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Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life

Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life

by Candace Fleming

No matter how the question is answered, one thing is clear: There has hardly been a life in the last century that Eleanor Roosevelt has not affected, in one way or another. From securing safe, low-cost housing for Kentucky's poor, to helping her grandchildren hang a tire swing on the White House's south lawn, to representing America as the first female delegate


No matter how the question is answered, one thing is clear: There has hardly been a life in the last century that Eleanor Roosevelt has not affected, in one way or another. From securing safe, low-cost housing for Kentucky's poor, to helping her grandchildren hang a tire swing on the White House's south lawn, to representing America as the first female delegate to the United Nations, Eleanor rarely kept a second of her life for herself — and she wouldn't have had it any other way.
In this stunning "scrapbook" biography, Candace Fleming, author of the acclaimed Ben Franklin's Almanac, turns her keen eye to our nation's premier First Lady. Filled with photographs of everything from Eleanor's speech at the 1940 Democratic National Convention to her high school report card, as well as fascinating stories about life in and out of the White House, Our Eleanor gives us a remarkable perspective on a remarkable woman, and presents to a new generation an Eleanor to call its own.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Franklin Delano Roosevelt's] most important political asset."
— Jim Farley, chairman of the New York State Democratic Party

"A woman who does not know her place."
— Winston Churchill

"The best-dressed woman of 1934."
—U.S. fashion industry

"The only one who comprehends the true meaning of democracy."
— Marian Anderson, legendary black opera singer

"Candace Fleming has chronicled the life of Eleanor Roosevelt as no other. With photographs on every page and with special attention having been given each important person, place, and project, this book provides an exciting glimpse into a remarkable life. It will appeal to young and old alike."
— Chandler Roosevelt Lindsley and Elliott Roosevelt Jr., grandchildren of Eleanor Roosevelt

"This book belongs in every school library and on the shelf of everyone who cares how America came to be the country we know. With thorough research and vivid storytelling, Candace Fleming brings to life a fascinating and complex woman. Through one engrossing tale after another, perfectly illustrated with historical photographs, Eleanor emerges from these beautiful pages; by midway, you half expect her to wander into your kitchen for tea at any moment."
— Karen Blumenthal, author of Let Me Play

"Creating a unique form for biography — the collage — the author has given us a superbly rounded and penetrating portrait of one of our greatest women, Eleanor Roosevelt. No one can read it and not feel deeply grateful for her long service to the American people and to human rights the world round."
— Milton Meltzer, five-time National Book Award finalist and author of There Comes a Time: The Struggle for Civil Rights

"Candace Fleming's portrait bursts at the seams with energy, and makes brilliantly clear why Eleanor Roosevelt is a perfect role model for American kids, and for kids around the world. Mrs. Roosevelt wasn't the head of her time, she's the head of our time."
— James Carville

"In Our Eleanor Candace Fleming sets a new standard for the blending of an astonishing number of apt illustrations with fine writing and a strong sense of the ever-fascinating Eleanor Roosevelt."
— Marc Aronson, author of the Sibert Award-winning Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado

"Many children's book writers have written biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt, but I don't know of any that illuminated so many different facets of this remarkable woman's life and activities."
— James Cross Giblin, winner of the Robert F. Sibert Award and author of The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin

