Books on Monday: NOAH WEBSTER & HIS WORDS by Jeri Chase Ferris, illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch

By Leslie Lindsay

Who can’t love a book about words?! Not I. But then again, without Noah Webster to catalogue and decipher them, we may not have this book, either. Noah Webster and His Words 

When my daughter came home from preschool (!) several years ago touting words like ovoviparous ,I knew I had another wordhound on my hands. She also learned omimous from PBSKids around the same time, both of which I didn’t even know till I was much older. Okay, I confess, I had to look up ovoviparous that spring in Pre-K when Kelly was trying to educate us on chicken eggs. Yes, that was a dinnertime conversation and yes, Jim and I looked at each other with equal parts awe and scrutiny. Did our barely 5-year old really just utter that big ol’ word?
Delightful for just about anyone, from teachers and parents and kids, to those young at heart, NOAH WEBSTER AND HIS WORDS is a true gem, highlighting not just history but also a love for the written word. What I found that really stands out with this book is the way the author has pulled several words away from the text to highlight their definitions, such as SCHOLAR and CONFIDENCE, among others. It is sort of reminiscent of Jamie Lee Curtis’s book, BIG WORDS but with a definite historical–biographical bent.

If you  get the book, talk about the words. Oh gosh…you could just pull directly from the book and try to use them in a sentence, for the rest of the week, forever. If there’s something you don’t know–by all means, look it up!

Use this book as an opportunity to expand on words  your child already knows, share a love for writing (and speaking) concisely. Encourage kids to ask questions and seek answers in the dictionary–whether in hard copy form or on-line. It’s also a wonderful tool to talk about one’s passions. Noah Webster, for exaple didn’t want to become a farmer like the men in his family–he wanted to become a scholar. Talk with your child the costs and benefits to going against the grain, against the family business, and perhaps doing something radical–but within limits.

Noah Webster pre-1843 IMG 4412 Cropped.JPGFor more information on Noah Webster and this book, please see:

From the Noah Webster House and Historical Society

About the author, Jeri Chase Ferris

About the book on Ms. Ferris’s website, awards, etc.