Read Noah Webster's Fighting Words by Tracy Nelson Maurer Mircea Catusanu Online


Noah Webster - famous for writing the first dictionary of the English language as spoken in the United States - was known in his day for his bold ideas and strong opinions about, well, everything. Spelling. Politics. Laws. You name it, he had something to say about it. He even commented on his own opinions! With a red pencil in hand, Noah often marked up work that he had aNoah Webster - famous for writing the first dictionary of the English language as spoken in the United States - was known in his day for his bold ideas and strong opinions about, well, everything. Spelling. Politics. Laws. You name it, he had something to say about it. He even commented on his own opinions! With a red pencil in hand, Noah often marked up work that he had already published. So when Noah's ghost came across this new picture book biography, he couldn't help but make a few suggestions!...

Title : Noah Webster's Fighting Words
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781467794107
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 40 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Noah Webster's Fighting Words Reviews

  • Linda
    2019-01-18 14:57

    A story of Noah Webster's fight to bring American words and American history to schools in "America" shows continuing determination. Noah grew up with parents who taught him to read and write, provided him with books and newspapers. He convinced them to send him to Yale at the age of fifteen! There he found friends who agreed with the early talk of revolution because of the outrageous taxes. He did not serve in the military in the Revolution, but fought through the written word with letters, speeches and news articles. After independence, he taught, and that is when he began his lifelong goal of preparing a dictionary that included uniquely American words, even changing the spelling. Tracy Maurer showed Webster's persistence, but also that he had quite a temper, always wanting his way, what he thought was "the" way. He didn't always win, but often. I assume that Tracy and Mircea Catusanu, the illustrator collaborated for the clever idea of allowing Webster to do part of the editing. Really! The opening endpaper shows a "note" from Webster telling about this. Throughout the book, there are added notes hand-printed from "him" that either change the information or add to it. Even on the copyright page, there is a note when he shares that he was part of the push for American copyright laws. The illustrations combine cartoon-like people with a wealth of added images, like on the double-page spread that shows the beginning of his work for a dictionary. There he sits at his desk, wiping his brow as he looks at a book, surrounded by piles of books and papers. (His note says he checked his pulse while working on this, a big workout!) The illustrator shares that some images are copied from Webster's original notes and letters. Several pages of back-matter include an author's note, an illustrator's note, a timeline, a bit about Charles Merriam who bought Webster's work from his heirs, and several pages of different sources. It's an extensive book for a beginning study of this beloved dictionary and man.

  • Pat Bauer
    2019-01-04 08:13

    Noah Webster’s Fighting Words is a delightful and informative book for people of all ages. With her playful text, Tracy Nelson Maurer invites the reader to turn the pages and learn more about one of our lesser-known founding fathers. I love the “editing” that the ghostly Noah Webster does to the text, especially when he tries to give a better impression of himself than what the author had written! Webster was not particularly well-liked during his time, and the author’s words, some borrowed from his contemporaries, describe him as being bossy, an “incurable lunatic” and a “spiteful viper”. Despite these sentiments expressed by some, Webster also had many redeeming qualities. Appropriately, Maurer uses a rich vocabulary to describe Webster’s life. The collage illustrations by Mircea Catusanu strike a good balance between playfulness and the serious nature of this historical figure.Because of my background as an educator, I found myself thinking about the many ways that this book could be used to help students make connections to both the historical and modern worlds. The teacher could lead a discussion about child mortality (one of Webster’s children died in infancy) during Colonial Times, compare it to today, and elicit ideas from the students about why those numbers have changed. Or the class might make a collective list of American vs. British spellings of words. What does it mean to “fight with a pen”? Webster was an early proponent of copyright laws. How does that affect people today? There are so many possibilities! A wealth of information is available at the end of the book, including both an author’s and illustrator’s note, timeline and primary sources. Whether read by an individual, or employed as a read-aloud, this book is a perfect addition to any study of Colonial Times, the American Revolution or the English language.

  • Lorie
    2019-01-07 10:15

    An oft forgot story from the American Revolution or the War for Independence is that of Noah Webster and his quest to break away from the formal language of the country of England He strove to add American Words at first to a new American English Dictionary, and then ended up creating spelling rules and pronunciations that his young country could use to teach its citizens. Maruer’s humorous approach to include Webster as her editor and fact corrector in which he gleefully takes his red pen to her text makes it a fun read aloud to school age children. Catuusanu’s mixed media collage work allows him to bring in period artifacts and actual written material in Webster’s own hand. Included extras are a full page spread for each of the author and illustrator to discuss how this book came into being, a two page spread of the timeline of Webster’s life, source notes, a selected bibliography, a primary source list, child friendly websites for more information. With a great presentation, visually interesting artwork, and the documentation of their material this book deserves to be a proud member of any home, classroom, school or public library. I would highly recommend reading it with a child today! It shows that there was a literary aspect of the American Revolution and how our language in America became different from Great Britain. I would highly recommend this book for purchase. This book was provided by the publisher for professional review by SWON Libraries.

