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Book Review

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

This book sheds light on the enigmatic Jefferson’s personal and professional life as well as the surrounding culture. It uses original writings and hands-on activities from the colonial era to teach young readers about Jefferson’s triumphs and tribulations, and also acts as an introduction to early American politics and society.

Miller describes Jefferson’s professional experiences as a lawyer, the primary creator of the Declaration of Independence, the founder of the University of Virginia, and his two terms as President. The text also uses age-appropriate (ages 9 & up) language and concepts to explain some of the more contentious aspects of Jefferson’s life, including his status as a slave owner and his controversial relationship with Native American tribes.

To encourage kids to engage with the historical material, the book features 21 activities, including instructions for building a model solar system, designing a Palladian window, painting a compass rose, and creating a leaf collection. It also has a time line, Web and travel resources and a reading list for young readers who want to learn more.