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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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.…

Jefferson’s Sons

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Overall Book Review:

“You matter…not because of whose son you are. Because of who you are. You’re as important as every other human being that ever was or ever will be. Everyone matters.”

Jefferson’s Sons is a fictionalized account of what life might have been like for Thomas Jefferson’s four children from his slave Sally Hemings. Author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley presents the dilemmas of slavery in an age-appropriate manner while still managing to tell a heartfelt tale about family and friendship. Brubaker Bradley’s writing is engaging and she eloquently illustrates what a unique and challenging position these Hemings-Jefferson children were in. I would highly recommend Jefferson’s Sons as an excellent teaching tool and thought-provoking read for middle grade readers. 

Content Analysis:


Violence/Gore:  A character is smacked in the face by his mother and uncle; a child is spanked; a man is whipped in two separate occasions; a man is stabbed but survives.

Sex/Nudity:  Sexual reference to a character visiting Master Jefferson at night; sexual reference to a slave being purchased for her ability to have children. 

Mature Subject Matter:


Alcohol / Drug Use:

A man is described as a drunkard; a youth takes a sip of wine.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.