Eleanor, Quiet No More

Eleanor, Quiet No More

by Doreen Rappaport, Gary Kelley
     
 

Eleanor Roosevelt was raised in a privileged but stern Victorian household, with an affectionate but mostly absent father and a critical mother who made fun of her daughter's looks. Alone and lonely for much of her childhood, Eleanor found solace in books and in the life of her lively and independent mind. Her intellectual gifts and compassionate heart won her the

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Overview

Eleanor Roosevelt was raised in a privileged but stern Victorian household, with an affectionate but mostly absent father and a critical mother who made fun of her daughter's looks. Alone and lonely for much of her childhood, Eleanor found solace in books and in the life of her lively and independent mind. Her intellectual gifts and compassionate heart won her the admiration of many friends — and the love of her future husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

While other young women of her class were spending time at dances and parties, Eleanor devoted her energies to teaching children in New York City's poorest neighborhoods. Later, she became the most socially and politically active — and controversial — First Lady America had ever seen. Ambassador, activist, and champion of civil rights, Eleanor Roosevelt changed the soul of America forever.

In her eloquent prose, Doreen Rappaport captures the essence of Eleanor's character and the deep significance of her legacy. With beautiful paintings by Gary Kelley and selections from Eleanor's own writings, Eleanor's Big Words is an extraordinary tribute to an extraordinary American.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Rappaport's spare text and Kelley's handsome paintings, evocative of WPA murals, reclaim the legendary first lady's story for the younger set, revealing the person behind the icon. Writing in clipped, one-or-two-sentence paragraphs that have the feel of blank verse, Rappaport is vivid and frank about Eleanor's unhappy childhood and overbearing mother-in-law ("Sara told Eleanor what clothes to buy and what food to serve.... She even chose their furniture"), although she demurs when it comes to the Roosevelts' own marital problems. Each spread is anchored by a quote from Eleanor herself, set in large type to convey her voice, growing sense of confidence and moral conviction (the opening endpapers read, "Do something every day that scares you," setting a powerful tone from the outset). Kelley's muted palette conveys the gravity of the times and provides a striking visual counterpoint to his dramatic, strongly geometric compositions. Even if readers have little sense of history, they will close the book understanding that it was America's great fortune to have Eleanor's life coincide with some of its darkest hours.—PW

Rappaport's picture book-biography is now a familiar one-a band of text per spread, large-type quotations from the subject, arresting artwork-but it continues to be successful. With so many young eyes now directed on a new First Lady, this look at Eleanor Roosevelt, who blazed a path for her successors to set their own public agendas, is particularly timely. Rappaport portrays Eleanor as a child who grew up in families boasting more privilege than affection, as a woman who married an appreciative husband (no mention of forthcoming marital drama, only distance) and thereby acquired a censorious mother-in-law, and as a First Lady who dedicated herself to causes of her own choosing, as well as diplomatic missions requested by husband FDR, and who continued her life of service after his death. The quotations chosen are particularly apt, revealing, as the subtitle suggests, Eleanor's growing confidence and candor over the years. The white-gowned young woman boating with her husband suitor warbles, "I am so happy in your love, dearest, that all the world has changed for me"; ten spreads later, a much steelier Eleanor opines, "Do what you feel in your heart to right-for you'll be criticized anyway." Kelley supplies more literal, softer-edged scenes for this title than the Bryan Collier and Kadir Nelson artwork in previous volumes (Martin's Big Words, BCCB 1/02; Abe's Honest Words, BCCB 10/08), but his illustrations retain something of the monumentality and all of the dignity that mark the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln works. Again, Rappaport furnishes useful end matter as well, including a timeline, a list of research sources, and print and online suggestions for young readers. This will serve as an exceptional step-up to Russell Freedman's Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery (BCCB 10/93).—BCCB

Unlike the subjects of Rappaport's earlier "words" biographies such as Martin's Big Words (rev. 11/08) and Abe's Honest Words (rev. 1/02), Eleanor Roosevelt may not be immediately familiar to potential readers. Here, Eleanor's words define her growth from an insecure, unloved child ("I wanted to sink through the floor in shame") to a reluctant but forceful political voice ("You must do the things you cannot do") to respected citizen of the world ("All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights"). Rappaport's text outlines Eleanor's developing concern for others and lessening concern for self, epitomized in a triple-frame illustration of Eleanor addressing an audience that convincingly conveys her metamorphosis and increasing confidence. Appended with a timeline of important events in Eleanor's life, notes from both author and illustrator, a selected bibliography, and recommended readings and Internet sites.—Horn Book

Once again Rappaport celebrates a noble, heroic life in powerful, succinct prose, with prominent, well-chosen, and judiciously placed quotes that both instruct and inspire. From her lonely childhood to her transformative education in Europe and marriage to Franklin Roosevelt, the subject is portrayed as a serious, intelligent, hardworking humanitarian. Despite the picture-book format, students get enough background and information to appreciate the woman's outstanding qualities and contributions as well as enough details for reports. As in Martin's Big Words (2001) and Abe's Honest Words (2008, both Hyperion), each spread features the winning combination of the author's text, the subject's quotes, and evocative artwork. Personal notes from the author and illustrator are appended. The evocative pictures tell the story of both the subject and her country. Kelley's subtle use of contrast, such as Roosevelt's posh townhouse juxtaposed against a poorly lit tenement or Marian Anderson, clad in black, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, is quite powerful. Celebrate women in history and in politics with this picture-book life—SLJ

