Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy's Fight fo

When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy's Fight fo

Natasha Wing
Illustrator:  Alexandra Boiger 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2017   ISBN: 978-0547449210

When Jacqueline, ‘Jackie,’ Kennedy moved into the White House in 1961, the First Lady was shocked to find that the building was rundown and shabby. She set about finding historical furnishings to give the rooms a new look so that the White House could be “a stately home that made Americans proud.” Thanks to Jackie, the White House became a place that was steeped in history, and that was decorated with flawless good taste.

When Jackie left the White House she went to live in New York City, and it wasn’t long before she was stepping into the fray to save another historical building. Grand Central Station was once a beautiful building, a jewel of a place that had served as a gateway to the city for decades; it had delighted millions of travelers with its beauty and grace. Unfortunately, developers decided that they wanted to build a skyscraper where the station was located, and they got permission to do just that, even though the people of New York City made it clear that they wanted to protect their historic building.

Jackie help found the Committee to Save Grand Central, speaking publically in support of the Committee and encouraging her fellow New Yorkers to donate money to the cause. Court battles raged until the case was sent to the Supreme Court. Jackie did not give up. Instead, she set off for Washington D.C. with three hundred supporters. Surely their voices, and those of thousands of other New Yorkers, would count for something in the upcoming case.

For New Yorkers, Grand Central Station is part of their cultural heritage, a part which they almost lost. Thanks to Jacqueline Kennedy and her fellow preservationists, the building was saved. People in other cities began to look at their own old buildings through fresh eyes. Shouldn’t they too fight to save their churches, libraries, court houses, and other historic buildings? Jackie’s call to arms to save such architectural gems would inspires others to take up similar causes in their towns and cities.

Beautifully written, and gorgeously illustrated with great sensibility, this wonderful picture book is a meaningful tribute to Jacqueline Kennedy, a woman who did so much in her life to give back. At the back of the book readers will find further information about Grand Central Station and Jackie.

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