Johnny Tremain

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998 - Juvenile Fiction - 293 pages
51 Reviews

Johnny Tremain, winner of the 1944 Newbery Medal, is one of the finest historical novels ever written for children. As compelling today as it was seventy years ago, to read this riveting novel is to live through the defining events leading up to the American Revolutionary War. Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper, The Boston Observer, and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events shaping the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington. Powerful illustrations by American artist Michael McCurdy bring to life Esther Forbes's quintessential novel of the American Revolution.


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User Review  - happyathome -

I really enjoyed reading this book with my son. It gives a good description of the times and what people may have been going thru. My son really enjoyed reading this book because it was from a boys point of view. Read full review

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User Review  - Darlene - Goodreads

I read this book aloud to my children. It won the 1944 Newbery Medal. This is an historical fiction novel that takes place in Massachusetts in late 1700s before the American Revolution. Although the ... Read full review

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Up and About
The Pride of Your Power
An Earth of Brass
The Rising Eye
The Boston Observer
SaltWater Tea
The Fiddlers Bill
A World to Come
The Scarlet Deluge
Disperse Ye Rebels
Yankee Doodle
A Man Can Stand Up

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About the author (1998)

Forbes was the author of six historical novels and four books of nonfiction for adults, as well as the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1942 for her adult biography, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In Paul Revere and the World He Lived In (1942). Yet Forbes's reputation is primarily as a children's writer, resting particularly on Johnny Tremain (1942), an offshoot of her research for the adult Paul Revere biography and considered by many the best example of historical fiction ever written for children. Johnny Tremain follows the story of a silversmith's apprentice as he stumbles into the American Revolution and gains insight into his own character. In writing about the life of an ordinary citizen of Boston at that time, Forbes wanted to show, in her words, "not merely what was done but why and how people felt." Originally intending to keep Johnny neutral during the Revolution, she changed her mind as a result of the advent of World War II, because she saw parallels between the two wars and wanted to show young readers those parallels. Although this may have resulted in some pushing of contemporary ideology onto a historical setting, most critics have praised the story's accuracy. It was and remains an important book for promoting the idea that young readers can grasp mature writing. Forbes's only other book for children, America's Paul Revere, summarizes that man's life.

Michael McCurdy was born in New York City on February 17, 1942. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston between 1960 and 1966. He received a B.F.A. in 1964 and a M.F.A. in 1971 from Tufts University. He taught drawing and printmaking at Concord Academy and Wellesley College. He also founded Penmaen Press. His wood engravings and scratchboard drawings have been published in more than 200 books for children and adults. His first illustrated children's book, Please Explain by Isaac Asimov, was published in 1973. His other illustration credits include The Owl-Scatterer by Howard Norman, The Seasons Sewn: A Year in Patchwork by Ann Whitford Paul, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott, American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne, and The Sailor's Alphabet. He died on May 28, 2016 at the age of 74.

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