JEFFERSON'S SONS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Kirkus Star

JEFFERSON'S SONS

Age Range: 9 - 14
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

It was a secret everybody knew at Monticello: Thomas Jefferson was the father of Beverly, Harriet, Madison and Eston Hemings, and their mother was Sally Hemings, a slave owned by Jefferson.

Most people now have a vague idea of this story and the issues it raises about Jefferson, the author of the words that founded a nation: “All men are created equal.” Bradley offers the first fully realized novel for young readers and tells it from the points of view of Beverly, Madison and another enslaved boy on the plantation. The characters spring to life, and readers will be right there with Beverly when his mother scolds him for referring to Master Jefferson as “Papa.” Readers may wonder why, when three-quarters through the novel, the point of view shifts from Beverly and Madison to Peter Fossett, a slave but not one of Jefferson’s sons. But this additional perspective becomes crucial to the wrenching conclusion of this fascinating story of an American family that represents so many of the contradictions of our history. The afterword is as fascinating as the novel, telling what later happened to each of the characters, and a small but excellent bibliography will lead readers to books and websites for further study.

A big, serious work of historical investigation and imagination; the tale has never before been told this well. (Historical fiction. 9-14) 

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3499-9
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2011
Note: Bradley is a freelance contributor to Kirkus.




2011 BEST BOOKS FOR CHILDREN: FICTION:

ChildrenDRAGON CASTLE by Joseph Bruchac
by Joseph Bruchac
ChildrenTHE UNFORGOTTEN COAT by Frank Cottrell Boyce
by Frank Cottrell Boyce
ChildrenSMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS by Ellen Booraem
by Ellen Booraem
ChildrenJEFFERSON'S SONS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

MORE BY KIMBERLY BRUBAKER BRADLEY

ChildrenTHE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
ChildrenLEAP OF FAITH by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHOMAS JEFFERSON by Jon Meacham
by Jon Meacham
ChildrenTHOMAS JEFFERSON by Maira Kalman
by Maira Kalman
NonfictionMASTER OF THE MOUNTAIN by Henry Wiencek
by Henry Wiencek