Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy

Overview

John F. Kennedy was a popular, charismatic president, beloved by many. But he didn't always believe he had the strength or courage for that office. As a child he was sickly and also overshadowed by his strong, capable, athletic older brother Joe. After Joe Jr.'s death John had to work hard to live up to his own expectations and to those of his father. He overcame pain and self-doubt to see the country through one of the most difficult crises in its history.

Doreen Rappaport once...

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Overview

John F. Kennedy was a popular, charismatic president, beloved by many. But he didn't always believe he had the strength or courage for that office. As a child he was sickly and also overshadowed by his strong, capable, athletic older brother Joe. After Joe Jr.'s death John had to work hard to live up to his own expectations and to those of his father. He overcame pain and self-doubt to see the country through one of the most difficult crises in its history.

Doreen Rappaport once again combines real-life quotes with her own lyrical prose to create a moving portrait of a beloved figure. Matt Tavares' stunning artwork vividly depicts this unique time in history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As with these collaborators' Lady Liberty, the striking cover of this picture-book biography features a closeup portrait of the subject, all the more compelling in this instance with the omission of any type. In her signature succinct style, Rappaport fuses facts about Kennedy's personal and public lives with quotations from his writings and speeches. The author credits the 35th president for such achievements as establishing the Peace Corps and negotiating the first major weapons test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union, yet asserts, "not all of Kennedy's decisions were wise." She calls the U.S.'s 1961 invasion of Cuba "a disaster" and notes that, while violence erupted in the South as blacks protested for equal rights, Kennedy worried that he would alienate white Southern lawmakers. "For two years he hesitated," before "he took a firm stand and called for new laws protecting black Americans." Tavares's light- and shadow-infused paintings balance lifelike portrayals of Kennedy with renderings of dramatic events, notably a Japanese destroyer ramming Kennedy's PT boat during WWII and the planting of the American flag on the moon. An evenhanded, graphically stirring biography. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
The story of John F. Kennedy's life from his boyhood to his death is summarized in simple language for young readers. Highlights of his childhood include how his father encouraged all of the nine children to excel in whatever they tried to do, and how John competed with his brother Joe. One of Kennedy's first achievements was to have his college thesis published. The drama of his Navy PT boat and his role in the rescue of his crew is described. After his brother Joe dies in a military plane crash, John decides to go into politics. He has problems with his back due to injuries, and while he is recuperating, he writes a book about courage that wins the Pulitzer Prize for biography. Throughout the text, there are pertinent quotations from his speeches. The famous words from his inaugural speech are included. There are descriptions of his family, his achievements and failures while in office with particular emphasis on the negotiations with Russia that resulted in the first major test?ban treaty, and his firm stand for new laws to protect black Americans. The large illustrations are beautifully done and fit the tone and spirit of the story. At the conclusion, there are author's and illustrator's notes, a list of important events, and additional research sources. The text is excellent for curriculum support and for reading aloud to children. Reviewer: Vicki Foote
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—This biographical sketch thoughtfully and respectfully highlights Kennedy's life from his young adulthood through his presidency. He is first seen as a teenager reading at his family's oceanfront home in Hyannis Port, MA. While his father encouraged competition among his children, young JFK couldn't help but feel he was constantly in the shadow of his older brother, Joe. But when Joe tragically died in a plane explosion, pressure was put on Jack to follow in his shoes. Through lyrical prose, Rappaport has created a moving portrait of a beloved political figure in the same vein as Eleanor, Quiet No More (2009) and Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (2001, both Hyperion). Her descriptive narration is spiced with memorable quotations and Tavares's larger-than-life illustrations. The realistic paintings portray the different periods in JFK's life with depth and detail, capturing his emotions, courage, and sovereignty while remaining true to this unique time in history. The book concludes with author and illustrator notes. This beautifully illustrated and gracefully told story serves as a superior introduction to our 35th president.—Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
A striking cover close-up of Kennedy (with the title information on the back of the jacket, à la the author's Martin's Big Words, illustrated by Bryan Collier, 2001) introduces the reader to this biography of the 35th president of the United States. It follows his trajectory from childhood, when he struggled to compete with his brother Joe, to his adult life as a writer, war hero, senator and, finally, president. Quotes (primarily from Kennedy's speeches and writings) are interwoven with the text and appear on each double-page spread. These are printed in an enlarged display type and in some instances they dominate the illustrations, but in other spreads the handsome and vividillustrations pop. This brief but inspiring portrait includes the establishment of the Peace Corps and the Cuban Missile Crisis as well as his physical ailments and his sense of humor. The concluding page credits Kennedy for the sweeping laws and programs that his successor Johnson carried out. Acknowledgement is made that the quotes have been shortenedand punctuation has been simplified, and their sources are included. (author's and illustrator's notes, timeline, bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423122722
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 942,731
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Doreen Rappaport

Doreen Rappaport (www.doreenrappaport.com) has written numerous award-winning books for children, including: Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Honor Book; and John's Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon, also illustrated by Bryan Collier. She lives and writes in upstate New York.

Matt Tavares (www.matttaveres.com) is the illustrator several books, including Lady Liberty: A Biography, written by Doreen Rappaport. Matt lives in Ogunquit, Maine with his wife, Sarah, and their two daughters.

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