Johnny Tremain

by Esther Forbes

Other authorsLynd Ward (Illustrator)
Paper Book, 2011



Local notes

PB For




Boston : Graphia, [2011].


After injuring his hand, a silversmith's apprentice in Boston becomes a messenger for the Sons of Liberty in the days before the American Revolution.


Original publication date


Physical description

300 p.; 20 cm

Media reviews

Children's Literature
Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature) To read Johnny Tremain is to live through two dramatic years of our country's history, and to see these great events through the shrewd eyes of an observant boy. After injuring his hand, this silversmith's apprentice in Boston becomes a messenger for the Sons
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of Liberty in the days before the American Revolution. His new role brings Johnny Tremain in contact with the great men of history: John Hancock, John and Samuel Adams, and other Boston patriots. The story leads up to the Tea Party and Battle of Lexington. Ward has sharpened the drama of the story by adding full-page illustrations. 1944 Newbery Award.
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1 more
Recorded Books
Recorded Books (Recorded Books, LLC.) There was a purpose in what happened to Johnny Tremain, but he couldn’t see it at the time. Johnny had been Mr. Lapham’s star pupil, a clever, industrious apprentice silversmith, if not always well liked, at least envied by all who knew him around
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Hancock’s Wharf. His skills had even been admired by Paul Revere, the finest silversmith in Boston. But when Johnny seriously burns his hand in a furnace, he finds himself crippled, without an occupation, and with no means of taking care of himself. It seems that fate has literally dealt him a cruel hand. Soon, trouble reaches Johnny’s life in a new way. Swept along in the tide of events leading to the Boston Tea Party and the first skirmishes of Lexington and Concord, Johnny finds a job as message-carrier for the Sons of Liberty. As young and old men alike make sacrifices for a new country, Johnny prepares to take his own stand in the cause for freedom.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I was amazed by how much I liked this. I don't normally like historical fiction and had never read this as a child, but I wish I had. All the details of life in the colonies as the Tories and the Whigs became more extremist come alive. I feel I know a lot more about how disagreements can lead to
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war in general, and a lot more about Boston in the early 1770s especially.

Johnny's story isn't just young boy makes good, but a true coming-of-age, despite exterior challenges and inner demons. The other characters are richly and sympathetically drawn, whether a black laundress or Sam Adams. The language is beautiful, graceful & poetic but not at all self-conscious. It's interesting, and exciting, and even often funny - one hardly knows one is learning anything.

In fact, I'd started out to rate this 4 stars, but now I have to bump it up. I really do recommend it to everyone.
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LibraryThing member kagetzfred
This book tells the story of a selfish and immature little boy who slowly develops into a decent young man through a scarring accident. As a silversmith apprentice, Johnny burns his hand and is unable to continue his job. Several other young characters along the way help him to establish a new life
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through a different job that Johnny is able to do as well as drawing him into the actions and lead ups to the Revolutionary War. This story can be used in the classroom to show how important maturity is in an individual and what are some important traits that can be compared and contrasted. It also can be used to teach about key leaders and events that led up to the Revolution in America, incoporating history and geography.
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LibraryThing member NiPe0706
Good Book. goes with what i am learning in school.
LibraryThing member cmbohn
Johnny is apprentice to a silversmith in Boston. When an accident leaves Johnny burned and unable to work, he has to find a new way of life. He settles in to a new home and starts meeting some very prominent citizens - John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Josiah Quincy - and before long, he is
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thrown in to the cause of liberty. Johnny's friendships are tested and he must figure out how he can best be a patriot himself.

I liked this book. I don't know how I managed to miss reading it before now. I guess I might have read it as a girl and forgotten it. But it was good to read it again, with all the stuff I've read about the Revolutionary War fresh in my mind. One of the things I appreciated is that there are very few clear bad guys or good guys. Both the British soldiers and the rebels believe in their cause, but on a personal level, they could easily be friends. But once shots are fired, those friendships have to be put aside for the cause of the war. I also liked how Johnny grows up during the course of the book, from a self-centered, cocky boy to a sober young man. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member jckeen
Johnny Tremain is an anchor book for Children's Historical Fiction. The classic tale of a boy growing up in colonial Boston, the story is more than just a patriotic romp against the British, though. When we first meet Johnny, he is a talented and somewhat arrogant silversmith's apprentice. A
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horrible accident burns and deforms his hand, however, and Johnny is transformed. He becomes morose and unsure of himself.

When he goes to work for a printer, he winds up meeting members of the Sons of Liberty. There he learns about the issues facing Boston under British rule. As he takes up with the Patriots, Johnny begins to learn more about himself as well. He matures and gains more confidence.

