When Mr. Jefferson Came to Philadelphia: What I Learned of Freedom, 1776 by Ann Turner

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The young boy narrating When Mr. Jefferson Came to Philadelphia: What I Learned of Freedom, 1776 by Ann Turner (Harper Collins, 2003) is the child of a Pennsylvania lodging house owner that welcomes Thomas Jefferson during an important summer in American history. Ned’s first person story introduces Jefferson, as well as the core message of the summer of 1776: freedom. The illustrations are realistic, the text is large print, and the story contains fictionalized dialogue to make it highly readable as a story.

In the beginning, Ned worries that the comments Mr. Jefferson is making against the king are treason. As the summer progresses, Ned learns from Jefferson just what he means by freedom and why it is time for the colonies to break away from the king. In the end, Ned hears the words of the Declaration of Independence and celebrates with the others as they begin a new life under a different kind of freedom. A historical note follows the story, but it is written more for the parent rather than the child reader. The main text of the picture book would work well for a child reader on his or her own.

Reviewed on June 29, 2024

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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