Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life

 
Fleming, Candace. Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life. 2003. 120pp. Lexile 1000.

Fleming uses a scrapbook approach to convey Ben Franklin’s multiple interests and talents in this original approach to a key historical figure.  Rather than the usual chronological organization, she groups the information by topics such as family, boyhood, science, the Revolution, and his time in France.  Within each broad topic are a page or two about narrower topics. Heavily illustrated, with a design that makes it resemble an old-fashioned book, the book starts with a timeline and includes anecdotes, documents, quotes from his writing and writings about him, and extensive visual elements.  Great for browsing and to get an overview of this complex man.  A bibliography, lists of further reading and websites, and an index round it out.

Web tie-in:  At the author's website, candacefleming.com, view the 4-minute Classroom Cast video of her from Random House in which she talks about how she approaches writing biographies.  She discusses not just her research but also the questions she finds herself asking about the person and how that person has been portrayed, sometimes inaccurately, in history.  Have students consider historical figures they might like to know more about and what questions they'd have.