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Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library
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Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  598 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
As soon as Thomas Jefferson learned to read, he found his passion: books, books, and more books! Before, during, and after the American Revolution, Jefferson collected thousands of books on hundreds of subjects. In fact, his massive collection eventually helped rebuild the Library of Congress—now the largest library in the world. Barb Rosenstock’s rhythmic words and John O ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by Calkins Creek
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Perfect for the adult, or child, I suppose, who cannot live without books Bonus points for addressing the difficult issue of slavery in a sensitive way.

Library copy, natch.
Edward Sullivan
How can a passionate bibliophile like me not love a book about another passionate bibliophile like Thomas Jefferson?
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 520info
“Thomas Jefferson learned to read. And then, he never stopped.”
When my son heard this line, he laughed out loud at the absurdity of such a statement but then wanted to read on to see how the author would support a grand claim like that!

With this opening line to Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library, Barb Rosenstock recounts the strong role that reading and books played in Thomas Jefferson’s life. While many biographies use dates to create a logical chronology, Rosenstock uses Thomas Jefferson’s enga
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Loved this book! Thomas Jefferson was a reader after my own heart. His book-buying was as compulsive as mine is. I love the quote on page 30 (Thomas Jefferson, 1788): "I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family, and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post which any human power can give." Ah, that's retirement for me! He must have loved his country a great deal to give up his librar ...more
This book was especially enjoyable to read since I bought it in the Library of Congress book store after seeing Jefferson's collection! I love the story of Jefferson's obsession with books and reading and the legacy he left to the Library of Congress. And who wouldn't want a table that revolves so that you could read several books at once?! I enjoyed O'Brien's lively illustrations, also.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Thomas Jefferson had his faults but this book focuses on his love for reading and collecting of books. I learned a lot about Jefferson's contribution to the Library of Congress' collection (basically starting/rebuilding it).
Nancy Kotkin
Text: 5 stars
Illustrations: 5 stars

Picture book biography of Thomas Jefferson that focuses mainly on his love of reading and books. Text is engaging and flows well. Illustrations incorporate books in many inventive ways. The distinctive art style combines mosaic-like watercolors with pen-and-ink drawings. Layout includes small book insets containing supplemental facts and images on many of the pages. Nice period details reflect the historical setting. Includes an author's note and bibliography.

These excellent nonfiction picture books are coming out fast and furious! This one personalizes Thomas Jefferson via his particular love of books -- reading them and collecting them. He read so much that his mind was highly prized during the development of the U.S. He collected so much that he sold his personal library to Congress when the first Library of Congress was burned by the British!

The book is lightly written, with a couple chances for page-turn suspense and several fun repeated "Guess
Ying Lee
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The founding father of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, is actually a bibliophile. Once he learned to read, he never stopped reading. He read and collected books in English, Latin, French, Spanish and other languages as well as books on a variety of topics, such as cooking, fishing, fertilizing, games, and ghosts. Wherever he went, he read. As Thomas was elected the president of the United States, the Library of Congress was double-sized. Even though the Library of Congress was burned in 181 ...more
Upon first look at the overall appearance of the illustrations, my mind said I wasn't going to like this title. I had already read and loved Kalman's Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Everything which was an entertaining way to learn biographical information.
However, Rosenstock's title focuses only on Jefferson's love of books and his contribution to the beginning of America's library, The Library of Congress. Not every child or adult will be interested in this aspect of Jeffer
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thomas Jefferson was quite a reader and one of his collections of books became the basis for the Library of Congress. This nonfiction text is packed with information about Jefferson and his love of books. The format makes for a friendly, though longer, read aloud; this is the kind of book that lends itself to only reading select text boxes to make for a shorter read. Recommended for grades 2 - 4, the pages are a bit busy, though students will enjoy the narrative that emphasizes key points and as ...more
I read this a couple of times myself and once to my 5th grade class. Every time I read it, I found more books hidden and not-so-hidden in the illustrations! This worked well as a read-aloud, although I didn't read every one of the extra fact blurbs. I found them interesting, but picked out just the most interesting to read to the class. My students especially loved finding the hidden books in the illustrations.
Thomas Jefferson loved to read. He bought books all over the world, more than tripled the Library of Congress, and then gave the Library of Congress his own personal library when it burned down during the War of 1812. That was a fact I didn't know.

This book is full of facts and shows Thomas Jefferson's life as it was connected to books. Very colorful, with short text, and interesting fact/quote bubbles along the illustrations make it a quick, fun read for an ELL.
Deborah Martinez
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
If your young ones like to read grab this book next time you are at the library! What a great history lesson on Thomas Jefferson and how he was an avid reader!

