Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

John F. Kennedy: A Photographic Story of a life

John F. Kennedy: A Photographic Story of a life

Howard S. Kaplan
For ages 10 and up
Dorling Kindersley, 2004   ISBN: 0756603404

Let us go on a journey into the past and stand at the elbow of one of the world's most famous people. Let us meet and get to know John F. Kennedy who began life as a sickly, loveable, precocious boy and who grew into a man who bore his numerous heath problems stoically and who worked so hard to make the world a better place.

Told in the present tense this concise, and yet thorough, biography gives the reader a sense of being there, of being an observer who saw John F. Kennedy (or "Jack") growing up. We "see" Jack in the midst of his large, exuberant and unique family; we travel with him when he began his political career; and we are practically in the car with him on the day when he was shot. We come to appreciate how much Jack's large and driven family influenced him, and how much they helped him to become the world leader he was.

The author supports this sense of 'being there' further by giving the reader lots of information about what was happening in the world during Jack's lifetime. For example he explains what the Cold War was about and how "the red scare" came about.

This curious time travel feeling of being an observer in a different era ends up helping the reader to understand why Jack came to be so admired and loved by people all over the world and why his shocking death left millions of people with a feeling of loss and grief.

Wonderful photographs in color and black and white can be found on every page and at the back of the book the author has included some quotations from some of Jacks most famous speeches and writings.

Throughout the book small boxes can be found on many of the pages which provide explanations and more information about the times in which Jack lived, and additional details about Jack, his friends and family, and the other people who played a role in his story.