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Noah Webster and His Words
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Noah Webster and His Words

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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  326 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction

Webster’s American Dictionary is the second most popular book ever printed in English. But who was that Webster? Noah Webster (1758–1843) was a bookish Connecticut farm boy who became obsessed with uniting America through language. He spent twenty years writing two thousand pages to accomplish that, and the first 100 percent American diction
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Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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(showing 1-30 of 582)
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Melissa
Outstanding. The writing is clear, conversational, funny, and the text is very well organized & flows wonderfully through the facts of Webster's life. Ferris uses the convention of adding definitions in-line throughout the book, which is an inspired touch, but what I especially appreciate is how she carefully puts Webster's life and work in the greater context of the birth of the nation: Webster's dream was not just to correct everyone's spelling. He believed that having a consistent, unifie ...more
Marcia
Delightful! The story of America's most famous lexicographer, and how he worked to unite the newly independent states through an American language. Dad wanted him to be a farmer, but Yale was where a 15 year old Noah wanted to be. Interesting facts about his life (he lived for a time in Amherst and helped found Amherst College!) and his work to create the ubiquitous dictionary that bears his name. Nice addition to a study of the Revolutionary era, or for a discussion of words, definitions and sp ...more
Alex Baugh
So many times, I am sitting here writing a post and find myself needing to double check the definition of a word I am about to use. So I go to my trusty dictionary and look it up. What would I ever do with my Webster's Dictionary? But who is this Webster guy?

Born in Connecticut in 1758, by the time Noah Webster was a boy of 12, his father wanted him to become a farmer and follow in his footsteps. But Noah didn't want to farm, he wanted to go the school and study. Luckily for the world, his fathe
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Barbara
Word-lovers owe quite a lot to Noah Webster, the topic of this brief picture book biography about the father of the American dictionary. Disinterested in farming, Noah persuaded his father to send him to Yale so that he could become a scholar. Once he finished there, he began teaching and wrote a spelling book, a grammar book, and a reading book. His big project, though, the one that made his name so well known was his ambitious 20-year labor to write the first American dictionary complete with ...more
Amy Musser
You’ve probably consulted his most famous book, The American Dictionary of the English Language, but have you ever stopped to think about why Noah Webster wrote his dictionary? This lively and well-researched picture book biography follows Webster’s journey to unite the country with words. Before Webster came along Americans spelled the same word in many different ways. Although it took him over twenty years of writing, researching, and editing, Webster’s efforts were not in vain. His dictionary ...more
Lindsey
A nice introduction into the life of Noah Webster. Of course many students don't appreciate his contribution to America :). Webster's first book was the blue covered Speller, which taught students how to spell correctly in the US (not British spelling). This book was the first American Textbook.

Of course Mr. Webster is mostly known for Webster's American Dictionary, which took him over seven years to write.

A cute book full of definitions with just the right amount of information about this man
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Emma
This patriotic picture book biography tells the story of Noah Webster, a man who believed that education was of the utmost importance for the youth of his new nation. The narrative details how he came to write one the second most popular books ever printed in English—Webster’s Dictionary. Defined words in a dictionary format are sprinkled throughout the narrative—great for introducing reference conventions. Additionally, themes of patriotism, freedom, and the importance of education, help make t ...more
Laura
A very kid-friendly biography about Noah Webster, the author of the first American speller and dictionary. The language is simple enough for students in lower elementary school while still being packed with facts for report writing. If David Adler's picture book biographies are an important part of your nonfiction collection, this is a necessary addition. The illustrations were charming and quirky enough to be interesting. Recommended for students in grades 2 - 4.
Michelle Schnell
Twin Text: 13 Words by Lemony Snicket, @ 2010

Rationale: I selected Lemony Snicket’s book 13 Words to accompany the nonfiction account of how Noah Webster wrote the first American dictionary because it is fun! In the Webster book the author, Ferris, uses and defines words such as “confidence” and “scholar” and “convinced” and “expensive” and “soared” as he tells Webster’s story. He explains how Webster contributed to the making of America by writing the first American school books and encouraging
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Samantha
A picture book biography about the author of the dictionary. From birth to death, readers are introduced to a man who was passionate about the acquisition of knowledge and being an American.

Scholarly words are defined in text (think Fancy Nancy, but laid out like in a dictionary). Illustrations have an old-timey feel to them. A timeline and list of sources used is also included.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
This book barely made it in under the wire, but I'm happy it did arrive in time for me to read it for the Cybils. The charm of this book is the novel way Ferris tells Webster's story, using big words that are written like dictionary entries. Absolutely cap·ti·vating [kap-tuh-veyt] 1. to attract and hold the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence; enchant.
Leslie Lindsay
Who can't love a book about words?! Not I. But then again, without Noah Webster to catalogue and decipher them, we may not have *this* book, either.

Delightful for just about anyone, from teachers and parents and kids, to those young at heart, NOAH WEBSTER AND HIS WORDS is a true gem, highlighting not just history but also a love for the written word. What I found that really stands out with this book is the way the author has pulled several words away from the text to highlight their definition
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Becky B
A picture book biography of Noah Webster that highlights his contributions to America in the books he published (and also mentions other major events in his life). Fitting to the man being told about, certain words are defined in the text. A timeline, more info on the author, and a decent bibliography listing primary and secondary sources on Webster are included at the back of the book.

