by Robert Byrd
Dial, 2012. Unpaged. Nonfiction
Electric Ben is the ever-so-worthy winner of a Sibert Honor award last month, given by the American Library Association in January of each year for the best nonfiction works for children published during the previous year. Hardly any of our founding fathers has received more attention than Franklin in children's and adult texts, but this book stands out even in that crowded field. Because Franklin's political endeavors came late in his life, Byrd spends a fair share of the book considering Franklin's scientific accomplishments and his life as a printer and writer. His work on the Declaration of Independence and his measured and sage advice to the Continental Congress are also highlighted. And it is good to know that "Benjamin Franklin's final position as a public servant was as president of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery." Such an interesting man! We have not seen his like before or since. Byrd's bright--even electrical--illustrations are a perfect extension of his glittering text. Don't miss it.