04 April 2014

Johnny Tremain: 1944 Newbery Award Winner

The beginning of March 2014 I started a new undertaking: reading every single Newbery Medal Winner book.  A number of them I have read in the past, but I am reading them with fresh eyes,and reviewing them for others. I am not reading them in order, as some will require some effort on my part to find them all.  Want to keep track of which books I read?  Check them out at Confessions of a Wannabe Reader!

Johnny Tremain cover).jpg
Cover of the book - The image is used for identification purposes only under the fair use clause.

Jonathan Lyte Tremain: The Boy Who Stood as a Man

"A boy in time of peace and a man in time of war."

At the dawn of the American Revolution in the city of Boston in the Royal Colony of Massachusetts, there was a boy named Johnny Tremain.  He was apprenticed to an elderly silversmith and showed promise of being a master silversmith, but in an unfortunate accident he burns his hand to the point where it is not longer usable and he is ultimately thrown out of the silversmith's home.  Through a series of events, he becomes the trusted boy of a printer who helps the Sons of the Revolution, and through Johnny's eyes, the story of Boston's role in starting the American Revolution is played out.

This was the first time I read Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, although I did have intentions of reading it before.  Since I have a deep love for American History and reading both, this story was extremely interesting  and enjoyable to me once I got through the first few chapters.  The story and its vivid descriptions of both the people of Boston and the beginnings of the Revolution itself were very well-thought out.  Sam Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere and the likes come to life in the pages of Johnny Tremain, and I especially liked the descriptions of James Otis.  The story reminded me of the loss that both the Yankees and the British felt in the start of the war.  Boys as young as fifteen were fighting in the start of the war, and some were dying.  Some people lost everything they had in Boston, and Esther Forbes did a very good job depicting those losses in her story.   Johnny himself must choose whether to stand as a man or remain a boy when he suffers his own losses.

If you enjoy American History and the time period surrounding the American Revolution in particular, you should read this book.

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