Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation

Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation

Peggy Thomas
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Calkins Creek, 2015   ISBN: 978-1620916285

Thomas Jefferson excelled at growing things. Perhaps the most famous thing he helped to create and nurture was the United States, “Planting the seed of freedom” when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. One would think that this achievement would be enough for one man, but it was not. Jefferson wanted to grow America’s reputation in the eyes of the world and he went to considerable trouble to convince people that his country was full of natural wonders and good business opportunities, and that is was therefore a place to visit and perhaps even settle.

Thomas Jefferson also understood that American farmers needed to learn how to coax more out of the land and so, while he was the United States minister to France, he learned as much as he could about farming of all kinds, as well as wine making, cheese making, and more. Jefferson took what he learned and tried to apply his new found knowledge to expand and improve his home and farm in Virginia. His hope was that others would learn from his successes and failures and hopefully make their own farms more productive as a result.

In 1801 Jefferson became the third president of the United States. One would think such a role would preclude him from studying gardening and agriculture but it did not. Jefferson continued to collect seeds, and though he did not have a garden of his own, he took a keen interest in what others were growing.

Then Jefferson was presented with another opportunity to grow something and this time the choices he made would have an enormous impact on his young country.

This wonderful picture book biography shows to great effect how Thomas Jefferson did indeed grow a nation in many ways. We see how many of his interests had long lasting impacts on the people and places that he cared about.