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Download Jefferson's Sons Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Jeffersons Sons Audiobook, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,105 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Narrator: Adenrele Ojo Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9780307942326
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What does it mean when the man who wrote
the Declaration of Independence is your father
and also your slave master?
 
Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston are Thomas Jefferson’s children, but their mother is a slave, so they must keep their father’s identity secret. They get special treatment—better work, better shoes, even violin lessons—but they are still slaves. Their father has promised to set them all free when each turns twenty-one. Some of them are light-skinned enough that they will be able to enter white society—and thereby turn their backs on home forever. Others won’t have that option. So just what did their father mean when he wrote all men are created equal?
     Told in three parts from the points of view of three of Jefferson’s slaves—Beverly, Madison, and a third boy close to the Hemings family—these engaging and poignant voices shed light on what life was like as one of Thomas Jefferson’s invisible offspring.
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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michellet | 2/18/2014

    " Really good book about a topic seldom shared in history class. Yes, our founding fathers did have slaves and even children by them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie Stottlemyer | 2/16/2014

    " Slow start, but the characters are well-developed, and I quickly grew to care about what happened to them. I would suggest reading the afterword as a forward for the detailed notes about the extensive basis in fact. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 2/7/2014

    " I was in high school when I first heard that Thomas Jefferson (most scholars agree) fathered several children in the course of a 20-year relationship with his slave Sally Hemings. I wasn't really shocked that a Founding Father had an affair, having the media coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair fresh in my mind, but the idea that Thomas Jefferson had both black and white descendants was very intriguing to me. After reading Jefferson's Sons, a great historical fiction novel about the lives of Jefferson's children with Sally Hemings, as well as some of his other slaves, I learned that Jefferson's "black descendants" actually were seven-eighths white, and, having hid their parentage, three of the four living children passed into white society. The idea that the man who penned the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal..." owned slaves, and in fact owned his own children, is not an easy one to swallow. Nor is the question "Even if he gives his slaves 'treats,' they don't get beaten, and the slaves are taught to read, is there such thing as a 'good' slave owner?" or "Can a great man participate in evil?" These are heavy, thought-provoking questions, but my one quibble with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is that she asks them outright instead of letting the reader come to them on their own. Even so, Jefferson's Sons is a far more subtle book than I'd initially thought. At first, I was annoyed that Sally Hemings' boys had such a reverential view of "Master Jefferson," the man who, I figured had more or less repeatedly raped their mother. In the book, the Hemings-Jefferson affair is treated as more of a consensual relationship, but as it goes on, you begin to see that Hemings might just be trying to preserve her sons' innocence. Bradley takes the meager facts that we know about the Hemings' boys (fact: Maddy couldn't pass for white, the others could; fact: Beverly left Monticello at 21 and returned a few months later) and weaves them into a believable story. That she also profiles several boys who are friends with the Hemings boys serves as an interesting contrast. Why do these boys, with the same experiences, living on the same estate, get to have vastly different lives? Why are two boys and a girl spared the indignity of trying to buy their own freedom? The ending of Jefferson's Sons is rather heartbreaking, but it's not too heavy for the intended audience. A good pick for Black History Month. Ages 12-14 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Atkinson | 2/5/2014

    " Sometimes slow, sometimes repetitive, but a great attempt to tell the tale of Jefferson and his children by his slave. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin Sterling | 1/26/2014

    " Excellent historical fiction told from the perspectives of the children from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, his mistress who was a slave. Does a great job at grappling with the issue of an intelligent man who helped write a document claiming all men were created equal and also owned slaves from the perspective of children. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lakeview Librarian | 1/24/2014

    " Insight into the lives of Jefferson's children. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dede | 12/24/2013

    " Solid introduction to the "other History" for 7-10 grade "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lorelie | 12/24/2013

    " Being a huge fan of history I loved this book. It is very humbling to think about the sons of Jefferson walking past the Declaration of Independence on a daily basis knowing it did not apply to them. The cost of freedom was very high for the children of Jefferson. Great book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 11/14/2013

    " The kind of book that wins awards, but no one actually reads. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brandy Painter | 10/16/2013

    " My review can be found here. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 M | 8/31/2013

    " The Newbery buzz is spot on. This book is wonderfully written and so very important. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deborah Morgan | 8/22/2013

    " A book with the perspective of what it must have been like for the slave children of Thomas Jefferson. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Library Maven | 4/6/2013

    " Although I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and story, there was a 21st century feistyness in the dialog and actions. I doubt there was so much open discussion of "Daddy Jefferson." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy Larson | 1/31/2013

    " Slave son of Thomas Jefferson struggles with his relationship with his "father" and how that affects his identity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 KrisTina | 12/1/2012

    " I would give this book 2.5 stars if I could. An interesting take on the son's of Jefferson and Sally Hemings. So interesting to think about what Jefferson meant when it was written, "all men are created equal" while at the same time he was a slave-owner and father to several illegitimate children. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marsha Wiese | 10/13/2012

    " The history involved with this novel is fascinating...Thomas Jefferson's secret children by his slave Sally Heming. The book points out the irony of Jefferson be the father of our country..a country based on individual freedom and at the same time being a slaveholder. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Madeline | 4/25/2012

    " An interesting historical fiction book for upper gade schoolers about 20 years of Thomas Jeffersons life with his children including those he had with his slave wife Sally Hemmings....I found alot of interesting facts about life at Monticello and Jefferson and life as a slave. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danie | 10/27/2011

    " Pulls you into the story of Sally Hemings sons. The book is from the point of view that her sons father was Thomas Jeffersons. This is an excellent book that explains history from a point of view that should have been explained all along. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 10/16/2011

    " Sometimes slow, sometimes repetitive, but a great attempt to tell the tale of Jefferson and his children by his slave. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abby | 9/18/2011

    " A richly detailed historical novel based on the lives of Thomas Jefferson's sons with his slave Sally Hemmings. It's a book to sink your teeth into and savor, not a quick read. This will be a great addition to classrooms studying the Civil War and slavery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 M | 9/6/2011

    " The Newbery buzz is spot on. This book is wonderfully written and so very important. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn | 8/28/2011

    " Based on the real-life family of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, this story is told from the point of view of the children and another boy slave on the Monticello plantation during the later years of the president. Gr. 3-5. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 8/13/2011

    " I found this to be fascinating since it was a topic I knew very little about. A Middle School book and probably used best as a book study since there are several topics(slavery - who is and isn't and why) needing discussion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 7/21/2011

    " Read my forthcoming review in Book Page. "

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About the Author

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is the author of several books for children, including Leap of Faith, Jefferson’s Sons, and the Newbery Honor book The War that Saved My Life.

About the Narrator

Adenrele Ojo is an actress, dancer, and audiobook narrator, winner of over a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards for narration. She made her onscreen debut in My Little Girl, starring Jennifer Lopez, and has since starred in several other films. She has also performed extensively with the Philadelphia Dance Company. She works as the general manager of Tupu Kweli Theatre Company in New York.