Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy

Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy

Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator:  Matt Tavares 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Hyperion , 2010   ISBN: 978-1423122722

John F. Kennedy (Jack) was the second oldest child born into the large and wealthy Kennedy family. His father insisted that all the children should do their very best at all times, and he had high hopes that Jack’s big brother Joe would become the first Catholic American President. Joe was clever, athletic, and driven, and he was also a tough act to follow. Jack always felt second best, as he struggled to keep up with his big brother and earn his father’s love.

When Jack was twenty-four, he joined the navy and commanded a PT boat in the South Pacific. During a night mission, Jack’s boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer. After waiting to be rescued for many hours, Jack decided that he and his remaining crewmembers would have to swim to safety. Despite having an injured back, Jack towed a burned crewmember for four miles until they reached a small island.

After Joe died when his plane exploded, Jack knew that he was going to have to take Joe’s place and fulfill his father’s dreams. With the same courage that served him well during wartime, Jack took on every challenge that he was presented with, serving first as a congressman, then as a senator. Finally, he made a bid for the White House, and in 1960, he was chosen to be the next American President. Though he had been through so much already, many more challenges lay ahead of him.

In this superbly written biographical picture book, Doreen Rappaport combines her excellent narrative with quotations to give young readers a memorable reading experience. Readers will get a very real picture of what John F. Kennedy was like as a leader and as a person.