#1124 – Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words by K. M. Kostyal and Fred Harper

Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words: How to Work Smart, Play Well, and Make Real Friends
Written by K. M. Kostyal
Illustrated by Fred Harper
National Geographic Kids 1/24/2017
978-1-4263-2699-8
128 pages    Ages 8—12

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“Discover history through the eyes of one of the smartest, funniest, and coolest figures from America’s past. This book presents 50 of Benjamin Franklin’s famous “wise words” from Poor Richard’s Almanack, his personal letters, and other writings, with sage advice on everything from good citizenship and manners to friendship and being happy. Sayings are paired with hilarious illustrations and witty translations for modern audiences. It’s a great go-to for inspirational and innovative ways to practice mindfulness, industriousness, and self-improvement.” [PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE]

Review
[WC 397]
Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words uses 50 of Franklin’s own quotes to help kids navigate life. There are seven chapters, each with its own topic (tranquility, industry, order, humility, resolution, sincerity, and moderation). The foreword, written by H. W. Brands (a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his book The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin), begins with one of Franklin’s poems.

“If you would not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten
Either write things worth reading
Or do things worth writing.”

The quotes used in Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words are from his Poor Richard’s Almanack. These small books contained all sorts of useful information people used to plan their lives. Franklin also included sound advice and jokes he liked to tell. Each quotation, written in the English of Franklin’s time, is re-written in today’s English so kids can understand what Franklin advised. For example:

“A slip of the foot
You may soon recover:
But a slip of the tongue
You may never get over.”
.               .            .~ Benjamin Franklin.

~~which means~~

“Be careful what you say.
Because once it’s said,
You can’t take it back—ever.”

Following each quote and explanation, Kostyal gives readers a slice of Franklin’s life to emphasize the subject or “advice” of the quote. Knowing this giant man of history made the same mistakes we all make will help kids understand what Franklin is advocating and why. In addition, Harper adds a caricature on the opposite page acting out the quote’s meaning. These silly images also help reinforce Franklin’s “advice.” Many of Harper’s images are frame-worthy.
Teachers and librarians will love the book and all the free resources and activity suggestions National Geographic offers them. Homeschooling parents will find Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words an interesting go to book for lessons on American history and government, in addition to life in general.

After reading Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words, readers will have a better understanding of the man and his beliefs. The 50 quotes and life snippets reinforce how fascinating a man Benjamin Franklin had been. Intended for age eight to twelve, Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words will give kids a new, more complete view and appreciation of the man, plus useful advice to help guide them through life.

Back matter includes a two-page spread about “Ben’s Big Ideas and Amazing Inventions,” a bibliography and resource section, source notes, and an index.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S WISE WORDS: HOW TO WORK SMART, PLAY WELL, AND MAKE REAL FRIENDS. Text copyright © 2017 by K. M. Kostyal. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Fred Harper. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, National Geographic Kids, Washington, DC.

AmazonIndie BooksNational Geographic Kids

Add BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S WISE WORDS to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
Teacher and Librarian Resources are HERE.

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Illustrations from BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S WISE WORDS: HOW TO WORK SMART, PLAY WELL, AND MAKE REAL FRIENDS by K. M. Kostyal copyright © 2016 by Fred Harper. Used with permission from National Geographic Kids/National Geographic Society.

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Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words: How to Work Smart, Play Well, and Make Real Friends
Written by K. M. Kostyal
Illustrated by Fred Harper
National Geographic Kids 1/24/2017
9781426326998

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One thought on “#1124 – Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words by K. M. Kostyal and Fred Harper

  1. You know, Sue, I’m a Ben Franklin fan 🙂 This book sounds SO wonderful! I didn’t know of POOR RICHARD’S ALMANACK either, so I’m glad you mentioned it. Just ordered it from the library 😀

    Like

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