Benjamin Franklin Resources
Dates covered: 1706-1790
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- The Landmark History of the American People, Volume I
- American History: A Visual Encyclopedia
- The Beginner’s American History
- The Secret of the Sealed Room (pending)
- Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia (pending)
Arts and Crafts:
Books (All Ages):
Benjamin Franklin: Scientists at Work This title introduces budding scientists to Benjamin Franklin whose discoveries changed science. Photos and illustrations bring the stories of this great mind to life, and a quiz lets readers test their newfound knowledge. Level 2.9.
The Whistle a short, easy-to-read book based on a story written by Benjamin Franklin himself about the time he bought a whistle for himself and learned a lifelong lesson.
Younger to Middle Students
A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin Picture book biography of his childhood experiences.
A Picture Book of Benjamin Franklin Adler highlights Franklin’s stunning accomplishments and his day-to-day life from his time as a young boy in Boston, Massachusetts through his role as the oldest delegate to the Constitutional Congress at the age of 81. Picture Book. Level 4.3.
Ben Franklin: Printer, Author, Inventor, Politician He is one of the most famous faces in our history. We see his image on coins, notes, souvenirs, and logos. But how well do we know Franklin, a famous politician, statesman, writer, activist, and inventor? Take a fresh look at the man behind the genius. Level 4.7.
Ben Franklin and His First Kite Before Ben’s famous kite experiment, he had other kite-themed experiments. Here is one from his childhood. Picture book. Level 2 Ready-to-Read. Level 2.5.
Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares easy reader mini-biography plus an introduction to his math game, Magic Squares. Level 3.6. Pennsylvania. Younger to Middle students.
Ben Franklin Thinks Big The life of Ben Franklin, a key leader in the founding of the United States, is introduced in this early reader biography. Level 3.6.
Ben Franklin’s Glass Armonica Describes the new musical instrument invented by Ben Franklin for which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven composed music. Early Reader.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Genius, Graphic Novel, A biography examining Benjamin Franklin and his leadership as a statesman, scientist, and inventor. Level 4.0.
Benjamin Franklin Details the life of this famous American from his boyhood as one of the youngest of seventeen children, to his teen years as an apprentice in his brother’s print shop and his later years as an inventor, statesman, diplomat, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Children and adults alike will enjoy learning about the fascinating life Franklin led from the lively text and beautiful illustrations of this d’Aulaire classic. Folk art style illustrations are enhanced with pert aphorisms from Poor Richard’s Almanac on each page.
Benjamin Franklin: Biographics Graphic novels aren’t just for superheroes! Benjamin Franklin has been plucked from history books and his life and accomplishments have been depicted in informative nonfiction graphic novels. Level 4.1.
Benjamin Franklin Readers will explore the life and times of historic figures in the Icons series. Each book features a remarkable individual who has left their mark in history, exploring key life events, influences, and inspirations, how they overcame obstacles, and their achievements and successes. Icons is a series of AV2 media-enhanced books. These books come alive with video, audio, weblinks, slide shows, activities, hands-on experiments, and more.
How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning The story of Ben Franklin’s capturing of electric energy from the lightning; picture book. Level 5.1.
I am Benjamin Franklin Driven by his curiosity from a young age, Benjamin Franklin’s observations about the world led to key discoveries about electricity and other contributions that remain important today. Biography, level 4. Pennsylvania.
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France, picture book about how Benjamin Franklin uncovered the secrets behind Dr. Mesmer’s mysterious work, level 5.0.
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin A look at Ben Franklin and his inventions, both in the past and how they changed how we live today, in side-by-side comparisons. Picture book. Level 5.1.
The Value of Saving: The Story of Benjamin Franklin A brief biography of the outstanding 18th-century printer, inventor, and statesman, emphasizing the value of saving in his life.
What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin A fun historical tale by Newbery Honor-winning author, Jean Fritz. Level 5.5. Pennsylvania.
When I Grow Up: Benjamin Franklin Reader Level 3, These easy readers are the perfect introductory biography series for young children. Each book will feature a recognizable figure and will take the reader on an exciting journey from obscure childhood to famed adulthood. Aspirational first-person text will be accompanied by a mixture of illustrations and photographs. Told from Ben Franklin’s point of view. Level 4.7.
Who Was Ben Franklin? Nonfiction, part of the Who Was series, Level 4.4.
Amazing Ben Franklin Inventions You Can Build Yourself provides detailed step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and templates for creating each project. Historical facts and anecdotes, biographies, and trivia support the projects and teach readers about the courage, creativity, and determination of Ben Franklin and America coming into its own.
Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos Ever wonder where inventors get their ideas? As it turns out, the great inventor Benjamin Franklin got his best ideas from a mouse named Amos! Once you’ve met Amos and read his account, you’ll never think of Ben Franklin or American history-quite the same way. Level 6.9.
