One of the characteristics of George Stephenson that stands out is his persistence and his interest in always working hard to better himself. If you are looking for an uplifting “character” book for children, you might enjoy The Rocket: The Story of the Stephensons, Father and Son by Helen Cross Knight.
God gives you work to do in the world. He gives you honourable work. There is much done that is mean and dishonourable. Depend upon it, that is not His. In the beginning of your work, character grows out of it; as you go on, your character goes into it. Therefore the Bible declares that “God, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man’s work.” We judge in the same way. This little book will show you how much the practice of the virtues, the humbler virtues, has to do with making good work.
This illustrated book written for young children begins with Stephenson in the colliery and follows his life through railroads and the contest with “Puffing Billy.” Stephenson and his son are largely credited with opening the railroads in England.
Stephen’s story is an interesting one. He started in the coal pits and through perseverance and trials ended up “making good” and becoming a very wealthy man. Yet he remained humble.
Helen Cross Knight handles the story by focusing on the character of the inventor. Some may find the book contains too much moralizing (pointing out things that could probably speak for themselves). Nevertheless it is an interesting read and would make a fun read aloud.
George and Robert Stephenson took their rank among the great men of England—that class of great men who contribute to the true prosperity of the world, by giving it better tools to do its labour with. A good tool is a great civilizer. The more perfect the instrument, the better the work. The more perfect the instrument, the greater the number of persons benefited; for the sagacity necessary to invention and discovery, and the intelligence required to mature them, are large-hearted and broad-minded. They work for the many, not for the few.
We covered Stephenson in our free science studies. You’ll also find more about him in our Steam Locomotive unit.
The Rocket makes a great addition to both — and it’s free!
- Read online
- Various formats (EPUB, Kindle)
Free Science Studies: George Stephenson & the Locomotive
Resources in our free science studies based on the book Great Inventors and their Inventions.
The Steam Locomotive: A Unit Study
More resources and history.