Having family in Boston, and loving history, I enjoyed all of the references to local Boston places. For anyone who reads this novel and ever walks that city's streets, it is hard not to think back to Johnny Tremain.
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LibraryThing member cbl_tn
Johnny Tremain is a coming of age story set in Revolutionary Era Boston. The title character is an apprentice silversmith with the promise of becomeing a master craftsman. Johnny flounders when circumstances force him to look for another trade, and he finds a role model in the slightly older Rab
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Silsbee. Johnny plays a key role in events leading up to the first battle of the Revolutionary War, including Paul Revere's famous midnight ride.

History comes to life in Johnny's story in a way that will engage young readers. Readers feel the ambivalence of both Redcoats and Patriots as the opposing factions coexist in Boston in the months and weeks leading up to the war. Collectively the British soldiers are the enemy, yet there is mutual respect between individuals on opposing sides. The story is unevenly paced, with the emphasis on period details sometimes causing the plot to drag a bit. The book would be a good supplemental reading selection for upper elementary and middle school students of U.S. history.
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LibraryThing member katieloucks
I read this for a 7th grade report, and absolutely loved it!
LibraryThing member debnance
I was familiar with the story, a tale from the American Revolution. A boy, a silversmith apprentice, burns his hand in an accident that occurs while working on a Sunday (illegally) in haste. The boy, Johnny Tremain, is left unable to work as a silversmith apprentice. He is filled with despair. He
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is befriended by a kind boy, Rab, and together they are able to earn money by caring for horses. The job allows the boys to come into contact with British soldiers and to obtain secret information the boys can then pass on to the revolutionaries. I wasn’t as satisfied with the story as I’d thought I’d be. The characters, especially those who were actual people from history, felt flat, one-dimensional. Johnny seemed too prideful, too selfish, too judgmental for a reader to love, to serve as a main character. The words and actions of the characters seemed false, overly heroic, like the words and actions our mighty American forefathers should have used and should have done.
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LibraryThing member mrsarey
A wonderfull novel set in Revolutionary Boston. Johnny is an apprentice to a silversmith and lives with the family, though not really a part of it. The novel is littered with famous personas, bringing to life the world of Boston as it led to the Revolution.
LibraryThing member daniinnc
This is one of those books where you really feel like you have been through a lifetime with someone because so many things happen. The ending wasn't the greatest but at least there was a sense of hope.
LibraryThing member lisabankey
Young Johnny Tremain suffered a hand injury while working with silver smith. He ends up running messages for a paper that was supporting the American Revolution. Johnny rubs elbows with Paul Revere, John Adams, and John Hancock. Johnny Tremain witnesses events like the Boston Tea Party and Paul
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Revere's ride. He even gets involved the the Revolutionary War.
This historical fiction novel is great to extend any American History unit for Middle School and High School. It gives a perspective from the colonists view and some of the British about England's rule over the American colonies.
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LibraryThing member StephJoan
I just finished reading this to my girls. It took me forever to get through it. I remember reading it as a young girl and loving it. I liked it this time, but I didn't love it. I think that it was bad luck to have it take so long to read. I often don't have time to read at night so by the time I
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finished it I felt relief to be done rather than joy for the story.
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LibraryThing member Omrythea
I was made to read this as a child and I really hated it.
LibraryThing member marybetha
Johnny Remain, a young apprentice silversmith, is caught up in the danger and the excitement of Boston in the 1770's, just before the Revolutionary War. Johnny can't help being swept along by the powerful curents that will lead to the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington. But even more
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gripping than living thought the drama of Revolutionary Boston is the important discovery Johnny makes about his own life. He is able to help also even though he has injured his hand and can no longer use it to help in the silversmith shop. In the end, he learns that there is a procedure that can separate his thumb from the rest of his hand so that he will be able to have more of a use for it.
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LibraryThing member bell7
Johnny Tremain is an apprentice to a silversmith in Boston right before the American Revolution. One of his fellow 'prentices plays a trick on Johnny, causing him to burn his hand in such a way that he can no longer ply his trade. In despair, Johnny seeks out a new trade. He meets the Sons of
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Liberty and finds himself involved with the beginnings of the Revolutionary War.

