Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom

Kathleen Kudlinski
Illustrator:  Meryl Henderson 
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Aladdin, 2003   ISBN: 978-0689857454

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born into a life of comfort. One could almost say into a life of luxury. He had a beautiful home to live in, was tutored privately, had a pony to ride and a boat to sail, went to Europe on vacations, and all in all was given the best that his father’s money could buy. His mother was a woman who had very decided ideas about how she wanted her son to live his life and her word was very much the law in the Roosevelt household. Franklin went to a prestigious boarding school and then on to Harvard, just as his parents wished. It was only when he was in his twenties that he began to assert his independence.

He decided that he wanted to marry the niece of the great "Teddy" Roosevelt, a relative, and the former President of the United States. "Mother" was not pleased with his choice but Franklin insisted. He also insisted on something else. Franklin had just begun his political career when he was struck down and crippled by polio. His mother wanted him to go to the family home where she could care for him. Franklin decided to keep on with his political campaigning despite his handicap. He was not going to let the polio take away his dreams, and he fought very hard to prove to the American public that he was strong enough to be a good candidate first for Governor of New York, and later for President of the United States. He was determined to show them that a person who had polio could still be a great leader and he did this so well that he was re-elected for President for an unprecedented four terms.

Franklin helped pull the United States out of the dark years of the Depression and led it through the war years. With a huge grin on his face he cheered the American public up when no one else could. In addition to telling us about all of his remarkable accomplishments as a leader, the author of this book shows us how truly courageous Franklin Delano Roosevelt was. Kathleen Kudlinski shows us a bit about the private Franklin, the Franklin who was afraid of fire because he could not run from it; there is the Franklin who exercised for hours so that he would be able to do what was required of him as President. There was the man whose leg braces hurt him terribly and yet he never said a word or complained. Franklin founded the March of Dimes, and his support help hundreds of polio victims. By the end of his third term in office Franklin was terribly tired and ill but he still chose to run again because his country needed him. Kathleen Kudlinski brings Franklin Delano Roosevelt to life, giving him a real face, and heart, and smile. This is another of the excellent "Childhood of Famous Americans" books.