791, who also calculated a successful almanac notable for its preciseness.

A biography of the Afro-American farmer and self-taught mathematician, astronomer, and surveyor for the new capital city of the United States in 1791, who also calculated a successful almanac notable for its ...

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Overview

A biography of the Afro-American farmer and self-taught mathematician, astronomer, and surveyor for the new capital city of the United States in 1791, who also calculated a successful almanac notable for its preciseness.

A biography of the Afro-American farmer and self-taught mathematician, astronomer, and surveyor for the new capital city of the United States in 1791, who also calculated a successful almanac notable for its preciseness.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2-4 Banneker, born of free black parents near Baltimore in 1731, is remembered for his skill as an astronomer, mathematician, and surveyor. He worked with Andrew Ellicott, the surveyor appointed by George Washington, to lay out the boundaries of Washington, D.C. A great deal of information and a long period of time have been compressed and simplified in an attempt to make Banneker's life and contributions accessible to young readers. Dialogue has been added, most likely for the same reason, although it is sometimes jarring. For example, when Benjamin begins the Quaker school, his grandmother's musing portends the boy's future: `` `Benjie,' she said, `I wonder what great things you're going to do some day. And I wonder how you can do them on a tobacco farm.' '' Little information is given on the restrictive laws of 18th-Century America which would help place Banneker in an appropriate context. No sources are cited with the exception of an acknowledgement to Silvio Bedini, the author of a definitive adult biography entitled The Life of Benjamin Banneker (Landmark, 1984). Bedini and others are noted for further reading in Lillie Patterson's biography for children, Benjamin Banneker: Genius of Early America (Abingdon, 1978; o.p.). Maria B. Salvadore, District of Columbia Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780876145210
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1988
  • Series: Creative Minds Biographies Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.89 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    Benjamin Banneker was raised on a farm in Maryland. Growing up, he counted everything. He learned to read and constantly wanted to know more. He worked hard growing tobacco and fishing, but he wanted more than that out of his life. When a Quaker moved in nearby and started a school, Benjamin was permitted to attend. He lasted there about four years, until he learned all the Quaker had to teach him.

    One day in town, he encountered a man he knew. The man had a watch that he let Benjamin borrow. Benjamin spent many hours taking the watch apart and documenting how all the pieces worked and fit together. It took Benjamin two years, but he recreated the watch and built his own working clock.

    People talked, and soon many wanted to come and see the man that built the clock.

    Life went on like this for Benjamin. He discovered something new and then had to master it. It was his mastery of astronomy and surveying that eventually landed him in the midst of President Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Benjamin was now part of the team that would design the layout of the new capital in Washington.

    Benjamin had only a basic education by today's standards, but Ms. Ferris goes on to document the amazing accomplishments one man made on his own. She shows what hard work and perseverance can accomplish.

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