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THOMAS JEFFERSON by Cheryl Harness


by Cheryl Harness & illustrated by Cheryl Harness

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7922-6496-7
Publisher: National Geographic

Thomas Jefferson was a “man of contradictions,” an eloquent champion of freedom and equality, yet a slaveholder who fathered several children with Sally Hemings, a slave and half-sister to Martha Jefferson. As with several good recent biographies, this volume presents Jefferson as a man of his times who helped to “light the torch” for freedom and self-government yet was entrenched in the racism of the age. This handsome text effectively portrays Jefferson the man, but slights the political context that shaped his career. The illustrations—watercolor, gouache, ink, and colored pencil—show Harness at her best, portraying not an icon, but a man immersed in the hubbub of family and political life. Diagrams of Monticello and maps of colonial America, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and President Jefferson’s world enrich the text. Only the bibliography is a disappointment, including none of the other solid biographies of Jefferson for young readers. A good match with Fradin’s Who Was Thomas Jefferson? (2003) (author’s note) (Nonfiction. 8-12)