Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

John Hancock: Independent Boy

John Hancock: Independent Boy

Kathryn Cleven Sisson
Illustrator:  Cathy Morrison 
For ages 9 to 12
Patria Press, 2004   ISBN: 1882859456

Johnny Hancock is the son of a parson living outside the town of Boston. When his father dies Johnny is formally adopted by his childless and very wealthy uncle who lives in Boston. It is hard to leave his family but at the same time this change in circumstances gives Johnny all sorts of opportunities which he would otherwise not have had. For one thing he gets an excellent education going to the South Latin School and then to the University of Harvard in Cambridge.

As he grows us Johnny sees the beginnings of restlessness in his fellow “colonists” as the people chafe more and more under the rigorous laws imposed on them by the British crown. Johnny also forms friendships which are solid and lasting with young boys and men who end up joining him in the struggle for American Independence when they are gown into manhood. There is Paul Revere whom he meets on the docks in Boston, and Sam Adams whom he is introduced to by his long time boyhood friend James Adams.

It is interesting to learn that John Hancock was the first and only man to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4 1776. He wrote in a large and clear hand so that “England can read my name without glasses.” His action took much courage for by signing the document John gave the British cause to accuse him of treason.

In this book we are given a fascinating and very vivid picture of what it was like to live in Boston during the 1700’s. In the back of the book the author includes a timeline of John Hancock’s life, “Fun Facts about John Hancock, and a glossary.

This is one of the books in the excellent “Young Patriots” Series