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Noah Webster and His Words

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  580 Ratings  ·  127 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
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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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
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
Edward Sullivan
Clever, playful introduction to the man and his accomplishments.
Feb 12, 2015 Jeimy rated it liked it
I liked this book, but after "The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus", this book pales in comparison.
Alex Baugh
Nov 28, 2014 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
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
Amy Forrester
Nov 19, 2012 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
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
Jennifer Steinbach
Feb 07, 2015 Jennifer Steinbach rated it it was amazing

This is a fun, insightful biography about the life of Noah Webster, the man who wrote the first 100 percent American dictionary. As a child, he was expected to grow up and be a farmer because all the men in his family were farmers, but Noah wanted to be a scholar. He graduated from college and became a teacher, which is when he really started thinking about the importance of reading materials and language. He wanted to unite America through the creation of an American dictionary. This p
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
Bethany Daley
Feb 05, 2016 Bethany Daley rated it really liked it
Shelves: wow-books
Despite not being a big biography book fan, I really enjoyed reading this book. The pictures are interesting and I love that there are definitions of words included throughout this story that narrates Noah Webster’s life. This is an enjoyable and insightful read that I would encourage my own students to read.

I would use this book in my classroom if my students were working on learning about people from the past or were reading autobiographies and biographies of famous people. This book might al
Oct 04, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
CHARM-ING (adjective: delightful or fascinating) historical themed biography of Noah Webster and how he united America through a common language by creating the “second most popular book ever printed in English”, the Webster’s Dictionary. Amusing ink and watercolor illustrations take the reader back in time. Dictionary-style word definitions are cleverly woven throughout the text. Literacy and social studies classroom applications abound, supplemented by a timeline at the back of the book as wel ...more
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
Nov 04, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it
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
May 31, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
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.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Dec 08, 2012 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it it was amazing
Shelves: word-play
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.
Apr 01, 2013 Samantha rated it really liked it
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.
Sarah Rusk
Mar 14, 2017 Sarah Rusk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bio
I found "Noah Webster and His Words" by Jeri Chase Ferris through the Golden Kite Award website as it won the Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction in 2012. This book tells the story of Noah Webster, the author of America's first dictionary. It begins with Noah's young life, when he realizes he does not want to follow in the family business of being a farmer but wants to be a scholar instead. The author includes the dictionary definition of important words throughout the book, providing context clues ...more
Richie Partington
Nov 05, 2012 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
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
Michelle Schnell
Mar 23, 2014 Michelle Schnell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jalynn Patterson
Jun 25, 2015 Jalynn Patterson rated it it was amazing
About the Book:
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 dictionary was published in 1828 when he was seventy years old. This clever, hilariously illustrated account shines a
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
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
Katheryn Campbell
Ferris, J. C., & Kirsch, V. X. (2012). Noah Webster and his words. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books.

Citation by: Katheryn Campbell

Reference: Biography

Call Number: could not be found

Content Scope: This is a kid-friendly biography of Noah Webster, the creator of the second most popular book printed in English, Webster's American Dictionary. It provides a hilarious, illustrated chronology of Webster's life and how he would not rest until he fulfilled his dream.

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
Dec 09, 2013 Jocelyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: t-l-544
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
Sep 20, 2013 Dolly rated it really liked it
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
Nov 19, 2012 Arielle rated it really liked it
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
One might think that the American dictionary and it's creator, Noah Webster, would be a boring topic for an elementary student to explore but this picture book biography proves otherwise. Noah was anything but boring. In fact he was an active revolutionary who passionately supported America's efforts during the Revolutionary War. This book would be great for a young history buff or budding wordsmith, although the entertaining illustrations and accessibly written story definitely open it to a wid ...more
Audra Rowell
Jan 03, 2013 Audra Rowell rated it it was amazing
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
Heather Dunbar
Oct 08, 2013 Heather Dunbar rated it it was amazing
There were a lot of things that I liked about this book. First, the artist depicted Noah Webster with a big head, showing how smart he was. The biggest thing I liked about this book is the way everything was set up, so that you could use it within a lesson plan about so many things. Whenever the author used a big word, it would be sounded out and have the definition like a dictionary. So this emphasizes the importance of Noah Webster, as well as introducing new words, and would be a good introdu ...more
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