The Story of Henry Ford, A Biography Book for New Readers

by Jenna Grodzicki


Jenna Grodzicki is an author of fiction and non-fiction works for kiddos with nearly 25 books published to date. In addition she’s a K-4 school’s librarian specialist turned fulltime writer. This is her first automotive-oriented title, but hopefully not her last for, after all, she is the proud owner of her own 1956 Ford Fairlane. 

In a time when there is so much discussion on automotive hobby websites, forums, and in print as well as numerous conversations regarding encouraging youthful interest and participation in old cars, having books such as this The Story of Henry Ford, A Biography Book for New Readers is one very targeted, age-appropriate just-for-them approach. Moreover your commentator was pleased to find that Grodzicki treated her readers responsibly by portraying Ford realistically; curious, inventive, clever and influential yet possessing less than respectful views of some others and other unattractive traits. 

The Story of Henry Ford opens with his childhood when, as the eldest of six, “his brothers and sisters wouldn’t let him touch their new toys. They knew if Henry got his hands on them, their toys would soon be” disassembled as he sought to discover how they were put together or worked. Grodzicki then describes the world as it existed in the 1860s introducing and describing such concepts as the American Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. All of these unfamiliar concepts and words are described again as entries in the end-of-the-book Glossary.

Katya Longhi, a native of Italy where she also resides and works, created the 22 illustrations used in the book such as this one showing Henry Ford driving the first car, the Model A, made by his 1903-established Ford Motor Company.

The key events, achievements, and people of Henry’s life are neatly encapsulated for the youthful reader including both Clara and Edsel with his life summed up in a concluding section of the narrative titled “Henry’s Legacy” and rightly include his museum and Greenfield Village. The narrative concludes with “Henry wasn’t perfect. But there is no denying the impact he had on the American people. In short, he put the world on wheels. 

The very last chapter invites the reader to “take a little quiz” of ten questions adding that each should “Feel free to look back in the book to find the answers if need be, but try to remember first!”

Sidebar boxes such as those seen in this image are scattered throughout the book to further engage the young reader’s mind and enhance comprehension of the text. Each “Jump in the Think Tank” poses a different question asking for the reader’s own opinion. The “When” entries reinforce the timeline and “Myth & Fact” offset popularly conceived notions with realities.

In addition to the above mentioned Glossary, the book contains at the end a summation of “some of the ways Henry’s work is still having an impact today, more than 100 years later” and a Bibliography. This fine little book is perfect to present to any in the targeted age group whom you might know. And with so many wonderful personalities and stories in the realm of the automobile, we can only hope that Jenna Grodzicki might be compelled to write the “Story of” additional ones soon.

The Story of Henry Ford, A Biography Book for New Readers
by Jenna Grodzicki
Rockridge Press/Calista Media, 2022
68 pages, 22 illustrations, 3 maps, 3 photos, softcover
Bibliography and glossary
List Price: $6.99
ISBN 13: 978 8 88650 343 2

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