Benjamin Franklin: Young Printer Childhood of Young Americans biography of his life growing up. Level 3.9.
Benjamin Franklin A biography of Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States plus an inventor and scientist best known for his work with lightning and electricity, along with inventing the bifocal glasses. Level 3.8.
Benjamin Franklin Drawn from his own newspaper articles and personal recollections, a fascinating glimpse into the life of the brilliant printer, inventor, scientist, and statesman details his many accomplishments and contributions. Level 5.4.
The Story of Benjamin Franklin: A Biography Book for New Readers Discover the life of Benjamin Franklin—a story about curiosity, big ideas, and helping others for kids. Lexile 820/5th grade. Pennsylvania.
Middle to Older Students
Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia Landmark series. Benjamin Franklin was one of the busiest men in the American colonies. He was a printer, a postmaster, an inventor, a writer, and a diplomat. When the Revolutionary War began, Ben supported America in the Continental Congress. Like the clever adages from his Poor Richard’s Almanac, Ben Franklin still sets an example for Americans today.
Ben Franklin’s Almanac (Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman’s Life) Printed like his almanac this witty and uniquely structured book is filled with snippets of not only Franklin’s revered wit, but his life as well. Part Biography, part quotes, part history book, you’ll learn all about the various aspects of Ben Franklin’s private and public life. Arranged in chronological and topical order, read about his boyhood through his time working with the founders, which he kept until his death. Level 8.0.
Benjamin Franklin: American Genius; His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities Author Brandon Marie Miller captures the essence of this exceptional individual through both his original writings and hands-on activities from the era. Readers will design and print an almanac cover, play a simple glass armonica (a Franklin invention), experiment with static electricity, build a barometer, and more. The text also includes a timeline, glossary, Web and travel resources, and reading list for further study.
Benjamin Franklin: Giants of Science Benjamin Franklin is a famous colonial inventor and multitasker who may be best remembered as one of America’s Founding Fathers. But he was also a “natural philosopher” (the term for scientists back in the 1700s), whose experiments led to important discoveries about the nature of electricity—including his famous demonstration that electricity and lightning were one and the same. Level 8.6.
Benjamin Franklin: Live Wire Biography by Janet and Geoff Benge. Grade level 5-6. Pennsylvania.
Benjamin Franklin and Electricity Cornerstones of Freedom series. Describes Benjamin Franklin’s interest in electricity, his experiments, and the impact of his scientific investigations on future scientists.
Meet Benjamin Franklin Landmark series. Young Benjamin Franklin could do almost anything. At the age of 12, he worked at a print shop. By 15, he had started writing in his brother’s newspaper. His funny writing and clever advice became famous all over the colonies. Ben invented the lightning rod, a new kind of stove, and many other things that improved people’s lives. When the colonies rebelled against England, Ben helped write the Declaration of Independence and the new Constitution. One of the most respected men of his time, Benjamin Franklin remains a role model for Americans to this day.
The Ben Franklin Book of Easy and Incredible Experiments, Activities, Projects, and Science Fun Franklin Institute Science Museum shows you how to do your own exciting experiments Ben Franklin’s way. He used common objects such as cooking oil, a glass bottle, or pieces of colored cloth to chart the Gulf Stream, predict the weather, or measure how much a molecule weighs.
The Secret of the Sealed Room Indentured servant Patience Martin lives a hard life in 1721 Boston, but things get even harder when her demanding employer is found dead—in a bedroom locked from the inside. Powerful townsmen accuse Patience’s friend, Moll Bacon, of being a witch and the murderer, but with her own future in jeopardy. Ben Franklin is a clever young printer’s apprentice with a fondness for wise aphorisms. Ben risks his own skin to protect Patience, and his cunning and ingenuity are a perfect match for her courage and determination. But will their friendship and teamwork be enough to solve the mystery, clear Moll, and free Patience from a harsh life of servitude? Massachusetts.
Ben Franklin: Inventing America Eminent historian Thomas Fleming paints a lively portrait of this self-made man blessed with a wealth of talents: a best-selling author, the most important newspaper publisher in America, and a world-renowned scientist. A remarkable story of how Franklin worked behind the scenes to ensure the success of the American Revolution will inspire readers of all ages. Level 8.5.
- Benjamin Franklin (2002) – PBS Documentary (I have only watched about half of this so far, I hope to come back and finish it at some point)
- History Alive “Benjamin Franklin”
Movies (20 Minutes or Longer): (See Also: Videos)
Museums/Field Trips (including virtual):
- Ben Franklin Book of Recipes
- Poor Richard’s Almanac flip calendar
- Magic Squares The Mathematical Numbers activity created by Benjamin Franklin