JFK

Overview

The New York Times bestselling team that brought readers Barack in 2008 presents this picture book biography of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States of America. JFK tells how a little boy grew up to be president in a story about hope and courage and the power of words. It details JFK's childhood as well as his presidency and includes the Cuban missile crisis, the civil rights movement, the Camelot years, and a firsthand account of his assassination.

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling team that brought readers Barack in 2008 presents this picture book biography of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States of America. JFK tells how a little boy grew up to be president in a story about hope and courage and the power of words. It details JFK's childhood as well as his presidency and includes the Cuban missile crisis, the civil rights movement, the Camelot years, and a firsthand account of his assassination.

JFK's is a story that has been told by many voices. Acclaimed picture book biographer Jonah Winter offers his own voice and memories about JFK and his significance in this heartfelt personal profile, illustrated in vibrant detail by award-winning artist AG Ford.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Harold Holzer
…the illustrator AG Ford's John Currin-like realism makes Jonah Winter's new biography, JFK, sparkle like a Life magazine collectors' edition, but…it is the text that produces the true startle effect.
Publishers Weekly
09/30/2013
Winter opens this picture-book biography of John F. Kennedy with his 1963 assassination and a striking bit of personal history: just a year old, Winter himself was there that day in Dallas: “I watched his car pass by, watched him waving to the crowds of cheering people, watched him getting smaller and smaller as the car drove on.” Beginning the book with tragedy allows Winter to conclude it with a sense of hope and promise, after whisking readers on a tour of select moments in Kennedy’s life, from sickly daydreamer who “loved words” to war hero, senator, and president. Throughout, Winter emphasizes how Kennedy’s charisma and eloquence served him both in campaigning for the presidency and in diffusing situations like the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ford, who collaborated with Winter on 2008’s Barack, contributes fairly static paintings, several based on iconic photographs (a b&w image of Kennedy debating Nixon on TV; a 1931 photo of the Kennedy family on the beach in Hyannis Port). A rosy and somewhat thin account of Camelot. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
At every turn, Winter successfully turns his own admiration for JFK into a new profile of courage.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
2013 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The author recounts that he was just a year old at that time and encourages young readers to focus on the life and legacy of JFK. "It's a story of hope and courage," Winter writes. "It's a story about the power of words." Winter provides limited information about Kennedy's childhood, his service in WWII, his election to the U.S. Senate, and his election as President. His focus is on JFK's personal traits: that he was a dreamer, a writer, and a patriot with a lot of charisma. Included is discussion of the obstacles he had to overcome during his presidential campaign. Actions during the Civil Rights Movement and the Cuban Missile Crisis are also mentioned. Ford's portraits of key historical figures add a great deal to this picture book biography, including one of a Kennedy family portrait on Cape Cod. Unfortunately, only eight of the nine Kennedy clan members are pictured, and there are no notes naming them. Several other illustrations also could have benefitted from captions to enlighten young readers. Backmatter notes would also have been helpful. The picture book format and large pictures make this introduction to the 35th President of the United States a good choice as a classroom read-aloud for students in primary grades. A knowledgeable adult would be most helpful in answering children's questions about any of the events. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
09/01/2013
PreS-Gr 2—The initials that make up the title of this admiring picture-book biography send a message to its readers: the smiling man on the cover was so important that even today, people recognize those three letters. The narrative begins with the author's personal connection to President John F. Kennedy, a glimpse of him in a parade in Dallas, Texas, on the day of the assassination. Winter was only a year old, but, he says, he's heard the story often. After these opening scenes, he provides a chronological summary of Kennedy's life, from sickly childhood in the shadow of a "perfect" older brother through a successful, if short, adult life of public service. Two accomplishments highlighted are writing Profiles in Courage and averting nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Like this team's Barack (HarperCollins, 2008), this title verges on homage. Several spreads show Kennedy in front of admiring crowds, including a green mall packed with spectators at his inauguration (the scene shows no trace of the eight inches of snow that fell the night before). Rockwell-like vignettes show the young Joe, Jr. playing football and the young Jack reading about Camelot; gold-framed portraits show the two as war heroes. In keeping with Kennedy's own carefully crafted image, the sun always shines on his family. For the youngest historians, however, this is an appealing introduction to the Kennedy legend.—Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
An homage to the 35th president of the United States, marking the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Winter frames his narrative with personal statements, opening with an anecdote that he was a baby watching on his father's shoulders in Dallas on November 22 and concluding with a gushy testimonial. In between, he covers the litany of Kennedy's sickly childhood, World War II heroism, presidential campaign and three years in office, playing into the Kennedy mythology without restraint. The story of the older brother killed in combat and the second son assuming the political mantle is more legend than fact, and Kennedy's support of the civil rights movement was more conservative than implied. The crux of the West Virginia primary was whether or not a Catholic could carry a Protestant state, not economics. In addition, the Camelot aura arose from an interview Jacqueline Kennedy gave to Theodore White, not from JFK's childhood reading. Winter does not mention the space program but does devote a page to the Cuban missile crisis. He concludes that JFK was flawed, but "his words and his spirit live on." The only sourcing is one website recommended for further reading. The brevity of the form and the youth of the audience is no excuse for hagiography instead of history. Ford's full-color paintings reproduce period photographs, some making a very good-looking family appear singularly unattractive. Overwrought and flawed history accompanied by unappealing illustrations. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061768071
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 261,671
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonah Winter grew up in Dallas, Texas, and saw JFK on November 22, 1963, moments before he was assassinated. Mr. Winter is the author of many celebrated biographies for young readers, including the New York Times bestselling Barack, also illustrated by AG Ford; You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!; Dizzy; and Frida.

AG Ford is the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Barack by Jonah Winter and also of Michelle and First Family by Deborah Hopkinson. He is the recipient of an NAACP Image Award.

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