Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson!

Ahhh, the founding fathers.  You know, despite the fact that Jefferson indeed was once a President of the United States, I don't think that he is typically included in President's Day.  We tend to think about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on that day.  But Jefferson was also incredibly influential in our nation's building so Happy Birthday!

I love American history.  Despite a relatively short history in terms of nations across the country, we have certainly managed to pack in some extraordinary things.  And the beginning of our nation is one of those.  I truly believe that students should study it more.  If you like American history and that beginning time period, there are two excellent books to look into:

The first is Bowen's Miracle at Philadelphia.  An adult book obviously, it is an easy read (for political nonfiction anyway) and incredibly informative.  This book was assigned reading in my Advanced Placement U.S. History class when I was in high school (with Mrs. Snyder -- I wonder if she's still around, love that woman!) and it was a fascinating, yet fairly concise look at the Constitutional Convention.

But if you're looking for something a little less serious . . . 
Lane Smith's book is fantastic!  She has a clever way of looking at John (Hancock), Paul (Revere), George (Washington) and Ben (Franklin) (and oh yeah, Tom Jefferson too) and portraying them as children.  But there is a great fact sheet at the end about the myths of the founding fathers and which are true and which are false.  

And it's fun because we never think of these men as children.

And her humor is wonderful.  Something about really big underpants . . . 

So celebrate Jefferson a little.  He deserves AT LEAST a passing thought!