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Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America
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Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  74 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
This biography of the infamous pirate Jean Laffite is a real-life, action-packed adventure. Since he was a young boy, Jean longed to be a pirate, and with the help of his brothers and uncle, he became one when he was just a teenager. Soon the only life he knew was on the high seas—a life full of glory, riches, disaster, and revenge. When he finally settled down in New Orle ...more
Hardcover, 47 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Harry N. Abrams
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Since little is known about Jean Lafitte, the subject of this biography, the author has relied on Lafitte's own journal written from 1845 to 1850. When I first opened this book, I wondered if I would learn anything knew about this man who is often considered a hero in New Orleans, where I lived for 25 years. I was pleasantly surprised to learn quite a lot that I didn't already know from the stories about Lafitte that were passed on from person to person. For instance, I had no idea that Lafitte ...more
Dina Tanners
Jan 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I loved the illustrations in this book. They were eye-appealing and seemingly historidcally accurate. The subject matter is rather sophisticated, so it might be best read aloud to a child in 3rd grade or so. There are full-page illustrations on almost every other page and half page illustrations on other pages. THe large-sied book has 47 pages including an index. The story is about Jean Laffite, a young Jewish boy born in Port-au-Prince in the 1780s. The book definitely has a Jewish focus, begin ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Susan Goldman Rubin reveals the life of Jean Laffite, the little-known Jewish Caribbean pirate who became an American patriot during the War of 1812. Beautiful large illustrations in the 48-page picture book by Jeff Himmelman help tell the tale for younger elementary-grade students. I liked Rubin sprinkling through the text Caribbean place names and French and Spanish words. The back matter includes listings of Books, Articles, Places to Visit, and an Index. In her Author's Note, Rubin reveals s ...more
Darshana Khiani (Flowering Minds)
Fascinating story. Loved it!
Interesting to learn about pirates beyond the Disney version.
I came to learn of this pirate after reading one line in my 4th grader's history textbook.
From this book I learned a number of pirates were Jewish and privateers are pirates operating under the commission of a country. (state-sponsored attacks?)
In this case, Jean Laffite attacked Spanish ships (the country that treated his ancestors badly) with the support of France. He later becomes an American patriot when
R. G. Nairam
Interesting and obscure subject matter, even though the narrative is scattered and the discussion of themes uneven.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book about an American Patriot with a shadowy history. In today's PC culture Jean Laffite wouldn't be too liked by SJW'S because of the illegal slave trade. I personally liked the story and I am ok with American History. I read this to my daughter and will be sure to teach her all American History regardless of political correctness, Laffite was an American Hero. Good Bless America
Marguarite Markley
Picture book biographies have become commonplace in the last 5 years. They are a great way to introduce kids to historical figures they may not encounter otherwise. I really like the story of Jean Laffite. A pirate who eventually helps win the Battle of New Orleans. Why had I never heard of him before? I would recommend this book to boys and girls who love all things history, or who love all things pirate. The pictures accompanying the text are excellent and give the reader a good sense of time ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
That was very cool. It certainly heightens the magic that immediately after I read this book, I drove over to see the ruins of Lafitte's mansion. A lot of suppositions were made about a man we know relatively little about, but it makes for a compelling narrative. The Jewish angle was very interesting, and not often adopted, though very likely accurate. The beautiful digital art complements the narrative well.
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I never knew that Jean Laffite, noted pirate of New Orleans, was Jewish! This lovely picture book explains that he wanted to become a pirate at an early age, and he harbored a grudge against Spain specifically because of their persecution of Jews. He became a respected citizen in New Orleans, but was still a privateer and even became leader of 500 buccaneers. Interesting story and dramatic life, well told. Loved the art, beautiful digital illustrations that look as if they are oil paintings!
Sandy Brehl
Rich, dramatic images help make this an appealing read, but it is a much more complex and traditional narrative of Laffite's life than would typically be considered a "picture book". For an older reader it provides a very human and appealing approach to earl American history,including the author's note after the text.
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pirates
The illustrations are beautiful! We were super excited about this true story. BUT IT'S SO TERRIBLY WRITTEN! Write a STORY for crying out loud. Don't document every single detail known about the man in a picture book! Bummer.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
I enjoy Susan Goldman Rubin's books. I seem to learn new things all the time. This time I learned about Jewish Pirates, particularly one individual, from the late 18th/early 19th century. Fascinating.
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
The boys and I enjoyed this book. The illustrations as especially lovely, and it's interesting to learn more about "our" pirate. We were a little disappointed that his story didn't get to Lake Charles.
Edward Sullivan
An interesting biography of the pirate who helped win the Battle of New Orleans. I had no idea he was Jewish and that there were a good number of Jewish bucaneers. The illustrations are a bit too stylized for my taste.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
really good read and pictures. has a terrific bibliography
Sharon Lawler
Enjoyed the factual information about one of the most famous pirates, who become an American patriot.
An interesting story about jean laffite. Full of adventure and patriotism. The text seemed a bit choppy, but overall a good book.
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a very interesting children's book, with fantastic illustrations. I recommend it!
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read my review at
Amanda Day
About a pirate that helped America win a battle at New Orleans in the War of 1812.
Abby Turner
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, childrens
Very interesting story of a pirate. Not exciting
Cathy Blackler
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I am a fan of all things pirate. This was an interesting account of a time in US history that included swashbuckling, privateers, and pieces of eight. Rubin is a master of research.
This is o.k., but it would be better without all the exclamation points that were not really needed. The illustrations would have been better if they were true water colors and not photoshoped.
Well written story about a Jewish pirate/privateer who fought in the Battle of New Orleans.
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Susan Goldman Rubin is the author of more than forty-five books for young people, including Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter; The Yellow House: Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Side by Side; and Edward Hopper: Painter of Light and Shadow. A long-time instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, Susan Goldman Rubin lives in Malibu, California.
More about Susan Goldman Rubin