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Benjamin Franklin, Young Printer

post written by Emma Filbrun

Title: Benjamin Franklin, Young Printer
Author: Augusta Stevenson
Series: Childhood of Famous Americans
Major Themes: Benjamin Franklin, Scientists, Family Read-alouds, Biography, Colonial Era (US), American Revolution
Synopsis: The story of Ben Franklin’s life is told for children, focusing on his childhood in Boston.

We have read several books lately about Benjamin Franklin. I was going to skip the Childhood of Famous Americans book about him, but a couple of the boys said they really wanted to hear it. So, we read Benjamin Franklin, Young Printer. I have never known how much of these books is actual fact, and how much is fiction based on the adult character of the person and what we know of the times in which he or she lived, but I really like these stories anyway.

Young Ben Franklin lived at the sign of the Blue Ball—his father’s candle and soap business. He got to meet many people there, and also loved being part of a big, happy family. They loved the stories he made up for family story-telling night, and he enjoyed the stories his mother told from her girlhood. His parents did their best to educate their children, both at home and by sending them to school. The chapter about Ben’s teacher might make help your children understand their math better!

Ben loved swimming and sailing. He learned many different ways of swimming, and became an expert sailor—but he hated working as his father’s apprentice in the candle and soap shop. His father finally apprenticed Ben to one of his older sons as a printer. Ben loved the trade so much that for the rest of his life he called himself a printer! Then, he started writing—but as soon as his brother learned who had been writing the pieces that were so popular, Ben was in trouble. By the way, we loved the way this book reported the pieces that Ben wrote under the name Silence Dogood.

All in all, this is a very entertaining account of Benjamin Franklin’s life and the times in which he lived. My children, from age four up to age sixteen, all enjoyed hearing this book—in fact, it was the 16-year-old who requested that I read it! As with all the other Childhood books, this would also make a great early reader, for someone who is doing well with longer chapter books but can’t handle vocabulary that is too challenging yet.

WARNING: At the end of the 6th chapter, Ben’s father knocks someone out.

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12


Links to buy Benjamin Franklin, Young Printer:

Amazon: Paperback | Library Binding

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Paperback


Benjamin Franklin, Scientists, Family Read-alouds, Biography, Colonial Era (US), American Revolution

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