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June 28

Esther Forbes, author of Johnny Tremain, was born in 1891.

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Esther Forbes, author of Johnny Tremain, was born in 1891.

Grades 3 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Written more than 60 years ago, Johnny Tremain is a children's literature classic that continues to find a place in classrooms around the country. Esther Forbes published several books, but is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1943 biography, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In, and Johnny Tremain, a 1943 Newbery Medal winner.




Have students explore the genre of historical fiction by writing original works. Introduce students to some different types of historical fiction. Some good selections for the Revolutionary War era, in addition to Johnny Tremain, are other fictionalized biographies such as Guns for General Washington: A Story of the American Revolution by Seymour Reit, or Emma's Journal: The Story of a Colonial Girl by Marissa Moss.

Have students select an historical event they have studied in class, and decide on a format for their story. For example, students can write a first-person narrative, a journal or diary entry, or a fictionalized biography. Students can select different subjects for their writing. Alternatively, have the whole class write on the same topic, and then compare all the finished pieces.



  • Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes

    This resource includes a brief synopsis of Johnny Tremain and a list of related texts. Also featured is a printable study guide that offers classroom activities, graphic organizers, and more.


  • Why & How I Teach with Historical Fiction

    Scholastic offers this article by Tarry Lindquist on using historical fiction in the classroom. The page provides practical suggestions in addition to annotated lists of literature at four grade levels.


  • Language Arts: Novel Guides

    McDougal Littell's ClassZone offers these ideas for teaching Johnny Tremain.


  • Liberty! The American Revolution

    Learn more about the history of the American Revolution at this companion site to the PBS documentary. The site features a detailed chronology of the period, as well as games and activities.


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Grades   6 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

What Did George Post Today? Learning About People of the American Revolution Through Facebook

After researching famous people of the American Revolution, students create Facebook-like PowerPoint presentations to share their knowledge with classmates.


Grades   6 – 10  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Blending the Past with Today's Technology: Using Prezi to Prepare for Historical Fiction

To prepare for literature circles featuring historical novels, students research the decades of the 1930s to the 1990s and share their information using Prezi, a web application for creating multimedia presentations.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Learning About Research and Writing Using the American Revolution

Students across the board will get a kick out of researching a historical figure from the American Revolution to create an acrostic poem.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Looking for the History in Historical Fiction: An Epidemic for Reading

This lesson pairs the reading of historical fiction with nonfiction to introduce students to the large themes of history.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Book Report Alternative: Writing Resumes for Characters in Historical Fiction

Students write resumes for historical fiction characters. They first explore help wanted ads to see what employers want, and then draft resumes for the characters they've chosen.