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Johnny Tremain

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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  24,021 ratings  ·  1,400 reviews
Johnny Tremain, a young apprentice silversmith, is caught up in the danger and excitement of 1775 Boston, just before the Revolutionary War. But even more gripping than living through the drama of Revolutionary Boston is the important discovery Johnny makes in his own life.
Paperback, 322 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by Yearling (first published 1943)
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The Most Deserving Newbery
22nd out of 93 books — 2,127 voters
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Best Historical Fiction
117th out of 4,237 books — 17,701 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Adam
Sep 14, 2008 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every living human
Probably the greatest book ever written, by both man and child, woman and other writing entity, Johnny Tremain tells the story of a young genius who becomes a silversmith and burns the crappin' hell out of his hand. He's always embarrassed by his sort of melty hand and keeps it in his pockets or in his mother's pies and pie type dishes. One day he meets a girl named Cilla, Priscilla for long, who loves him despite for his sick melt-hand. Paul Bunyan or John Tubbers or whichever is the name of th...more
Jamie
"wah, I was born rich but I grew up poor. wah, I burned my hand."
Andrew
I know this is perceived as being a "kid's book", but I think that it is a story any adult would enjoy. Johnny Tremain takes place in pre-revolutionary Boston and is about a prideful (but slowly improving) boy who finds himself in the center of the independence fervor. Although I obviously cannot be sure of how accurate the descriptions are, I appreciated the book for doing such a great job at taking me back to the colonial era of American history. As Johnny Tremain struggled with adversity, his...more
Beesan Sarsour
Definetly not the greatest book ever written. Pretty terrible actually!! Didn't like it at all. Expected it to be better and i'm very dissapointed. It was very hard to understand what was going on im each chapter and I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Nancy
If I were a children's book writer, this is exactly the kind of book I'd love to write. It has mystery, suspense, romance, history, coming-of-age, overcoming personal and physical problems; gosh, it has it all.

I've always wanted to read this book, just never got around to it till now. If your child is studying Revolutionary War times in history, this would be a great literary supplement to that history lesson. It brings the history of that time to life.

Including, but not limited to: One if by la...more
jacky
Jun 17, 2007 jacky rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to jacky by: some educated adult
I hated this book when I read it in middle school (?). I had to choose a historical fiction book and I believe the librarian recommended this one. I found it terribly boring when I read it. Looking back now, I probably wasn't very open minded about reading something I wasn't really interested in, like most kids.
Julie
I remember loving this book years (or decades?) ago in elementary school and given that it is set in Boston on the eve of the Revolutionary War, it was a perfect choice for a family road trip from Boston to Cape Cod. The title character, Johnny Tremain, is an apprentice to a mediocre silver smith. Due to an accident while pouring silver on the Sabbath, Johnny's hand is maimed and he is forced to take a more menial job delivering the town newspaper. Through the newspaper Johnny gets swept up with...more
Nicole
I hated this book!!!! if u read this book you will become boring and old!
this book pulls you into a wrinkled old time of so-called "action"!!! i could have
found more action by going to a retirement home and watching the 900 year old people play bingo!!!!!! i of course was forced against my will to read this,
otherwise, i wouldnt go spitting distance of it!!!! if you enjoyed this book
(mr.flegar) then you are boring old!! do not read this thing! it's a plague!
save yourselves!!!!!!!!
Lizzie
Maybe I bought a copy of this at the U.S.S. Constitution gift shop in Boston this weekend. MAYBE I DID. AND MAYBE I DON'T CARE IF YOU KNOW IT!
Greg
If I'm not mistaken this is yet another book ruined by the same awful teacher who ruined a bunch of other books. Oh well.
Jayna Homer
Sep 11, 2008 Jayna Homer added it
Shelves: grades-3-6
As an apprentice to a silversmith, Johnny sees great success and is a good worker. But he suffers from an accident which results in serious burns, leaving his thumb attached to his hand – promptly ending his career as a silversmith apprentice. After searching for new work to do, Johnny comes across a printing shop where Rab works for his Aunt and Uncle. So Johnny becomes a rider for the “Boston Observer.” Also, he takes part in the Boston Tea Party, and uses his skills to spy against the British...more
Elaine Cooper
When I was very small, I watched the Disney movie version of Johnny Tremain and the single memory that stands out in my mind is the tune from the song, “The Sons of Liberty.” Now that I am an adult and study the American Revolution for my own historical fiction books, I decided it was time to read the original book called Johnny Tremain written in 1943 by Esther Forbes. I’m so glad that I did.
Although it is considered a novel for young adults, this older adult reader was highly caught up in the...more
Vlad
Johnny Tremain is the story of a talented young silversmith apprentice whose hand is badly burned by a jealous rival. With his bright future snatched from his grasp, he becomes a messenger embroiled in the American colonists' struggle for independence from the British. Johnny meets many legendary historical figures, like John Hancock, Sam Adams, and Paul Revere (himself a silversmith) and participates in many seminal events, like the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere's midnight ride.

It's a fasci...more
Cheryl in CC NV
I was amazed by how much I liked this. I don't normally like historical fiction and had never read this as a child, but I wish I had. All the details of life in the colonies as the Tories and the Whigs became more extremist come alive. I feel I know a lot more about how disagreements can lead to war in general, and a lot more about Boston in the early 1770s especially.

