Monday, October 21, 2013

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library

What if you had so many books you had to build a library to hold them? That's what Thomas Jefferson did... the Library of Congress.

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library
by Barb Rosenstock; illus. by John O'Brien
32 pages; ages 8 & up
Calkins Creek, 2013

From the title page illustration (TJ constructing a library using books) to the end notes, this book is chock-full of fun information. There are quotes from Thomas Jefferson: "I cannot live without books" (1815), and cool facts. Did you know that in Jefferson's time, books were commonly sold unbound? People took the pages to a bookbinder who covered the book and stitched it all together.

Barb Rosenstock pulls us into the story from the get-go. Thomas Jefferson learned to read early, and never stopped. He "gobbled books the way a starving man eats," writes Rosenstock. By the age of six he'd read every book in his father's library. So when he started collecting things... it seems only natural he'd collect books.

When he was elected president, Jefferson supported the Library of Congress - in fact, he tripled the number of books in its library. Later, during the War of 1812, British soldiers set fire to the Capitol and burned the Library of Congress. What did Tom do? He sorted and labeled and boxed up more than 6500 of his own books and sent them off to Washington, DC to start the new Library of Congress. Since then, the Library of Congress has grown. It now owns more than 155 million items that take up 800 miles of shelf space. And one of those items is .... this book.

How appropriate, then, for this week's Nonfiction Monday to be hosted by Abby the Librarian. Bloggers who love children's nonfiction will share the cool books they are reading over at her site. Review copy provided by publisher.


  1. I just loved this book when I read it, even the illustratgions were great. Thanks for sharing and passing word on about a really wonderful story,

  2. Cool- can't wait to read this one! I love books, and libraries ;)

    1. you love libraries so much that you even built one.... and it's cute! I love the idea of using an old cabinet for a little library.

  3. This looks like a good one! I love books about libraries! Thanks!