Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Haym Salomon: American Patriot

Haym Salomon: American Patriot

Susan Goldman Rubin
Illustrator:  David Slonim 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Abrams, 2007   ISBN: 978-0810910874

It is January of 1776 and George Washington's troops are having a hard time of it. They don?t have enough supplies of food and clothing and they are "greatly distressed." In distant New York City a young Jewish immigrant, Haym Salomon, wishes that there was something that he could do to help. He believes in the revolutionary cause but he cannot see how his skills could help. Haym knows how to speak many languages and he is a master in managing money but how can these abilities help the cause for George Washington.

Then Haym's friend, Alexander MacDougall, comes to call. Alexander is a member of revolutionary group called the Sons of Liberty and he invites Haym to join. Haym agrees and some months later he closes down his business and sets off for Fort Ticonderoga with a wagon full of supplies for American soldiers.

Later that year Haym gets back to New York City just after the British have captured it. When a fire breaks out the British blame the Sons of Liberty and since Haym is known to be a member of the group, they arrest him and put him in jail. The British soon discover that Haym can speak German and since many of the English troops are actually German mercenaries who don't speak a word of English, they give Haym the job of being their translator. Haym takes the job but secretly he sets about arranging to help American prisoners escape.

In 1778, when another fire broke out Haym was arrested again and this time he was accused of being a spy and condemned to death. Luckily he was able to escape before his sentence was carried out. As he made his way to Philadelphia he saw some of Washington's troops and he was shocked at the condition that they were in. He was determined that he would do what he could to raise money for the army and as soon as he got settled in Philadelphia this is just what he did.

This book serves as a wonderful tribute to a man whom very few people know much about. Haym Salomon was not only an active member of the Sons of Liberty but he personally raised enormous sums of money to fund the revolutionary war and to help get the budding new American nation off the ground. With great care Susan Goldman Rubin has pieced together fragments of information to provide young readers with an interesting and entertaining story about a brave and selfless man who gave so much his country. An author’s note at the back of the book provides readers with further information about Haym Salomon’s life.