Even familiar political figures can get bold new treatments, as this dramatic picture-book biography shows. The wordless cover, featuring only the face of Eleanor Roosevelt, her expression one of hope mixed with purpose, immediately captures attention. Before the story begins, a double-page spread is offered with just the quote, "Do something every day that scares you." The book then opens with glimpses of Eleanor's early life: her mother thought her ugly, too serious, and called her Granny. After her parents' death, she moved in with her grandmother, who did everything she thought was right for a little girl except hug and kiss her." The narrative moves swiftly through the important moments in Roosevelt's life, including marriage and family, but along with accomplishments, Rappaport does something more subtle-she shows the way Eleanor grew into herself. Crisp sentences focus the narrative and are bolstered by the quotes that end each page. If the text has a smart spareness to it, the accompanying art is composed of rich, beautifully crafted paintings that also catch Roosevelt's growing sense of purpose. There are a few quibbles-the quotes could have been more clearly sourced, and there's no mention of FDR's affairs, an important reason for Eleanor's growth-but overall, this is an exciting introduction to a well-loved leader.—Booklist

Unhappy and quiet as a child, Eleanor Roosevelt learned to speak for herself as a teenager, encouraged her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt's political career and made one for herself during his presidency and after his death, defending the weak and fighting for freedoms. This brief but inspiring biography combines outsized quotations from her many writings with a simple, direct text (rendered in a large font) delineating her life. Beginning with the striking cover portrait, Kelley's luminescent pastel illustrations in subdued colors show Eleanor at various stages-serious child, independent schoolgirl, devoted wife, public speaker and United Nations representative-as well as the world she cared for. No specific sources are provided for the quotations, but the author has appended a list of selected research sources, appropriate further reading and websites and a chronology. Suitable for reading aloud as well as independently, this is a gracious and admiring portrait, a splendid way to introduce the "First Lady of the World" to a new generation of young children.—Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Rappaport's spare text and Kelley's handsome paintings, evocative of WPA murals, reclaim the legendary first lady's story for the younger set, revealing the person behind the icon. Writing in clipped, one-or-two-sentence paragraphs that have the feel of blank verse, Rappaport is vivid and frank about Eleanor's unhappy childhood and overbearing mother-in-law ("Sara told Eleanor what clothes to buy and what food to serve.... She even chose their furniture"), although she demurs when it comes to the Roosevelts' own marital problems. Each spread is anchored by a quote from Eleanor herself, set in large type to convey her voice, growing sense of confidence and moral conviction (the opening endpapers read, "Do something every day that scares you," setting a powerful tone from the outset). Kelley's muted palette conveys the gravity of the times and provides a striking visual counterpoint to his dramatic, strongly geometric compositions. Even if readers have little sense of history, they will close the book understanding that it was America's great fortune to have Eleanor's life coincide with some of its darkest hours. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Rappaport has chosen provocative quotations from the words of Eleanor Roosevelt as a framework for her brief summary of the life and work of this outstanding role model. Eleanor's mostly bleak and lonely childhood is followed by school in England, where she makes friends and learns about the world outside. Back in America, she becomes concerned about the lives of the poor children she chooses to teach. She meets, marries, and is at first happy with Franklin Roosevelt, but not with his overbearing mother. Her life proceeds through child raising, Franklin's rise in politics, and his fight with polio. She begins to speak up for women. After becoming First Lady, she continues her concern for the poor and for black Americans, as well as for the soldiers in World War II and even for Japanese-Americans in internment camps. After Franklin dies, she is busier than ever, fighting for what she feels is right. A frontal portrait of the young Eleanor, glowing with compassion and intellect, fills the front jacket, while the title and other traditional information is on the back. The anecdotal full-page scenes of the visual story add naturalistic details of her life, helping us understand her significant stature. Colors are somewhat muted in keeping with the emotional tone of her accomplishments, reflected in the quotations set in large type on each text page and across the end pages. Additional factual notes, a chronology, and research sources are included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 3-8

Once again Rappaport celebrates a noble, heroic life in powerful, succinct prose, with prominent, well-chosen, and judiciously placed quotes that both instruct and inspire. From her lonely childhood to her transformative education in Europe and marriage to Franklin Roosevelt, the subject is portrayed as a serious, intelligent, hardworking humanitarian. Despite the picture-book format, students get enough background and information to appreciate the woman's outstanding qualities and contributions as well as enough details for reports. As in Martin's Big Words (2001) and Abe's Honest Words (2008, both Hyperion), each spread features the winning combination of the author's text, the subject's quotes, and evocative artwork. Personal notes from the author and illustrator are appended. The evocative pictures tell the story of both the subject and her country. Kelley's subtle use of contrast, such as Roosevelt's posh townhouse juxtaposed against a poorly lit tenement or Marian Anderson, clad in black, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, is quite powerful. Celebrate women in history and in politics with this picture-book life.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786851416
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
02/03/2009
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
527,515
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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