The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin

post written by Emma Filbrun

Title: The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin
Author: Aliki
Major Themes: Benjamin Franklin, Inventions, Scientists, Biography, Colonial Era (US), American Revolution, US History 1783-1860
Synopsis: Benjamin Franklin’s busy life is perfectly captured in this picture book.

How many lives can one man have? That depends on the man…and Benjamin Franklin had a lot of lives! Aliki has written and illustrated a delightful account of his life in The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin. We read this picture book last week and enjoyed it.

As a boy, Ben had a string of experiences that made up one life. He played and swam with his friends, went to school, and then became an apprentice in his brother’s print shop in Boston. When their relationship became strained, however, Ben ran away—and began his next life, in Philadelphia. There, he lived several lives at once, as he printed a newspaper and started a club, a library, and many other things. After a number of years, he quit working and spent his time investigating scientific problems and inventing things to make people’s lives easier.

Eventually, Franklin became involved in the colonies’ struggle for freedom. How could he help them in their fight with England? He spent many years in Europe, working for America—and then came back home and worked tirelessly there!

The two levels of text in this book make it quite interesting. We read through the main part of the story, and then went back through and read all the detailed captions that go with the illustrations. This part of the book was the most interesting.

The illustrations in this book are unusual. They are simple ink drawings that have been colored; they look almost like a child’s coloring book. I liked them, and they do a great job of getting the message across.

No warnings!

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12


Links to buy The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin:

Amazon: Paperback | Hardcover

AbeBooks: View Choices on


Benjamin Franklin, Inventions, Scientists, Biography, Colonial Era (US), American Revolution, US History 1783-1860

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