Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of John Hancock

A Picture Book of John Hancock

David A. Adler, Michael S. Adler
Illustrator:  Ronald Himler 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Holiday House, 2007   ISBN: 978-0823420056

The son of Reverend John and Mary Hancock, John Hancock was born in Quincy Massachusetts in 1737. Until he was seven he grew up in the country and played with his siblings and often with his neighbor, Sam Adams. Then his father died and John was sent to live with his uncle and aunt who lived in a mansion on Beacon Hill in Boston.

As the ward of his uncle and aunt, John had the best of everything and they gave him an excellent education. When he finished his time at Harvard College John went to work in his uncle’s company. To give him some further experience his uncle sent John to London for a year.

Just three years after he got home John’s uncle died and John inherited his business. He was a very wealthy man indeed. He began to get involved in the political events that were taking place in the colonies at the time. John was a patriot and he was very unhappy about many of the things that the British crown was doing on American soil. He was particularly angry about the taxes that the British were imposing on the Americans and found ways to avoid paying them. Because of his behavior the British seized one of John’s ships.

Some colonial leaders hoped that peace could be restored between the Americans and the British but after the Boston Massacre and after the Coercive Acts were passed, John was convinced that the time had come for the Americans to declare themselves free of British rule. He became more and more involved in the cause over time. Then, in 1774, John went to Philadelphia as a delegate to the first Continental Congress. Later he was elected the president of the new Massachusetts government and helped to stockpile hidden weapons for the minutemen.

After the battle of Lexington the Second Continental Congress met and John was elected its president and the delegates began to seriously talk about independence. Of course we all know that when the time came to sign the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock, as the president of the Congress, was the first to sign.

In this book David and Michael Adler provide their young readers with an excellent introduction to the life of John Hancock. They show their audience that there was a lot more this special man than his famous signature. He served his country in many ways and with great courage and determination. This is yet another excellent biography in the wonderful “Picture Book Biographies” series.