John F. Kennedy: His Life and Legacy

Overview

President John F. Kennedy lived an extraordinary life. He was awarded a Purple Heart for bravery in World War II. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles In Courage. He was the youngest man ever elected president and the first president born in the twentieth century.His commitment to civil rights and his efforts to limit the use of nuclear weapons changed American life. President John F. Kennedy’s life and, sadly, his early death, are part of history.

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Overview

President John F. Kennedy lived an extraordinary life. He was awarded a Purple Heart for bravery in World War II. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles In Courage. He was the youngest man ever elected president and the first president born in the twentieth century.His commitment to civil rights and his efforts to limit the use of nuclear weapons changed American life. President John F. Kennedy’s life and, sadly, his early death, are part of history.

A voracious reader of biographies, President Kennedy has fittingly been the subject of many volumes himself. When asked why he enjoyed reading biographies, President Kennedy replied, "Because they answer the question 'What's he like?'"

In attempting to answer that question, author Shelley Sommer presents John F. Kennedy in his many roles — as a boy, a young man, a war hero, a politician, a husband, a father, and finally a president. This look at John F. Kennedy, illustrated with photos from the Kennedy Family Collection and the Kennedy Library, gives young readers a look at a dynamic man whose personality and politics helped to shape the twentieth century and continue to influence American life today.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
" . . . (T)he torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans." These words from John Fitzgerald Kennedy's inaugural address are integral to the context of this balanced portrait of the man and the president. JFK is undoubtedly an unknown for many of the intended readers of this biography. Through it, they will be introduced to a leader who ushered in the 1960s, a period of great cultural change. The author begins by introducing the reader to Kennedy's childhood and early family life. Kennedy was a sickly child, one who developed a love for the printed word, "You would never seek Jack without a book in his hand" his mother, Rose Kennedy, remembered. This view of Kennedy as a man of letters—one interested in poetry as well as history—is a central theme. Despite his not being an excellent student, Kennedy became a published author while in college and greatly admired the intellectual capabilities of others. Balancing this is the picture of Kennedy the man. From his close relationship with his sister Kathleen to the love and fascination he had for his children, Kennedy is portrayed as someone who understood and valued what is truly important in life. The author is honest in her presentation of Kennedy as having ideals that he fought for (e.g. civil rights) while understanding and weighing the practical demands of politics. Though the publisher indicates that the book is written for children ages eight through twelve, I think the book will be best appreciated by children ten and older. These young readers will gain valuable insights into a turbulent period of American History and the life of a man who helped shape that period's agenda. For further work in social studies, thebook ends with the text of Kennedy's inaugural address, a collection of his quotes and recommendations for further reading. 2005, HarperCollins Publishers, and Ages 10 up.
—Maria Lamattina
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-An engaging portrait of our 35th president. In discussing his curious mind, his love of reading, and his sense of humor, Sommer creates an empathetic connection with readers early in the book. She describes her subject's privileged childhood and large Irish family and explains how he used his World War II experiences, especially his role in the PT-109 incident, to connect with a largely poor and middle-class population when he successfully ran for Congress and six years later for the Senate. The author notes that the 1960 presidential campaign was the first in which television played an important role. In addressing his legacy, she notes that Kennedy liked big ideas, and while many were not fulfilled during his term, some, especially the Civil Rights Act, were passed soon after his death. In an easy-to-read style, Sommer does a fine job of painting an interesting and sympathetic picture of a leader who left his mark. The book includes lots of black-and-white photos, a time line, Kennedy's inaugural address, a sampling of quotations, and detailed notes. A solid choice for general reading as well as for reports.-Jane G. Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060541361
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/4/2005
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Shelley Sommer worked for the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library Foundation for fifteen years, first as the director of public relations and then as the director of the Profile in Courage Award. Ms. Sommer is currently a graduate student at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College. She lives with her husband and son on the South Shore of Massachusetts. This is her first book.

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