Thomas Jefferson is one of the most famous founding fathers, but did you know that his mind was always on science? This STEM/STEAM picture book tells how Jefferson’s scientific thinking and method battled against faulty facts and bias to prove that his new nation was just as good as any in the Old World.
Young Thomas Jefferson loved to measure the natural world: plants and animals, mountains and streams, crops and weather. With a notepad in his pocket, he constantly examined, experimented, and explored. He dreamed of making great discoveries like the well-known scientific author, Count Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon.
But when Buffon published an encyclopedia of the natural world, Jefferson was furious! According to the French count, America was cold and swampy, and filled with small and boring animals, nothing like the majestic creatures of the OId World. Jefferson knew Buffon had never even been to America. Where had Buffon gotten his information? Had he cherry-picked the facts to suit his arguments? Was he biased in favor of Europe?
How could Jefferson prove Buffon wrong? By using scientific inquiry, of course! This first picture book to emphasize Jefferson’s use of scientific methods is an accessible and entertaining approach to a lesser-known side of Jefferson.
About the Author
Beth Anderson is the author of Revolutionary Prudence Wright: Leading the Minute Women in the Fight for Independence, and Tad Lincoln’s Restless Wriggle: Pandemonium and Patience in the President’s House. Her title, Lizzie Demands a Seat, won the Bank Street Flora Stieglitz Straus Award and the Sugarman Children’s Biography Honor Award, and was a JLG selection.
Jeremy Holmes is an award-winning picture book illustrator. His debut book, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly won the prestigious BolognaRagazzi Opera Prima Award. He also assisted with the creation of the puppets for the Emmy-nominated show Helpsters on PBS.