Home About Books Appearances Awards & Raves Contact
Jeri Chase Ferris

Noah Webster & His Words

Noah Webster and His Words


Attention: Teachers!

Here are complimentary teacher activity guides and lesson plans for NOAH. I know you'll find them helpful, a fun way for your students to learn, AND they are aligned with the Common Core Standards. Enjoy!

CCSSI Annotated Discussion & Activity Guide
(pdf file)

Noah Study Guide

Big honors for NOAH!

The National Council for the Social Studies has named NOAH a 2013 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Children. Review says "Noah Webster's American Dictionary played an influential role in the development of a common language in the United States. The author does an excellent job telling the story of Noah Webster and why he decided to develop the American Dictionary. Author's Note, Bibliography, Timeline." 

2013 Golden Kite Award from The Society of Children's Writers & Illustrators for Best Nonfiction of 2012.

2013 Eureka! Award (silver honor book) from the California Reading Association for Excellence in Nonfiction.

Horn Book Review

NOAH WEBSTER & HIS WORDS (HoughtonMifflin/Harcourt, Oct. 2012)

Ferris presents a unique and inspiring cradle-to-grave biography that offers more than just simple chronology of the patriot and dictionary-writer’s life. Even as a child, Noah knew that farming wasn’t for him: he “wanted to be a SCHOL-AR (noun: one who goes to school; a person who knows a lot).” He attends Yale, teaches school, and promotes the idea of a strong national government. Most telling is his belief that federalism should be extended to language, one devoid of fancy English spellings (American plow instead of British plough, for example) and one with standardized spellings. “He would write a DIC-TION-AR-Y (noun: a book listing words in ABC order, telling what they mean and how to spell them).” The incorporation of words with their definitions (from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, natch) is seamlessly done, creating opportunities for vocabulary development and readers’ theater, but also, and most importantly, concretely showing what Webster’s work was all about. Kirsch’s humorous illustrations highlight important moments and build to the story’s climax when Noah, with shaky hand, writes the final entry in his book: “ZY-GO-MAT-IC (adj.: related to the cheek bone).” An illustrated timeline, author’s note, bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and websites complete the useful and entertaining volume.

The Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California has given NOAH its 2012 Distinguished Book Award for "outstanding literary merit, high quality of illustration and design, and contribution to a child's understanding of the world."

Noah always knew he was right. 
But about what?

You'll find out in this book.
You'll also learn how Noah helped our brand-new country, the United States of America, stay united!

Enjoy the video on NOAH

Sample Pages 

sample pagessample pages

Here’s NOAH with his Golden Kite Award gold seal. Look closely and you’ll find the actual Golden Kite statuette.
Better than an Oscar!

Jeri Chase Ferris

NOAH is on the cover of the California Reading Association’s summer 2014 California Reader magazine! The CRA supports reading and language arts teachers from kindergarten through university, so NOAH will travel the whole state of California. See how great he looks on the magazine cover against a royal purple background (please quickly skip the first blank-ish page). Also, scroll down for an interview with me and, at the very bottom, some ways to use NOAH in the classroom.


Nate loves Noah Webster! Good reading, Nate!

Nate holding the book

Selected by the Junior Library Guild for their Fall 2012 catalog

Starred review in Publisher's Weekly

Starred (and great) review in School Library Journal!
NY Times Sunday Book Review (Nov. 11, 2012)

Hoorahs from the Huffington Post for NOAH

Good review in Booklist

Great review in Horn Book.

Starred and "highly recommended" review in Library Media Connection.

"Pick of the month" from California Kids!

Just some excerpts from this great, long review: 
"The clever text, insertion of dictionary words, and hilarious illustrations make this a perfect book for everyone who loves words. Don't miss the detailed timeline, "Noah Webster and the New United States of America" that ties Webster's work to concurrent events in American history. This is a book to remember!"


Kirkus Review


A charming introduction to Noah Webster, creator of “the second most popular book ever printed in English, after the Bible.”

Noah Webster loved words and wanted to be a scholar, so at age 15 he entered Yale University and became a teacher. When the Revolutionary War was over, he wanted to write a “second Declaration of Independence,” an American spelling book that would systematize American spelling. At a time when Americans spelled words any which way—“mosquito, moskito, miscitoe, misqutor, muskeetor”—this was a way to further unite Americans. He followed his speller with a grammar text, and eventually, at age 70, published his American Dictionary of the English Language. What could have been as dry as a, well, dictionary is here made lively and enjoyable, with appealing cartoonish illustrations and a clear and lively text. ...the volume is a wonderful success in introducing Webster in such a charming manner.

Future wordsmiths may be IN-SPIRED [verb: stimulated] by Webster’s devotion to the English language. (timeline, more about Noah Webster, bibliography, websites) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Starred review from School Library Journal!

K-Gr 3–Best known today for his dictionary, Webster was an important figure in early American education. As the new nation was forming, he championed the idea of standardized spellings and usage. He simplified British words, such as “plough” to “plow,” and published the first American schoolbooks. This picture-book biography bursts with charm in telling Webster’s story. The author puts some words into dictionary form as a reminder of Webster’s claim to fame. For example, instead of a farmer, “Noah wanted to be SCHOL-AR [noun: one who goes to school; a person who knows a lot].” The watercolor-and-pencil cartoon illustrations are a perfect complement to the text. A page describing Webster’s high self-confidence depicts him with a huge head. An image of young Noah nose to nose with his irritated father is both funny and telling. Primary and secondary sources are listed, as are websites for more information and activities. This informative book would be a great addition to dictionary lessons or to studies of the formation of the United States.

Lyla and Connor enjoying NOAH in South Carolina.

Connor and Lyla



Home | About | Books | Appearances | Awards & Raves | Contact

© Jeri Chase Ferris
Website by North Star Design
Noah & His Words What Are You Figuring Now? Remember the Ladies Thomas Jefferson With Open Hands Demanding Justice Walking the Road to Freedom Go Free or Die Native American Doctor What I Had Was Singing Artic Explorer