This is a great succinct biography of Noah Webster that focuses on the facts but presents the information in te
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Edward Sullivan
Clever, playful introduction to the man and his accomplishments.
Mrs. Tongate
A must read-aloud for all ages, even secondary, when working on definitions. Noah Webster, at 15 years old, entered and graduated from Yale. Noah Webster, the father of the dictionary, was 70 years old when the American Dictionary of the English Language was published. He worked for over 20 years on this work of art. Remember he did this all by hand too! Noah Webster's dictionary is the second most popular book ever printed in English, after the Bible. It is in every library, most homes, schools ...more
Danielle
Noah Webster and His Words is a biography about Noah Webster, the first person to invent the American Dictionary. This story follows Webster's life and decisions leading up to the creation of the first American Dictionary. Part of his life story took place during the Revolutionary war. This book can be paired with books about the Revolutionary War to show students what that there were other things happening during this time other than just the war. It can also be paired with grammar and spelling ...more
Meghan
In this picture book version of Noah Webster's biography, the art was really fun! It kept my attention and it still felt like a kid's picture book. Also, I really liked learning about Webster since he has always seemed like this shadowy, mysterious personage behind the dictionary. Knowing more about him set me more at ease, if you will. Also, definitions of harder words were included into the story and I felt like that was a great learning tool, especially for kids who may not know what those wo ...more
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: NOAH WEBSTER & HIS WORDS by Jeri Chase Ferris and Vincent X. Kirsch, ill., Houghton Mifflin, October 2012, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-547-39055-0

I’d like to have a word with you about Noah Webster.

“There are so many different words they do all kinds of things
Some can make us laugh and smile while others hurt and sting
We get to choose the words we use each and every day
So when it's time to use a word be careful what you say”
-- Red and Kathy Grammer, “Use a Word”

“Why ban a word when you
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Jess
From reading this, I'd like to say I see Noah Webster as a kindred spirit.

He loved words, loves people, loved dancing, loved reading and writing. He loved his country and show this love by writing an American grammar/speller after the Revolutionary War. Then he spend twenty years creating a dictionary because America deserved one of its own. That's how he brought people together: with words.

Will work as a NF readaloud [3nd on up], a lesson on biographies, or an introduction or lesson on dictiona
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Liz
In 1758, Noah did not want to be a farmer. He wanted to be a SCHOL-AR [noun; one who goes to school;a person who knows a lot]. Borrowing money from his father, Noah went to college, graduated, and became a teacher. While teaching, Noah realized that American students did not have textbooks or spelling books of their own, everything was still taught and spelled the way it was in England. Noah knew that in order for the new, independent, America to succeed, everyone needed to U-NITE [verb: make on ...more
Ying Lee
Genre: Biography
Copyright: 2012

Born at a time when America belonged to the England and growing up during the Revolutionary War, Noah Webster didn't want to be a farmer as his father; instead, he wanted to go to school. After graduating from college, Noah became a schoolteacher, which inspired him to write schoolbooks for his students -- American (not England) schoolbooks. The independence of America gave Noah ideas to create a spelling book with a conception that uniting the way Americans spell
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Karrie K
Name: Karrie Kennett

Title and Citation:
Ferris, J. C., & Kirsch, V. X. (2012). Noah Webster and his words. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books.

Type of Reference: Biographical Reference

Brief Description: This book is a child-friendly biographical account of Noah Webster. Illustrated with cartoon like characters, it tells the biographical story of young Noah as he grows to publish his dictionary.

Citation of a Review:
Chipman, I. (2012). Noah Webster and his words. [Review of the boo
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Arielle
Grade/interest level: 3rd-5th
Reading level: n/a
Genre: Biography
Main Character(s): Noah Webster
Setting: N/a
Author: Jeri Chase Ferris, Vincent X. Kirsch
Theme: learning, hard work

Every wonder who made Webster’s dictionary? Well look no further. Noah Webster is the man that dedicated his life to writing down words and their definitions and creating Americas first dictionary. It took Webster 20 years to actually complete this dictionary. To this day Webster’s dictionary is respected and relied on
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Dolly
Oct 09, 2013 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an entertaining biography about Noah Webster. The narrative is a perfect length for children and the illustrations are hilarious (our girls exclaimed that he must've been very smart, since he has such a big head.)

The expanded information at the end of the book was very interesting and we liked the timeline. We all learned quite a bit about the man and his work - I had no idea that he published so many school textbooks, nor did I know that he helped to found Amherst College (just down th
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Audrey
I thought this book was so clever. I enjoyed it a lot. It was just so funny to me to see words defined throughout the entire book while telling the story of Noah Webster. I also liked the artwork and thought it was unique. I think this would be a fun book for kids to read to understand just how the dictionary came to be.
Catherine
This book was positively adorable. Too often history books are just full of facts so children think history is boring. This was full of fun facts as well as word definitions written right into the text as well as cartoon drawings. I wish there were more history/biography books for kids out there like this one.
Jocelyn
Genre: biography
Copyright: 2012


It is a very interesting biography book, and I love it so much. The story structure, contexts and illustrations are closely tied to one theme “dictionary”. For example, this story is telling Noah’s life and his dictionary work, and some key words within contexts are capitalized and clearly explained which is really representing what dictionary’s function is. Also, the bottom cover of this book shows BI-OG_RA_PHY [noun; a written history of a person’s life] which is
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Michelle
Biography.
Themes- dictionaries, words, American history
Classroom use- Have students make up their own words, and define them. Compile these into a class dictionary. Students can also choose another person from history (not a president or "celebrity") for a biography project.
Audra Rowell
At some point in your life, someone has either told you to "Go look it up," or you've told a child to do that very thing. But have you ever thought about the origins of Webster's Dictionary? This picture book give a stupendous account of the life of Noah Webster and the reason he wanted to create an American Dictionary. I love that the author included the context of the American Revolution and the subsequent new United States. An interesting discussion point would be the consideration of Webster ...more
Stacy Kirkman
This book provides an excellent explanation about the history of America's language. Throughout the book are vocabulary words that are presented they way they would be in a dictionary with definitions to help the reader along.
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