The Leather Apron Club: Benjamin Franklin, His Son Billy & America's First Circulating Library (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
A powerful celebration of libraries from master storyteller Jane Yolen. Benjamin Franklin introduces his son Billy to the Leather Apron Club, where it's love at first page.
When Billy's father Benjamin Franklin announces that Billy and his lazy cousin James will soon have a tutor, Billy is initially dismayed. But his tutor awakens him to the power of story and books, and when Billy accompanies his father to the Leather Apron Club (which Franklin started in 1727), he decides to do more with his education and life.
Best-selling author Jane Yolen introduces readers to the Leather Apron Club. Not only was the Club the first successful lending library in the United States--it also exists to this day as the Library Company of Philadelphia! Careful readers will notice that the story cleverly incorporates famous sayings from Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack, underscoring the lasting impact of words.
About the Author
Jane Yolen is the award-winning author of over three hundred children's books including Last Laughs: Prehistoric Epitaphs and Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs, Bad Girls (with Heidi E. Y. Stemple); Owl Moon, a Caldecott Medal Winner; the How Do Dinosaurs . . . ? series, and Sea Queens. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of the Americas. Jane lives in Western Massachusetts and Scotland.
Wendell Minor has designed more than two thousand book covers and written and/or illustrated more than fifty children's books, including many in collaboration with Jean Craighead George. Recent titles include Trapped!, How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow?, and If You Were a Panda Bear. Wendell has collaborated with Rob Burleigh on Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic , Abraham Lincoln Comes Home, If You Spent a Day with Thoreau at Walden Pond, and Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream.
Inspired by the life of William “Billy” Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin, this first-person account conveyed in lengthy free verse opens in Philadelphia, 1739, when rowdy Billy is eight years old; eventually, a new tutor inspires a love of reading, and the elder Franklin allows the younger to bear witness to a meeting of the Leather Apron Club, 12 friends who meet “weekly to discuss issues of morality, philosophy, and politics,” as well as read at the Club’s library, “the first free lending library in the United States,” per an author’s note. Interspersing quotes from Poor Richard’s Almanack, Yolen makes Billy’s emotions relatable to young audiences: “Pappy... has written the best-known Book/ in all of Philadelphia,/ printed on his own Press—/Poor Richard’s Almanack./ It is full of sayings to make people wise,/ though if you ask me, I think it is a little boring.” Muted watercolors by Minor offer sketch-like, realistic white figures in this historical fiction, which may appeal more to adults. Front matter includes a note about capitalizations; back matter includes more historical context and information, as well as an author’s note.