Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

Eleanor Roosevelt


eleanorEleanor Roosevelt played a fascinating role in world history. As a child, her mother sometimes called her Granny because of her quiet and studious nature. While she spent a great deal of time alone because she was shy with other children, the adults in her life did expose her to conditions of those less fortunate than her. Eleanor’s father brought her to help serve Thanksgiving at a lodging house for newsboys, and she learned that other street children lived in dilapidated housing or were homeless. Her aunts and uncle brought her to sing for homeless men in the poorest sections of New York City. Barbara Cooney depicts Roosevelt’s childhood in a picture book biography, Eleanor (Viking, 1996), that has become a classic.

hotLeslie Kimmelman’s recent title, Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic (illustrated by Victor Juhasz, Sleeping Bear Press, 2014) depicts an event in her life when Eleanor was the First Lady of the United States. As a confident woman, Eleanor served as her husband Franklin’s eyes and ears, not only in the United States, but throughout the world. In 1939, the King and Queen of England visited the United States, and the Roosevelts hosted them at their private home in Hyde Park, New York. When it was learned that Eleanor planned a menu that included hot dogs, one of her favorite childhood foods, thousands of Americans wrote letters about the propriety of serving them to royalty. In her daily newspaper column, Eleanor answered those who were “…worried that ‘the dignity of our country will be imperiled’ by inviting royalty to a picnic…” The rest of the menu had been carefully planned with smoked turkey, baked ham, cranberry jelly, brown bread, baked beans, green salad, and strawberry shortcake. Hot Dog! Is an entertaining addition to our collection.

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