Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Eleanor, Quiet No More: The Life of Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor, Quiet No More: The Life of Eleanor Roosevelt

Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator:  Gary Kelley 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Hyperion, 2009   ISBN: 978-0786851416

When Eleanor was young, she was loved by her father, and despised by her mother who called her daughter “Granny” because she thought her daughter was “ugly and too serious.” Eleanor’s life took a turn for the worse when her parents died and she went to live with her grandmother. In fact it wasn’t until fifteen-year-old Eleanor was sent to a boarding school in England that the girl finally made friends and gained a more positive and happy outlook on life.

When Eleanor was twenty-one, she married “a rich distant cousin” who was called Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Though Eleanor loved her dashing and handsome young husband, she was not happy in her marriage because Franklin’s mother was overbearing and bossy. It was only after Franklin was elected to the New York State Senate that Eleanor was finally able to live her life – and raise her children – as she saw fit.

After her husband contracted polio, Eleanor had to dig deep to find hidden reserves of courage and determination. With her help, Franklin won first the governorship of New York and later the presidential election. Unable to get about the country himself because of the polio, President Roosevelt sent his wife all over the United States to find out what was happening in America. Eleanor pushed her husband to help the men, women, and children who were being crushed by the Great Depression. She spoke up for the rights of women, and for the rights of African Americans. The American people came to appreciate that their First Lady was a force to be reckoned with.

Throughout this book, the powerful text is perfectly complimented by quotes from Eleanor’s speeches and writings that can be found on every double page spread. In part through her own words, Eleanor’s story comes alive, and readers will be left feeling more than a little humbled by the achievements of this woman who had to fight so hard to overcome her own fears and her own feelings of helplessness.