My Name Is James Madison Hemings

My Name Is James Madison Hemings


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A New York Times Notable Book 

A powerful historical picture book about the child of founding father Thomas Jefferson and the enslaved Sally Hemings.

In an evocative first-person account accompanied by exquisite artwork, Winter and Widener tell the story of James Madison Hemings’s childhood at Monticello, and, in doing so, illuminate the many contradictions in Jefferson’s life and legacy. Though Jefferson lived in a mansion, Hemings and his siblings lived in a single room. While Jefferson doted on his white grandchildren, he never showed affection to his enslaved children. Though he kept the Hemings boys from hard field labor—instead sending them to work in the carpentry shop—Jefferson nevertheless listed the children in his “Farm Book” along with the sheep, hogs, and other property. Here is a profound and moving account of one family’s history, which is also America’s history.

An author's note includes more information about Hemings, Jefferson, and the author's research.

"This gentle, emotional book is a reminder that many presidents’ biographies have distressing aspects. . . . A simple but historically solid introduction to some of the moral crises slavery presented for our nation." —The New York Times

"Through a poignant first-person monologue, Winter imagines the peculiar upbring- ing of Virginia slave James Madison Hemings, son of Thomas Jefferson and his enslaved mistress, Sally Hemings.”—Bulletin, starred review 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385383424
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 10/25/2016
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 1,073,085
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: AD910L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 9 Years

About the Author

Jonah Winter, author of the New York Times bestselling picture-book biography Barack, has written more than thirty highly acclaimed books for children, including Lillian’s Right to Vote, which received four starred reviews; You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book and a Booklist Top of the List; You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book; and Here Comes the Garbage Barge!, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year. Learn more at

Terry Widener has collaborated with Jonah Winter on two previous picture books: Steel Town and You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! He is the illustrator of many award-winning picture books, such as Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Adler, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book and an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book; The Babe & I, also by David A. Adler, recipient of the California Young Reader Medal; and Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings by Deborah Hopkinson, a Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner and a Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Book of the Year. Visit him at

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