I first read this book when I was in elementary school or middle school, and remembered enjoying it quite a bit. Different aspects of it stood out to me this time around - I remembered his relationship with Cilla quite differently from how it actually was, for example - and it didn't seem quite the same story I remembered. Also, as an audiobook, I had the added layer of the narrator, a woman with an American accent that used an English accent for the soldiers, a choice I found extremely distracting. I've left the book unrated because it took a full month to read/listen, and as a result I couldn't really remember what I'd thought about the beginning once I got to the end.
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LibraryThing member Dondra
Johnny Tremain is a story about the American Revolution and the principles of freedom and democracy it established throughout the world. Johnny is a young silversmith who is drawn into the war; he must learn to overcome the obstacles in his path through his courage and determination. In the end,
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the war ends but the outcome of Johnny is unknown.
This story was very long but interesting. At some points, I didn’t want to put the book down although my eyes were very exhausted and worn out. Johnny was a very brave young man with lots to offer at such a young age. This book is encouraging for young boys struggling with their identity.
Johnny Tremain would be great for a 5th grade history class. Although, it’s fiction it speaks of a lot of great historical points. It has mystery, excitement, tragedy and American history all in one. This was a great book and reminded me of the days I was in school reading novels like this one.
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LibraryThing member satyridae
I liked the story. I loathed Johnny. To my eye, Tremain exemplified everything there is to hate about the adolescent male and very little of the sweetness sometimes concealed within. That being said, the story itself was engaging and informative.
LibraryThing member bheinen
This historical fiction novel is about a teenage boy who is a silversmith's apprentice. He works hard until one day he badly hurts his hand and begins a downward spiral of bad luck. He loses his apprenticeship and Cilla, the girl he was betrothed to, and has nowhere to go. He ends up at a newspaper
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and gets a job there. He becomes a dedicated member of the Whig party and finds that Cilla is one as well. In the end the war is over, the Whigs are in power, and Johnny and Cilla begin a courtship.
I loved this novel when I read it first in 8th grade and I loved re-reading it now. It is a wonderful story of perserverance and triumph. It teaches many good lessons.
Extension ideas would to be connect this to a history lesson revolving around the Revolutionary War or to have students act out a skit about how life was back then.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Historical fiction isn't my preferred genre and this novel didn't look all that interesting, but thank heavens it was on my list of Newberry winners! This was a great book. As I have gotten older I have thought a lot more about how important it is to understand how the United States came into being
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(at least for citizens of the country) and this is a great introduction to one aspect of that beginning. I'm thinking I'll be reading this one aloud to my kids. Johnny starts out as kind of obnoxious, but I liked watching him mature, and gradually joining the revolution as he begins to catch a glimpse of the importance of human life and dignity and freedom.
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LibraryThing member libby.gorman
The American revolution is definitely overly glorified, but the coming of age story is great, and I always remember the line, "Priscilla Tremain. Now that's a fine name."
LibraryThing member BrynDahlquis
Actually made me interested in American history, specifically the Revolution. That in itself is a feat, so this is definitely a good historical novel.
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
Johnny Tremain may not be the most creative of titles for Esther Forbes's John Newbery Medal award winning book, but it's most appropriate as it tells the story of two years in the life of fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain. Johnny is one of several silversmith apprentices living with the Lapham
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family in Boston, Massachusetts. The year is 1773 and silversmiths are in high demand. Johnny is the most gifted artisan for someone so young and he knows it. The other apprentices are jealous until one day there is an accident and Johnny's right hand is badly maimed by molten silver. Ultimately, he loses his place with the Laphams and must find other means of employment. It isn't long before Johnny finds a second calling. He is good with horses and becomes a dispatch rider for the Committee of Public Safety. This job brings him into the company of important men like Samuel Adams and John Hancock. It is at this point where famous events in history like the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington are woven into Johnny's story. Fact and fiction are seamless.
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LibraryThing member sweetsinger364
Very intricate but amazingly written.
LibraryThing member pamela12286
I read this book when I was in fourth grade. It is a good historical fiction story about the beginning of the American Revolution. This would be a good book to red while learning more about the American Revolution. There are a few images throughout the book. They are simple black and white drawing
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that fit with the era the book was written about.
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LibraryThing member arielfl
Another book assigned to the daughter to read in middle school. I missed it when I was kid so I read it to help her out. Of course she hated it and declared it boring just like Red Badge of Courage but I found a lot to like.

When we meet Johnny Tremain he is an apprentice in a silver smith shop. He
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is very arrogant but he has the talent to back it up. He goes against his very religious masters wishes and breaks the sabbath to finish a commission by John Hancock. The other apprentices who don't like him decide to teach him a lesson and hand him a cracked crucible when he is ready to pour the molten silver. An accident occurs resulting in the Johnny's hand being crippled. As he can no longer make silver he becomes a burden on the family he is living with. His mother was someone of importance but broke from the family before she passed away. With no where else to turn Johnny tries to connect with his wealthy relations the Lyte family. He presents proof of his relationship to them but his uncle has him thrown in jail. Luckily he is rescued by his new friend Rab who is a Son of liberty. Thus begins Johnny's new life and maturity as a patriot. Johnny meets several notable historical figures such as Sam Adams and Paul Revere. He even gets to participate in the Boston Tea Party. The events in the story lead up to the first shots being fired in the American Revolution.
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