Jefferson's Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret Children

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
 This story of Thomas Jefferson's children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, tells a darker piece of America's history from an often unseen perspective-that of three of Jefferson's slaves-including two of his own children. As each child grows up and tells his story, the contradiction between slavery and freedom becomes starker, calliing into question the real meaning of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This poignant story sheds light on what life was like as one of Jefferson's invisible offspring.


Reviewed: 2016-08-16

Bradley does a skillfull job of mixing history with fiction in this story of slavery and our third president. Bradley's characters are compelling and communicate themes the historical era for young readers. She does not hold back or protect readers from the horrors of slavery, instead uses the perspective of the child Beverly to talk openly and honestly about the evils of slavery. Maddy, the younger brother is comforting his friend Peter on the night before he will be auctioned off following Jefferson's death, "But you listen to me. There is no such thing as a nice slave owner. It's evil. All slave owners are bad. If a person would own another person, you can't trust a word they'll say..."

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