Noah Webster & His Words


From Publisher’s Weekly
“Noah’s dictionary is the second most popular book ever printed in English, after the Bible,” writes Ferris toward the end of this quick-witted biography of Webster, which more than does justice to the man and his body of work. Although Webster comes from a long line of farmers, “Noah did not want to be in that long line…. Noah wanted to be a SCHOL-AR [noun: one who goes to school; a person who knows a lot].” This mixture of biographical detail, humor, and vocabulary-building continues throughout Ferris’s account, and Kirsch’s scraggly mixed-media illustrations create a decidedly unstuffy atmosphere.


Webster is shown with a round, oversize head and exaggerated spindly limbs; as words come to define Webster’s life (so to speak), Kirsch occasionally uses swoopy script lettering as texture. Webster’s commitment to the newly formed nation of America is as evident as his love of language; a timeline and author’s note provide further detail about his life. A rousing success [noun: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose]. Ages 4–8.

From the Author:
I’ll do just about anything to make history come alive!  Some people think that history is old and dry and doesn’t have much to do with their own lives – wrong, wrong, wrong!  But never fear, I’ll show you what history is REALLY like.

Many of my books are about multicultural heroes who, until recently, have been sadly omitted from history. Others are about important people you may never have heard of before. They can’t wait for you to learn about them!  See how these people overcame great difficulties and did great things. They made a difference in our world – and so can you!

From Deni:
I highly recommend this book for your home library (I’ve already purchased 3).   The illustrations are engaging and the writing style makes it an extremely enjoyable read-aloud.   Here are some study guides that have been created for Noah Webster, including discussion questions to enhance learning and deepen understanding.

Study Guide #1

Study Guide #2

Study Guide #3

Check out Noah’s AWARDS:

2012 Distinguished Book Award for “outstanding literary merit, high quality of illustration and design, and contribution to a child’s understanding of the world”
from The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California

The 2013 Eureka! Award
(silver honor book) for Excellence in Nonfiction from the California Reading Association

2013 Golden Kite Award
for “best non-fiction book of 2012,” from the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators

A 2013 Junior Library Guild Selection

“A rousing success.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

 ”It’s just as timely as old-timey — a charming book about a boy who preferred to read rather than do as his forefathers did.”
New York Times Book Review

“A good deal more fun than the subject might suggest.”
“The volume is a wonderful success in introducing Webster in such a charming manner.”

“The clever text, insertion of dictionary words, and hilarious illustrations make this a perfect book for everyone who loves words. This is a book to remember!”
—California Kids

“Delightful, educational, and completely fascinating.”
Huffington Post

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