Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jefferson's Children: The Story of One American Family” as Want to Read:
Jefferson's Children: The Story of One American Family
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Jefferson's Children: The Story of One American Family

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  49 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Shannon Lanier is the sixth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson and African-American slave, Sally Hemings. In 1998, Lanier embarked on a journey to uncover the history behind his heritage. Told from the multiple perspectives of Jefferson’s descendants, Jefferson’s Children is the story of Lanier’s travels across the country to meet his relatives from both sides of the famil ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published December 24th 2002 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 2000)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Jefferson's Children, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jefferson's Children

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 106)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is a very interesting book about Thomas Jefferson's legitimate and illegitimate families. It explores the controversy of the Sally Hemmings relationship through interviews with family members. Shannon Lanier is a descendant from the Sally Hemmings side of the family and wants to get to know all of his new cousins after the revelations about the relationship were announced and the family attended the reunion at Monticello. I found it fascinating to hear all the stories of this blended family ...more
Sunny Shore
This book was a highly rated book for any age group about the descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, who was a slave in his house for many years. We don't know if they were in love, but Jefferson supposedly fathered many of Hemings' children. The book is written by a direct descendeant of this relationship and interviews all the people who were direct descendants of both Jefferson's marriage and his relationship with Hemings' after his wife's untimely death. All of the family have me ...more
Dec 26, 2007 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in American and/or Afro-American history
The author, a college student, wants to meet other descendants of Thomas Jefferson, black and white. So he travels around America making a pictoral essay of the Jefferson clan, which turns out to be a mirror of a blended America. Some folks embrace the Sally Hemmings descendants; others reject and/or deny them. The annual Jefferson family pinic on the grounds of Monticello doesn't want to admit the Hemmings descendants at first, but the author and his family are eventually accepted. In a larger ...more
I decided to read this book on the heels of visiting the Jefferson: Paradox exhibit at the National Museum of American History. If you have never followed this story line of Sally Hemmings children with Jefferson, or even Hemmings parentage (Elizabeth Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson's father-in-law), I highly recommend you read this book and other modern writings about one of our nation's founding fathers. All men are not apparently created equal, and it is only through forensic evidence that Jeff ...more
The Hemings Jefferson story is interesting to me, like many blacks, I have wondered about my ancestors. As a light skin black person, I know there has to be white ancestors; but my very light skinned grandmother denies any white relatives. Now she is dead. We will never know. So I found this book interesting in that there are white people with my unique last name as well as black; and I have always thought some were the owners and some were slaves, thus the same last name.
The book showed dffere
Shannon Lanier is a descendant of Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson. In 1999 the Hemmings were invited to the Monticello Family reunion because of the DNA findings that proved their familial relationship. But not everyone was welcomed with open arms. Shannon, interviewed different family members about their oral traditions and definitions of family.

Why I started this book: Someone checked this book in at the library and it grabbed my attention.

Why I finished it: I have always been interested i
Jul 09, 2014 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Robyn
Classified in the library as "teen nonfiction," this is a valuable book for readers of all ages. Stories from members of the Jefferson and Hemings family, the discussion is so civil and adult, no blame or anger or hatefulness on either side. There are those who refuse to accept the evidence, or interpret it in different ways, but even those interviews are respectful of difference of opinion. I think if we could all approach race discussions (or discussions on any charged issue) this way, our cou ...more
Mrs. Rosie
Very interesting! A little confusing following family after family to come down to the truth. I believe the story of Thomas Jefferson having a "second" family with his slave (who was half-sister to his wife). I'm sure he loved her for who she was. Sad that they families had to "hide the family secret" for so many years!
My mother gave me a signed copy of this book as a gift. The story of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings has fascinated me for a very long time. Add that to my interest in genetics, heritage, and tracing your family roots, and this book was pretty much a perfect gift for me. Lovely color pictures and great stories.
Lisa James
VERY good read. I loved not only the WAY this family's story was presented from the modern day tracing the roots back, but I adored reading the stories the people this young man interviewed told from their own perspectives, & the best part was the PICTURES!!!!
Genealogy is a passion of mine so I found this book interesting. It is a quick read. Short sketches on Jefferson descendants and their view on the Jefferson/Hemings relationship.
Current Woodson/Hemings/Randolph-Jefferson thoughts on the their mutual relationship. This book was published after their first meeting at Monticello.
Angelene Hanna
Such a fascinating story - chronicles the descendants of Thomas Jefferson, from both Sally Hemings and Martha Jefferson.
I am currently re-reading this book and it is making me wonder if it is not time for Oprah to revisit this family.
The description on this book is great as an overview.
(spotlighted on CBS News Sunday Morning)
This is fascinating!!
Sandy added it
Dec 06, 2014
Kjersten marked it as to-read
Oct 28, 2014
Holly marked it as to-read
Oct 22, 2014
Becky added it
May 27, 2014
Maura Badji
Maura Badji marked it as to-read
Mar 26, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
accompanying reading 1 2 Jul 12, 2008 09:49PM  

Share This Book