Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Patrick Henry

A Picture Book of Patrick Henry

David A. Adler
Illustrator:  John C. Wallner , Alexandra Wallner 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Holiday House, 2001   ISBN: 082341678X

Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County in Virginia in 1736. As was common in those days, Henry started working when he was still in his teens. He and his brother worked in a store that their father bought for them, but the young men were not very good at running a business, and by the end of their first year in the store they realized that they were going to have to close the doors of the store for good.

After he got married and tried unsuccessfully be a farmer and to run another store, Patrick decided to become a lawyer. In this new venture Patrick was successful, and he was soon well known in his community for his skills as a lawyer. After winning an important and controversial court case that made him famous, Patrick became a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. He spoke out against taxes that were imposed on Virginians by the King of England. Later, in 1774, he represented Virginia in the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. It was during this gathering that he gave his famous “give me liberty or give me death” speech in which he exhorted his fellow Americans to stand together, united against the British.

David A. Adler has written many wonderful nonfiction titles for young readers, and in this one he tells the story of Patrick Henry in such a way that it is accessible to young children. Readers will be surprised to find out that Patrick Henry had to overcome many trials in his life, and that he was, like so many of us, a complicated person who had strengths and flaws.