Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Benjamin Franklin, American Genius: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities (For K

Benjamin Franklin, American Genius: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities (For K

Brandon Marie Miller
For ages 9 to 12
Chicago Review Press, 2009   ISBN: 978-1556527579

Many people know the story about how Benjamin Franklin flew a kite during a storm so that he could better understand the nature of electricity. What they might not know is that Benjamin Franklin conducted many other experiments. He also invented many useful things (bifocals for example), and played an important role in the founding of an independent America. He was a prolific writer whose writings were widely read in his own time, and they are still read and appreciated by people today

In this creative and well written book, Brandon Miller not only looks at Benjamin Franklin’s life and achievements, but he also provides his readers with twenty-one hands-on activities that will help them to better understand Benjamin Franklin’s world, and to truly appreciate the man’s multi-faceted personality.

In the first chapter, which looks at Benjamin Franklin’s early years, there is an activity that will show young readers how to pour a bar of soap. Benjamin Franklin worked in a chandler’s shop (a shop where they made candles) when he was a boy, and no doubt one of his jobs would have been to make soap.

The second chapter explores Benjamin Franklin’s life when he was working in a print shop. In addition to learning about what Benjamin did at this time in his life, readers can try to make handmade paper, which was something Benjamin would have done.

In chapter five we meet an older Franklin who was serving his country as an advisor and diplomat. He represented America in France, where he was soon a much loved and revered celebrity. One of the activities in this chapter shows readers how to cook “A French Feast.” Perhaps Benjamin Franklin enjoy a meal much like this all those years ago.

This is one in a series of books that looks at the life of a famous people in new and creative ways.