Jefferson helped build the Library of Congress which now has over 155 million items, 800 miles of shelves, in 470 languages! The crazy part to me is it adds close to 12,000 new items each day!
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The whimsical illustrations and the added fun facts on most pages make this a fun read for sure. The topics of Jefferson, his love of reading, and the Library of Congress are covered in beautiful detail and this a fabulous read for history lovers of all ages.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I got this book for my birthday and I loved it!!! I read it out loud to Shawn and Archie. I may not be teaching 4th grade anymore, but I still love this content. I love how there are hidden or creatively rendered books on every page!!!
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent children's book on the life of Thomas Jefferson told from the point of view of his massive library. If you love books and reading, share this with a child in your life.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Jefferson was passionate about books! This book is filled with wonderful facts about his reading life. I love sharing this book with my third graders!
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classroom-use
Yeah!! This book is wonderful as a biography example for Thomas Jefferson. It hits on all the "important" things that people consider from his life, like writing the Declaration of Independence and being President, but it also speaks to "why" he had those positions and what his great passion and love was - books. I also love as a biography mentor text how it is written in a narrative style and then has quotes and side facts sprinkled all throughout to provide the reader with additional informati ...more
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this up off the shelf hoping to use it for a book-themed story time. Sadly, it's way too in-depth for that. But, it is a fascinating look into Jefferson and his relationship to books and reading. The story is fairly straight-forward, but each page has multiple side bar sections with extra information. It includes an author's note on Jefferson's life as well as a short bibliography and source notes. This would be perfect for an elementary school report on Jefferson.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this as part of my eight year old's summer reading list. This is a great book! We learn of Thomas Jefferson's life, his love of books, his expansive personal library and our Library of Congress. Fascinating and engaging.
Jessica Lauber
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just LOVED this book. So much history and the passion for reading just bleeds through the pages. The illustrations are unique and add to the story. The tidbits and sidebars are great added info.
Frankly, nearly perfect.
Victoria Schmidt
Biography-Upper grades

Title: Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library
Author: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrator: John O’Brien
Genre: Biography –Upper Grades
Theme: Books, Thomas Jefferson’s life surrounded by books, Government, History
Opening line/sentence:
Thomas Jefferson learned to read. And then, he never stopped.

Brief book summary: This book focuses on multiple aspects of Thomas Jefferson’s life, while always mentioning how reading was still his favorite activity. It starts by talking about Jefferson when h
Primary Picture book
Twin Fiction Set: George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale
McNamara, M. (2012). George Washington’s birthday: A mostly true tale. New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade Books.

Text Features: titles, subheadings, captions, illustrations, special font, timelines, maps

Text Structures: This book describes the life of Thomas Jefferson through his libraries and love of reading. The main structure is chronological sequence with some captions that give additional facts about Thomas
Joanna Thompson
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
1) “Twin Text” – The Matchbox Diary, Paul Fleischman, 2013

2) Rationale: This is my favorite twin text pairing of my set. I chose this twin text because it will hopefully allow students to connect to Jefferson’s desire to collect items through the great grandfather’s story in The Matchbox Diary. If I just start out with Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library some students may be turned off because it talks about his love for books and some students may consider themselves nonreaders or may have a stro
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
1.) _The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians_, Carla Morris, 2007

2.) _The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians_ is the charming story of a little boy named Melvin who grows up surrounded by library books and supportive librarians who help answer his questions and locate the information he needs to become successful. At the end of the book, the author reveals that Melvin has become a librarian himself. The book highlights all of the wonderful children's services within the library, which students are co
Award winning author, Barb Rosenstock specializes in biographies for children. She uses her considerable skill to create an entertaining look at the way Thomas Jefferson' love of reading and book collecting benefitted the nation.

Thomas Jefferson loved to read from the moment he learned how to do it. Once he started reading, he didn't stop. Because of his fortunate socio-economic status, Jefferson was able to build a library at his childhood home, his adult home, and again in retirement. This boo
In humorous fashion intended to appeal to young readers, this book tells of the lifelong love for books of one of the nation's early leaders. While youngsters may know that Thomas Jefferson served as our third president, that he was the architect of the Declaration of Independence and that the country expanded greatly as the result of the Louisiana Purchase during his Presidency, they are unlikely to realize how much of a bibliophile this man was. Not only did he purchase enough books to stock h ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: book and Jefferson readers
This was a fun enthusiastic quick read. It is about Thomas Jefferson's lifelong love of books and reading. It lost a star for some of the illustrations being difficult to read and some of the text being somewhat misleading. While Jefferson loved his books, he also loved his family. I loved the quotes from his granddaughters but nothing appeared in the main text about his family life other than his grief over his wife's death. Even then, there were books at the deathbed. This might be accurate bu ...more
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