The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

By Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

"Words, Peter learned, were powerful things. And when he put them in long, neat rows, he felt as if the world itself clicked into order."

For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn't long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn't write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and used it to organize his ideas and find exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.

This book is an inviting, visually engrossing portrayal of Peter Mark Roget and the creation of the thesaurus. Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget's life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations. This elegant book celebrates the joy of learning and the power of words.


  • "Sweet envisions Roget's work as a shadow box crammed with the wonders of the natural world, adorned with exuberant hand-lettered typography. Together with Bryant's sympathetic account, Sweet's gentle riot of images and words humanizes the man behind this ubiquitous reference work and demystifies the thesaurus itself."
    —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

    American Library Association Caldecott Honor Book (2015) - American Library Association Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal (2015) - Junior Library Guild Selection - 2014 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature Finalist - 2014 American Booksellers Association Best Books for Children Catalog - Society of Illustrators, "The Original Art" annual exhibition (2014) -California Reading Association Eureka! Honor Award (2014) - 2015-2016 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List - School Library Journal Best Books of 2014 - Kirkus Best of 2014 - Publishers Weekly Best Books (2014) - Horn Book Fanfare (2014) - Huffington Post Best Picture Books of 2014: Best Biography (Non-Artist) - New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2014 - Booklist 2014 Editors' Choice: Books for Youth - Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2015 - 2015-2016 Georgia Children's Picturebook Award Finalist - Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2015 Golden Kite Award - National Council of Teachers of English 2015 Orbis Pictus Honor - The Children's Literature Assembly 2015 Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts List - Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year, 2015 Edition - Teachers' Choice 2015 Reading List - Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) 2015 Young Readers Selection