Johnny's story isn't just young boy makes good, but a true coming-of-age, despite exterior challenges and inner demons. The other...more
Waffle...♥
Wow it's so touching! I really LOVED how it ended completely! But I wish the author continued more with Cilla... haha gotta love romance. Overall it was great! I loved the details and it was like I was back in that time... being one with Johnny Tremain! HaHa sorry just trying to describe what I feel... sorta like, when I'm reading this book! :O Well I don't think much of my friend's would enjoy reading this book but I certainly have. Maybe... *cough* insane Helen did but she's insane so xP
Iman
this book is bad because i dont like historic books cause i think history is boring
Cameron
HATED THIS BOOK
Beth
Funny what you remember in a book. I read this as a child, and all I recalled was one of the last scenes of the book...a very touching, startling scene. I didn't realize how much I had blocked out--except for this one event--until I was actually reading it again at the end. Not remembering actually allowed me much enjoyment of rediscovering the characters and the new tenor of humanness I could now more fully understand as an adult.

It's a great read, and very enjoyable to the one who likes histor...more
Kellyn
As she recounts the life experiences of twelve-year-old Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes skillfully conveys the excitement, danger and commitment experienced by the patriots who fought during the US Revolution. Many of the characters in this account are accurately portrayed and described—including several of those who helped write the Declaration of Independence. Reading this book cannot fail to make this time period truly understandable and alive.

Unfortunately the length and language discourage t...more
Benji Martin
First, let me say that I dreaded this Newbery winner like no other before. I had heard that is was racist, I had heard that is is boring. A fantastic novel that came out this year Absolutely Almost, features a character who was being forced to read Johnny Tremain, but couldn’t get through it because it was too painful. To help him, his babysitter pasted a Johnny T cover on a Captain Underpants novel, and he pretended that he was reading Johnny T the whole time. That scene stuck with me, and I ma...more
Mhealy
Johnny Tremain is about a boy maturing into a man during the early days of the American Revolution. He is on the side of the rebels, but has made very good friends with the English officers stationed in Boston. First he starts off working as an apprentice for a silversmith but he cripples his hand in a terrible accident. After the accident Johnny struggles trying to find work until he finds out that a newspaper needs a delivery boy. In exchange for Johnny’s services the Observer Newspaper Compan...more
Cesar Marte
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Antof9
I hardly know where to start this review. Through the entire second half of the book, I had three thoughts in my head:
1. The Paul Revere poem
2. a song I learned (probably in elementary school) that Google failed to find for me. Some of the lyrics are for the Yankees fought from behind the shrubs, and the trees and the whitewashed fences. But the talk of war in the English pubs didn't tell of such defenses. I can even sing that part, but can't remember any more of the song.
3. Every American Histo...more
bookczuk
This was sooooo much fun to re-read. It was assigned reading in Mr Shaunessey's 7th grade Language Arts class at East Ladue Junior High back in the 60's. I didn't remember much of it to be honest, just that it was about a boy in Boston, during the Revolutionary War.

In the interim, I majored in history in college, read a whole lot more both fact and fiction on the Revolutionary War, lived in Charleston (where both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars has a huge impact) and married a man who was once...more
Gloriavirtutisumbra
I think it helps to know when this was written, 1943, to understand it. Keep in mind it was for a young adult audience back then. It's not always nice. May be very hard for a modern young adult reader to warm up to, after likable Harry Potter. The characters were well formed, resembling living breathing people, not always noble, many times petty and cruel. The retelling of the beginning of the revolutionary war was cleverly mixed in. But the part I find most impressive is how, through Johnny, yo...more
Amanda
Mar 05, 2008 Amanda rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE/history lovers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Izzi
In Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, the intelligent, passionate, persistent Johnny Tremain has to forget everything he's ever learned and loved from a terrible accident, endure living through the times right before the American Revolution, find a new life that will accept him with his newly crippled status, and deal with all the girls he's known and loved growing up and moving on. Johnny is an extraordinary silversmith living with and working for the Laphams. The Laphams have four daughters of...more
Alexander
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tayler
Johnny Tremain is one of my favorite books. At first, when my teacher assigned it, I was thinking,” Aw man, not another boring, historical novel,” but when I started to read it, I couldn’t put it down!!
The book, Johnny Tremain, is about a young man named Johnny Tremain living in the 18th century trying to learn how to become a silversmith, and also trying to find out exactly who he is. In the begging of the story, Johnny is a very big headed teenager who thinks he rules the world. After burnin...more
Kris Sauer
I read this in preparation for a unit on the American Revolution. Esther Forbes's book may have been written in 1943, but believe it or not, it is still really good today. Generally I've found that Newberry winners from years past tend to have a stilted, dry flavor to them. Children's literature has defnitely become far more readable in the past years. While this book may not pull young readers in the way Harry Potter or Rick Riordan's tomes might, there is still plenty of adventure and daring t...more
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Esther Forbes was born in Westboro, Massachusetts in 1891, as the youngest of five children. Her family roots can be traced back to 1600s America; one of her great-uncles was the great historical figure and leader of the Sons of Liberty, Sam Adams. Her father was a probate judge in Worcester and her mother, a writer of New England reference books. Both her parents were historical enthusiasts.

Even...more
More about Esther Forbes...
Paul Revere and the World He Lived In A Mirror For Witches America's Paul Revere Literature Connections: Johnny Tremain and Related Readings The Running of the Tide

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“We give all we have, lives, property, safety, skill...we fight, we die, for a simple thing. Only that a man can stand up.” 23 likes
“How old are you Johnny" she asked.
Sixteen."
And what's that-a boy or a man?"
He laughed. "A boy in time of peace and a man in time of war.”
13 likes
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