Wednesday, May 5, 2010

FIRST LADY WEEK: Eleanor Roosevelt

TITLE: Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery

AUTHOR: Russell Freedman

WHAT WAS HER BACKGROUND? Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the first child born to wealthy socialites in New York in 1884. Her father was President Teddy Roosevelt’s younger brother. Gawky and glum as a child, her mother died from diphtheria when she was only eight. Her dad, an alcoholic, died less than two years later. Eleanor and her younger brother were raised by her maternal grandmother, whose hands were already full with four unruly grown children.

HOW DID SHE AND THE FUTURE PRESIDENT MEET? They first met at a gathering for children from prominent families. Eleanor was fourteen and feeling unattractive, unfashionable and generally miserable when Franklin, her fifth cousin, asked her to dance. Three years later they met again by chance on a train and continued to run into each other at various parties, including the New Year’s Eve soiree of the recently elected Teddy Roosevelt.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Eleanor had a busy life. She raised five children, was a teacher, and a delegate to the United Nations. Unique to her time and position, she earned her own money by writing columns, lecturing and broadcasting, usually topping the president's salary. She gave most of this income to charity. She thrived being among the suffering masses and bringing their plight into the spotlight.

This is a well told account of a very interesting and influential woman.

Awards: Newbery Honor Book

Ages: 9-12


  1. This is such a good book on Eleanor Roosevelt. My daughter used it for a report in 4th grade, and I also read it and learned a lot from it. Russell Freedman is such a good history writer for kids (and adults!)--I saw he has a new book on WW1 coming out this fall that I definitely want to read.

    I'm glad to find your blog--I just started one on historical fiction for kids that you might want to check out.

  2. Russell Freeman rocks. Thanks for the heads up on his soon to be released WW1 book. And your blog looks great. I'll be back for many visits...