Karen MacPherson
In this engaging and unstintingly honest biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, Fleming takes an unusual "scrapbook" approach, presenting Roosevelt's life in short bursts of text, numerous archival photographs and reproductions of things like her final report card and handwritten letters. It all combines to produce a well-rounded portrait of an extraordinary woman.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In this standout biography, Fleming employs the scrapbook style she debuted in Benjamin Franklin's Almanac for another American icon, Eleanor Roosevelt, the "first lady of the world," in the words of former president Truman. Short chapters arranged into a pastiche of narratives and deftly supported by photographs, newspaper articles, letters and humorous cartoons explore how this sad "Little Nell," as her father called her, emerged from an unhappy albeit privileged childhood to become an indefatigable champion of the poor and powerless. So controversial that she inspired "one of the largest FBI files in American history" (3,271 pages), Eleanor was also beloved by thousands of Americans, who wrote to her seeking advice or solace. Fleming documents many of the ways Eleanor herself evolved, such as how her prejudiced views on Jews changed over time, and some of the ways in which she remained faithful to herself even if it brought her pain. Eleanor's intellect attracted her charming and ambitious cousin Franklin, and their divergent approaches to life would divide them as a couple but also strengthen them as political partners. Fleming relies on the prolific words of Eleanor herself, family members, friends and observers to enhance this multi-faceted life story. The attractive design capitallizes on these various perspectives, often highlighted in different type treatments; yet the overall appearance is one of cohesion. With this approach, Fleming allows readers to draw their own conclusions; they will come away with an understanding of a woman who shaped her times and left a lasting imprint on the future. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In some respects I take issue with the target audience for this publication. Honestly, this book had such a unique, interesting, and thorough approach to telling Eleanor Roosevelt's life story that it should be targeted instead at all those ten-years-old and up. Why stop at 14? I found this to be a fascinating way to learn about Roosevelt's life. This "scrapbook look" uses amazing photographs; short, article-style vignettes; and pictures of sketches, notes, letters, and lists written by Roosevelt and her family, to share this woman's amazing biography with its readers. Taking the birth-to-death approach, few stones are left unturned. From her difficult childhood, to her courtship, marriage woes, family struggles, and personal and professional triumphs, much is covered. Be warned, however, that this is an honest look at this woman's life. Mention is made of the criticisms she received, of the fact that she struggled as a mother, of Franklin's indiscretions, and of her possible ones, as well. It is these additional nuances, perhaps, that makes this story so interesting--she is human after all, albeit one who accomplished amazing things for her time. Additional resources include a timeline of Roosevelt's life, her family tree, a bibliography, picture credits, an index, and extensive source notes. 2005, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster, Ages 10 up.
—Kris Sauer
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-This presentation does for the longest-serving First Lady what Russell Freedman's Lincoln: A Photobiography (Clarion, 1987) did for an earlier inhabitant of the White House. While the arrangement is chronological from Roosevelt's parents' marriage to her own death, the narrative is not linear per se. Rather, each of the seven chapters leads readers through the subject's busy life with short sections of text filled with well-documented first-person accounts and direct quotes. Much of the story is told within the meaty sidebars covering supporting perspectives, enlightening details, and amusing anecdotes. Fleming is honest, respectful, and astute throughout, addressing both successes and controversies with balance (not to mention with candor, as when she approaches the issue of Eleanor's sexuality with the statement "Was She or Wasn't She?"). Not a spread goes by without incredible archival photographs or reproductions, newspaper and magazine clippings, handwritten letters, and diary entries. Many of them have never been published in a book for young people, and they all provide relevant and fascinating insight. The title suggests an intimacy between reader and subject, which is strengthened by a design suggesting a family album. Pages are jam-packed with information in varying fonts and formats, yet still manage to remain clearly and logically laid out. Basic research tools include a time line, family tree, and extensive source notes. Enjoyably educational, Our Eleanor will be a core title in all collections for years to come.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Had Eleanor Roosevelt kept a scrapbook-an incredibly well-organized and thorough scrapbook-this is how it might feel to look through it. Arranged chronologically, the volume works like a jigsaw puzzle. Open it up, pick individual pieces at random and when placed all together, a full picture of the subject emerges. From her early years in New York's fashionable society to marrying her cousin Franklin, to the Depression and war years, and through her travels and many charitable causes, Eleanor's life is well covered, including frank pictures of her early anti-Semitism, her sexuality and her disagreements with her husband over such issues as the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war. Though lacking the coherence of a traditional narrative, it will appeal to readers who only want to dip in and read what looks interesting. The source notes are thorough and the bibliography recommends several books for young readers, as well as videos and Web sites. Photographs, family trees, sketches and even a report card add visual appeal. An attractive and useful resource. (personal note, picture credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.25(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.80(d)
1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Candace Fleming is the acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including Ben Franklin’s Almanac, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; as well as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!; Gabriella’s Song; and When Agnes Caws; all ALA Notable Books. She lives in a suburb of Chicago.

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