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Farmer George Plants a Nation

Press: Calkins Creek (February 1, 2008)
Author Name:Thomas, Peggy/ Johnson, Layne (ILT)


George Washington as he's rarely seen. 
Besides being a general and the first president of the United States, George Washington was also a farmer.
His efforts to create a self-sufficient farm at Mount Vernon, Virginia, mirrored his struggle to form a new nation.
Excerpts from Washington's writings are featured throughout this NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book, which also includes a timeline, resource section, as well as essays on Washington at Mount Vernon and his thoughts on slavery.
Both illustrator and author worked closely with the staff of Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens to render an accurate portrait of Farmer George at work.


"Sprinkling excerpts from his letters and diaries throughout to allow its subject to speak in his own voice, the narrative makes a convincing case for Washington's place as the nation's First Farmer. 
Backmatter includes a timeline, author's notes on both Mount Vernon and Washington the slaveholder, resources for further exploration and a bibliography." --Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Peggy Thomas is the author of more than a dozen books for children and young adults, including Joshua the Giant Frog, a tall tale about the Erie Canal. 
Thomas is a frequent speaker in schools and libraries. She lives in Middleport, New York.Layne Johnson has illustrated many acclaimed picture books for children, including Remembering Grandpa by Uma Krishnaswami.
He lives in Houston, Texas.


Children's Books,Biographies,U. S. Presidents & First Ladies,Education & Reference,History,United States,Colonial & Revolutionary,Geography & Cultures,Where We Live,Farm Life

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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     I read this to my fifth graders as we studied the American Revolution. Well written and illustrated. It gives a face and a personality to the facts of history. It was recommended to me and I also recommend it to others teaching children about our American history.

  •     The illustrations are so wonderful!

  •     This book is a wonderful look at our nation's first president as a farmer. Along with beautiful artwork, this book showcases George's love for experimenting, his ingenuity, and the deep love and care he felt for his land. While most studies of George Washington cover his military service, this book is a wonderful tribute to the man behind the uniform and the other important contributions he made to our country.

  •     thanks

  •     interesting take on george washington

  •     great book and transaction

  •     George Washington, best known for serving as the first president of the United States and as commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, also spent many years of his life working as a farmer. As a young man, George first leased the large estate of Mount Vernon from a family member after he returned from fighting in the French and Indian War. He studied the best books on agriculture available from England and began to experiment with how different seeds grew in Mount Vernon's relatively hard clay soil and warm climate. George also thought carefully about to improve the efficiency of farm production at Mount Vernon. With his innovations, he developed a new plow that could also plant seeds, and he designed a new kind of barn that used horses to separate grains of wheat from the stalks.This unique book offers children a fresh perspective on the economic contributions that George Washington made to the United States through his role as farmer. The book does an excellent job in teaching children about several important concepts in economics, including natural resources, human resources, and innovation. Neither the author nor the illustrator shy away from the fact that George Washington relied extensively on slaves to perform most of the farm work. This book may present children with one of their first views of George Washington as an estate farmer and slave owner, thus presenting a valuable opportunity to talk about the role of slavery in the South during the American Revolution.

  •     I love using this book to teach more about the First President of the United States of America. Great inside and out.

  •     What? You don't have this book? Why? President's Day is coming. Come learn more about George Washington in this great read!

  •     I was surprised at how good this book really was. It deals with the George Washington we rarely learn about but whose existence was the basis for all the other accomplishments he achieved. George Washington owned a plantation in Virginia near the present day Washington D.C. at Mount Vernon. There he used his education to develop better farming techniques. When the troubles with England began, George already had ideas to make the American colonies more independent from England and had been implementing them. His belief that the colonies could do better without the intervention of England was a key idea that the founding fathers stood by when times were tough. George was able to put his ideas into practice and had experience to do better.

  •     This is a wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated book that focuses on George Washington's life as a farmer. My 9 year old daughter and I both enjoyed reading about the inventions he made, such as the combo plow & tiller, and the compost tests he conducted in his home garden. We also enjoyed reading the diary excerpts - a nice touch to read his thoughts on farming and Mt. Vernon. The author provides some extras at the back of the book: a timeline, a note about George Washington's thoughts on slavery, information about Mt. Vernon, and a bibliography. We've read a lot about President Washington, especially since we live near Valley Forge, but never really knew this environmentally friendly side of him. While some may be disappointed because it barely touches on issues of politics and slavery, keep in mind that the book is called Farmer George and its intent is to shed light on "Washington's legacy as a founding farmer" (back cover).

  •     This book is the perfect mentor text for helping students understand just how smart and innovative Washington was-in all areas of his life. I use it every year and my students love it.

  •     Really good book!! Love the illustrations!!!


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