Noah Webster and His Words

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Noah Webster and His Words
by Jeri Chase Ferris, illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012

In the mid-1700’s Noah Webster was raised to be a farmer, but his mind took him different places—he loved words.  He knew how to grow everything, but he wanted to become a scholar and study new words, like those in Greek and Latin.  Fortunately his teacher convinced Noah’s father to send him to Yale.  After college, Noah decided to be a teacher.  Soon he wanted to write an American speller for kids to learn how to read.  He did, and the Blue-backed Speller became America’s first speller and was used for many decades.  The story goes on to tell how Noah decided America needed a true American Dictionary.  For twenty years he read every book in libraries and even traveled to libraries in England and France to discover and define every word.  In 1828, Noah’s dream came true when the American Dictionary of the English Language was published.

A small bit of history written in a compelling story, readers learn how Webster’s first dictionary was published nearly 200 years ago.   The ink, graphite and watercolor illustrations wrap the story in the 1700 and 1800’s, bringing it an authenticity and inviting readers into the story.  A wonderful way to introduce the ‘dictionary’!

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