What do bifocals, odometers, and lightning rods have in common? If you guessed Ben Franklin, you’re right! Inventor, statesman, writer – there was no hat that Ben did not wear, and wear better than most other people. In this fact-stuffed issue, the long, busy life of Ben Franklin, for kids, is put under the microscope: from his early years as an apprentice in his brother’s printing shop to his days as a revered elder statesman in Paris. The story starts with young Ben, who only completed two years of school, and follows him over the years as he invented or came up with ideas for everything from fertilizer to a way to chart the Gulf Stream.
But Ben Franklin, as most kids are already aware, is probably best known for his tests with a kite, a key, and a lightning bolt, as well as his contributions to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Often called our oldest and wisest founding father, he helped negotiate several treaties between the colonies and other nations – and was the first to suggest an agreement between the colonies themselves. His accessible political writings and popular publications, like Poor Richard’s Almanac, which is still in use today, remind us how much he was a man of the American people. As this issue so clearly shows, there is no better choice than our own Ben Franklin, for kids seeking real-life superheroes.