How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning

post written by Emma Filbrun

Title: How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning
Author: Rosalyn Schanzer
Major Themes: Benjamin Franklin, Electricity, Science, Biography, Picture Books, Colonial Era (US), American Revolution
Synopsis: Fun pictures and engaging text tell the story of Franklin’s inventions and studies of electricity.

Here is another example of the historically-themed picture books we always enjoy! We have now moved on to learning about Ben Franklin, and I was pleased to be able to locate a few picture books about him. Some of my boys were very intrigued by what they learned from How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning.

Ben Frankin was a multi-talented man. He wrote an almanac and helped write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; he invented a stove and an odometer; he wrote weather forecasts and tamed the waves. He also investigated electricity. What was it? What caused it? How did it work? What could it be used for? He and several friends wrote to each other about their discoveries and observations. He badly wanted to find the answer to one question, especially: Was lightning the same as the electricity he caught in a glass bottle?

This fascinating picture book is a very brief introduction to Franklin’s life; what really caught my sons’ attention, however, was the information given about early studies of electricity. My 9-year-old badly wants to know how the glass bottles worked in which Franklin caught electricity! We read a digital edition of this book, but I wish I could find a print copy for him to study more closely.

The pictures in How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning are somewhat cartoonish. They certainly get the point across, however! We really enjoyed looking at them. If you can find this book, be sure to get a copy for your even slightly scientifically-minded children!

WARNING: YIKES appears on the page where Franklin catches lightning.

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12


Links to buy How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning:

Amazon: Paperback | Hardcover

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Hardcover


Benjamin Franklin, Electricity, Science, Biography, Picture Books, Colonial Era (US), American Revolution

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