NOTE TO TEACHERS
about landmark biographies
Teachers know that biographies are great learning tools. Teachers also know that many students, when presented with a biography, often discount them out of hand. So, how can teachers get this important material into the hands (and brains)of their students?
The answer is easy: Landmark Books. Since 1950, Landmark has offered young readers biographies that are well-written, informative, and fun. Interesting details and anecdotes help students to identify with each historical figure as a real person—one who encounters challenges, celebrates accomplishments, and endures hardships. By reading books in the Landmark series, students will not only deepen their understanding for and appreciation of history, butmay very well develop a new love for biographies.
using biographies in the classroom
• Build biography into every unit of the curriculum. For example, if students are learning about time, have them read about Albert Einstein. If students are studying Black history, have them read about Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Jr.
• Start a biography-of-the-month book club. Each month, students can choose a biography to read and report on. At the end of the year, bind each student’s reports into a book.
• Have a “living history” day where students come to school dressed like a person they have read about. Each student will have a chance to “address” the class in character.
For a complete listing of Landmark Books for your classroom, visit
ABOUT THIS BOOK
This biography introduces young readers to the life of this amazing American,
describes his many accomplishments, and stresses Jefferson’s lifelong belief in
fairness, education, and freedom.
Also Available from Landmark Biographies:
Meet Christopher Columbus
Meet George Washington
Meet Abraham Lincoln
Meet Martin Luther King Jr.
DISCUSSION AND WRITING
• In Meet Thomas Jefferson, the author writes that Jefferson “fought with words.” (p. 1) How did Jefferson use words as weapons for change?
• As a country lawyer, Jefferson never accepted payment from the poor. What does this say about Jefferson’s character?
• As president, Jefferson did not like to dress up in fancy clothing. Do you think it’s important for a president to act or dress in a certain way? Why or why not?
• Thomas Jefferson is best known for writing the Declaration of Independence. Share with your class a reproduction of this historic document and review Jefferson’s main points, such as “All men are created equal” and “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Ask students to give reasons why the founding fathers decided to declare their independence from England. On a large sheet of paper, write a class letter to King George III declaring why they (as colonists) want to be independent from England. To conclude, have each student step forward and sign their names at the bottom of the letter.
• Have students pretend they could transport Jefferson to the present for one hour. Instruct them to write down questions that they would ask Jefferson if given the chance to interview him. Have students share their questions with the class. You can also extend this activity by having a parent, another eacher, or the school principal dress up as Jefferson and be interviewed by the students.
Have students find, define, and discuss the following words:
declaration (p. 1), independence (p. 1), colony (p. 2), plantation (p. 2), explored (p. 3), slavery (p. 5), handsome (p. 8), governor (p. 11), taxes (p. 15), and liberty (p. 24).
BEYOND THE BOOK
The National Archives
Charters of Freedom, part of the National Archive’s Web site, showcases important American documents including the Declaration of Independence.
The White House
Visit this White House Web site to see video biographies of United States presidents made by fifth graders.
ABOUT THIS GUIDE
Guide prepared by Colleen Carroll, Education Consultant, Curriculum
Writer, and Children’s Book Author, Sleepy Hollow, NY.
Random House Children’s Books • School and Library Marketing
1745 Broadway, 10-4, New York, NY 10019 • BN0606 • 12/06
Click here to download the Teacher's Guide PDF