Jean Laf­fite: The Pirate Who Saved America

Susan Gold­man Rubin; Jeff Him­mel­man, illus.
  • Review
By – November 20, 2012

Many of the Jew­ish peo­ple liv­ing in Spain in the 1700s who were mis­treat­ed and ulti­mate­ly expelled became pri­va­teers, or pirates, to plun­der the Span­ish ships that sailed the Caribbean waters. One of the most notable was Jew­ish pirate, Jean Laf­fite. Author Susan Gold­man Rubin takes us on an excit­ing adven­ture, begin­ning with Laffite’s child­hood. Raised by his grand­moth­er, Laf­fite grew up well edu­cat­ed and, aside from his desire to be a pirate like his old­er broth­er, instilled with strong moral val­ues. He cap­tured and plun­dered Span­ish ships but with as lit­tle vio­lence as pos­si­ble. He car­ried with him a Hebrew Bible giv­en to him by his grand­moth­er. He lat­er set­tled down in New Orleans and became a favorite cit­i­zen of the town with styl­ish clothes, pol­ished nails and charm­ing man­ners. When the British attacked the Unit­ed States in 1814, Laf­fite used his pirat­ing skills to help defend the city in the crit­i­cal Bat­tle of New Orleans, earn­ing him the title of The Hero of New Orleans and he is known as the pirate who saved America. 

Cin­e­mat­ic illus­tra­tions by Jeff Him­mel­man add to the excite­ment. Filled with fas­ci­nat­ing facts and dynam­ic pic­tures, Jean Laf­fite: The Pirate Who Saved Amer­i­ca is sure to cap­ti­vate both pirate-lov­ing chil­dren and their par­ents, as well. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 8 – 11.

Mar­cia Ber­neger is a retired teacher who lives with her hus­band and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and sec­ond grade, as well as spe­cial edu­ca­tion. She cur­rent­ly teach­es Torah school, in addi­tion to her vol­un­teer work in class­rooms, libraries, and with var­i­ous fundrais­ers. She lives in San Diego.

Discussion Questions