Title: Who's Saying What in Jamestown, Thomas Savage?
Author: Jean Fritz
Illustrator: Sally Wern Comport
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 5.5
Concepts: Human resources, jobs, training, education
Review: Thirteen years old and orphaned, Thomas Savage left England in 1607 to seek a different way of life in the new settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. On the first supply ship to support the newly established Jamestown settlement, he worked as a cabin boy for Captain Christopher Newport. Shortly after reaching Jamestown, Newport and Captain John Smith asked Thomas to live with the Algonquian Indians in order to learn their language and become an interpreter and message carrier between the Indians and the English settlers. This fascinating book, based on historical fiction, describes Thomas’s experiences living with the Algonquians and befriending the children, including Pocahontas, as well as their King Powhatan. He courageously carried out his duties as interpreter, even during violent conflicts that put his loyalties to test.
This book, published in 2007 at the time of Jamestown’s 400 year anniversary, tells an interesting story about a real person in American history who we know little about. Woven throughout the story are a number of economics lessons, including the importance of natural resources, human resources, jobs, scarcity, trade, and barter. With its rich historical and economics content, this sixty-page book makes an excellent addition to any collection of children’s books.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children