  • Vera Godley
    2019-01-01 13:25

    Introducing young readers to real people in picture book biographies is a fabulous way for them to begin learning about those who shaped the world. It is also a wonderful method to introduce and encourage reading of non-fiction works to young readers.Most Americans have used a Webster's Dictionary at one time or another but few have the slightest clue as to how a dictionary was compiled, when, and by whom. In Noah Webster's Fighting Words the story begins with America's path toward shaping American English as we know and define it.The story reveals the feisty nature of Noah Webster and how he pushed hard to establish verbiage that was uniquely American in sound interpretation and spelling. Illustrations that will surely capture the attention of the most reluctant reader add interest and direction to the text that is factual yet with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor that keeps it lively and entertaining. This story gives a glimpse into an individual that was somewhat weird, hard to get along with, and contrary and yet who was a valuable contributor to American English language development.The pages at the end of the book include author's note and illustrator's note as well as a fantastic timeline. This book would make a great addition to libraries everywhere and of every type.DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Lerner Books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

  • Laura Salas
    2018-12-30 13:10

    This picture book is fabulous. It's a wonderful mixture of straight nonfiction (the main text) with a clever, fictional (but well informed by meticulous research) second layer of text--editing by the man himself, Noah Webster. Discover how the first American English dictionary came to be--and why. Think about how the words we use influence the way we think. Get to know Noah's bossy own self through the very revealing and funny editing marks and comments "by him." Enjoy lighthearted and delightful collage illustrations that will support your understanding of the text itself. Kids (and, ok, adults) who don't think they're interested in history will be surprised.Excellent backmatter includes an author's note, an illustrator's note, a timeline, a selected bibliography, quotation citations, and primary sources used. Noah Webster's Fighting Words is an awesome book about Noah Webster. But it's really about language, independence, justice, self-expression. It's about why words are so powerful. [Disclaimer: Review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley. I also know the writer. But I read lots of books by writers I know, and most of them don't garner this enthusiastic of a response. I would love this book even if written by a total stranger:>) ]

  • Gretchen
    2018-12-25 08:02

    I love this trend of picture books I'm finding to help make some of the people students have heard about forever, more human to many of our students. They know that Webster is "the dictionary guy," although with the increase of dictionaries on-line, the use of an actual dictionary is becoming less common, but they think he has nothing to do with their lives. Well, he does. He was one of the men who helped write our American English language, the very language they still use today. He battled others to decide which words needed to be added because of this new country's discoveries and how things should be spelled for consistency (a battle he didn't entirely win.) I also love this book as a non-fiction narrative example of how to insert some additional voice about the character by having the character actually write and "edit" the book. In some ways it reminded me of Chester who feels a need to share his views with the reader as well. I'm not sure exactly where I'm going to use this book this year in my class, but I am sure I'm going to read it to the students.

  • Allison
    2019-01-07 12:55

    A delightful biography of Noah Webster with lots of visual appeal for a young reader and enough little known facts to please any amateur historian. Every detail is well documented which enhances the appeal of this resource. I look forward to sharing this book with my students.

  • Carrie Pomeroy
    2018-12-22 13:19

    Wonderful narrative voice, great, surprising historical insights, and innovative art make this an irresistible picture book bio.

  • Storywraps
    2019-01-09 06:58

    This book is a biography of Noah Webster that kids will truly understand. Noah Webster was obsessed with letters and words from his babyhood. He was concerned with reading and writing and sharing his knowledge with others not so inclined. He felt that the breakaway by the U.S. from England needed to be punctuated by a revision of all the words that the US implemented that were rooted in the English language. He took it upon himself to tackle the monumental task of writing, then publishing "A Grammatical Institute of the English Language", and his spelling book (yes a dry, but necessary) spelling book, became American's first bestseller. Can you believe it? He believed that letters embedded within words that had no sound should be omitted altogether from that word. He arranged and deleted letters to simplify spelling so words could be recorded exactly as they sounded: jail instead of gaol, iz for is, and hed for head. His claim to fame? He changed the spelling of more English words than anyone else alive. He used his pen as a weapon and wrote essays, speeches, and newspaper articles to defend his work and expound on the activities of his world around him. When it came to his mission of words and their meanings he was ever feisty and always relentless trying to drive his points home to anyone that would listen. Castusanu's illustrations bring so much to the understanding of the story. Time-period pictures are embellished with period drawings, newspaper articles, books, and letters - handwritten in Webster's own script. I loved the added touch of using Noah himself as the editor of the book. Brilliant. The two dimensional words that were printed on a page needed a voice and they found a very serious and exuberant one in Noah Webster. He definitely got the word out. Dictionaries in all forms have Webster to thank for their notoriety. I highly recommend this book.

  • Studio-Sara
    2018-12-31 08:02

    Special thanks to #kidlitexchange for this review copy of Noah Webster's Fighting Words. All opinions are my own.I enjoyed this engaging, humorous middle-grade biography about Noah Webster. It would add an interesting perspective to studying the American Revolution. The illustrations are fun and there's a lot to be gained from each page. I loved the inclusion of editing remarks (and asides), as well as the timeline, Author's and Illustrator's Notes, Sources, Bibliography and Primary Sources. There are lots of ways a teacher (or librarian) could use this book!

  • Katie Simmons
    2018-12-22 08:14

    Noah Webster's Fighting Words looks like it is a meticulously researched book about the life, from boyhood to death, of Noah Webster. I, personally, hope that everyone in the United States knows of Noah Webster. This book is set out to entertain, but also educate children. It is very entertaining to think that Noah Webster, himself, helped to revise this book. I feel that this book is perfect for anyone who would want to learn about Noah Webster!Thank you Millbrook Press and NetGalley for the digital ARC of this book, which made this honest review possible.

  • Rita Platt
    2018-12-27 14:02

    Wonderful book! The story of Noah Webster's life is fascinating and one that will engage readers of all ages. I learned so much, I truly had no idea that Webster was so influential. As a teacher, it is nice to find a book that can be linked to several different content areas (history, writing, and social justice.) The playful way the author has Webster "edit" his own biography is delightful as are the pictures. I cannot wait to share the story with students!

  • Jill
    2018-12-22 08:05

    Noah Webster fought the American Revolution with his pen, as the author argues in this story:In his opinion, America needed to break away from Great Britain in every way. Politics. Trade. Even in its ways of speaking and spelling.”To that end, he published A Grammatical Institute of the English Language in 1783, changing some British spellings and showing American pronunciations. He followed this up in the next two years with American Grammar and the American Reader. He featured the works of Americans in his books, and looked for more ways to make “American” separate from “English.” Thus, for example, he promulgated such usages as “jail” instead of “gaol” (successfully) and “riter” instead of “writer” (not so much).He asked the U.S. Congress to pass laws making speaking and spelling uniform throughout the states, but Congress refused. He then tried to effect change through a dictionary. In 1806 he wrote a small dictionary with 40,600 entries, including some unique American words, such as chowder and skunk. [His philosophy - “descriptionist” rather than “prescriptionist” to dictate correct word usage - is still being debated to this day.]In 1828, he published his pièce de résistance, An American Dictionary of the English Language. The author writes:“No one, not another author, or even a king or queen, has ever successfully changed the spellings of as many English words as Noah Webster did for the new nation.”“Today,” the author concludes, “a dictionary named after him is still published in America - with new words in every edition.”An Author’s Note explains the author’s interest in Noah Webster and the research she undertook to write the book. Romanian illustrator Mircea Catusanu also includes a note, reporting on how he “opted for a collage style that incorporates realistic elements including some period drawings of objects, created over one hundred years ago by anonymous artists, as well as excerpts from period books, newspapers, and Noah’s original handwritten letters.” He also reveals that he tried using “a lighter approach” in drawing his characters, “aiming for an unexpected and hopefully amusing effect.”The book concludes with a timeline, list of sources, and selected bibliography.Evaluation: The interesting text and lively, collage-style illustrations will provide children with insight into how language evolves, as well as teaching them that the American Revolution was carried out in more unorthodox ways than just through military clashes. This can lead to many insights on the ways in which words, images, and art of all kinds can influence the course of history.

  • Lorraine
    2019-01-19 09:57

    As an elementary school teacher, I love picture book biographies. At their best, they include compelling narratives, well-crafted language, and fantastic examples of character traits. John Deere, That's Who! and Noah Webster's Fighting Words, both by Tracy Nelson Maurer, include all of these attributes and more.Noah Webster's Fighting Words, published April 2017, is a standard biography with a creative twist: "Noah" himself serves as editor. Fake hand-written sticky notes throughout the text show what Noah may have said to expand on or correct Maurer's text. This move makes the book even more entertaining, but it also pushes the book into the historical fiction category. This book can inspire students to explore our linguistic history and will leave them wanting to learn even more about the man behind our dictionary.In both of her new picture books, Maurer has earned a place on kids' bookshelves.Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of these books - all opinions are my own. Thanks for reading!

  • Jennifer Strong
    2019-01-06 08:58

    This book shares a little bit about Noah Webster and his lifelong obsession with words. He advocated for America to break from Great Britain in more ways than political- he argued American's ought to have their own spelling of words, too. He compiled the first American dictionary and worked hard to simplify spelling. Though some of his ideas failed to resonate with the American people, his dictionary is still being used and updated to this day.•The collage pictures are visually interesting and Noah's "ghost" commentary adds an element of fun. A worthwhile read, especially for kids who like to write and spell!

  • Randy
    2019-01-04 06:59

    This is a fantastic example of how to make creative nonfiction COOL for reluctant readers, if not all ages. A fascinating read about the revolution from the British language, and founding father of modern American English. The kick-butt collage art is sprinkled with fun edits Webster would likely have made, including trivia and deleting the "bad parts" of his own biography. Bravo, the pen is indeed mightier than the musket.

  • Christina
    2019-01-10 14:57

    A fun picture book about Noah Webster that is partially "told" by him in cute asides as if Webster himself were editing the manuscript and making corrections. Art is collage style, with original 18th century woodcut illustrations mixed in with cartoony drawings by the illustrator. The writing style is perfect for little kids. I liked that it included a timeline and sources for all of the actual Webster quotations, even though it contains fictionalized material too. Gives a nice primary source list for further reading about the man who created the popular American dictionary.

  • Beth
    2018-12-24 07:57

    Language changes, evolves, and grows. Noah Webster, the creator of the first American dictionary, knew that even back in the late 1700s. He even wanted to change the spellings of a lot of English words to make them less British and more American. He was only successful with a few, however. This book is a good reminder to all of us that language and grammar are not static and it changes and grows with the times.

  • Beth Butler
    2019-01-05 07:17

    Like most biographies written for children this has the most interesting facts about the subject presented in a fun manner. Finished in a single sitting I now know some interesting tidbits about a man I had never thought about before. The inventor of the dictionary actually had a political agenda!

  • Lynn
    2018-12-27 10:10

    Lively, fun and informative picture book biography. Adding to the fun is a mysterious editor - could it be Noah himself? Mircea Catusanu's illustrations manage to have both a period feel and a delightful comic touch. I especially loved the speech bubbles.Terrific back matter includes author and illustrator notes, sources, a timeline and more.

  • Katherine Cowley
    2019-01-20 11:16

    Great book for kids that addresses the history of the English language, why our words are spelled the way they are and how that has changed over time, and how people like Noah Webster used words to help form our country. My daughter got so excited when, after reading this book, I showed her that we own a Merriam-Webster dictionary.

  • Steph
    2019-01-19 09:06

    Very cool story, love the illustrations, and it's nice to have a timeline in the back of the book. Thai would be awesome to use when introducing a lesson on how to use a dictionary... quite the attention grabber!

  • Stefanie Hughes
    2019-01-18 07:01

    Thank you, NetGalley, for the arc.Delightful. Mixed media makes this historical figure come to life and feel contemporary. As our language changes from the use of technology, one can see that language always has evolved. Entertaining.

  • Maria Caplin
    2019-01-18 10:57

    I love words! The history of Noah Webster fascinates me. As I read this book I already can see it as a mentor text for every subject not just word study. The author's note, timeline, quotes and primary sources will be an added treasure to my summer finds basket.

  • Meredith
    2019-01-17 07:06

    So much fun! May use for Mock Caldecott and then add to my Grade 2 curriculum. I've been meaning to do something about new words being added to the dictionary for a while now. This is the perfect jumping-off point.

  • Maureen Tully
    2019-01-16 14:25

    Highly entertaining and informative! Additional information (author's and illustrator's notes, timeline, sources) at the end was equally good.

  • Melissa
    2019-01-08 09:57

    Great to introduce the boys to another famous figure from the revolutionary era of American history. Especially one who was able to declare independence with his pen rather than a gun.

  • Moniqa
    2019-01-08 10:06

    Very fun, funny, and fascinating

  • Jennifer
    2018-12-31 14:07

    Outstanding picture book biography about Noah Webster with a fun twist - the "ghost" of Noah also weighs in on the facts.

  • Amli
    2019-01-11 06:58

    One of the best biographies ever written for children! The artwork is beyond fantastic and the writing is interactive and accurate. Makes me want to read more books about the subject.