Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents' Day

by Jonah Winter
illustrated by AG Ford
Katherine Tegen Books, 2013
review copy provided by the publisher

I know it's supposed to be President's (singular possessive -- honoring George Washington) Day, but why can't we celebrate ALL the presidents on this day? We've had some great ones, and we've had some lousy ones, but either way, it's certainly not a job I would want to do!

When I received JFK, there was no doubt in my mind who should review it. Judy Hedge, a reading teacher in my building, is a passionate JFK fan. JFK came to visit her county in 1960. Judy's father, Robert Fulton, was a Wickliffe Councilman and running for County Commissioner and attended a fundraiser for Kennedy. Judy had to go to school and miss JFK riding in an open convertible through her community so she gave her father her autograph book. Her father got to shake JFK's hand and had him sign her autograph book. He had his picture taken with Kennedy, too. Judy has an extensive collection of Kennedy memorabilia: newspaper articles, magazines, political buttons and a signed photo from a letter she wrote to him after the election. He is her hero.

About Winter's JFK, she writes:

It’s hard for me to believe that fifty years have passed since the presidency of John F. Kennedy. To me, and many of my generation, the young president inspired us to serve the greater good; that hope and determination will always succeed over fear and uncertainty.

A lot has been said about the Kennedy legacy and “Camelot” in the years since. Some good, some bad and for a while it seemed like that legacy disappeared from an active role in our cultural life. Jonah Winter’s JFK gives me hope that children who will one day face the same issues that President Kennedy faced will know their historical legacy to guide their choices. While not a definitive volume, Winter touches on many of the defining moments of JFK’s administration.

AG Ford utilizes the technique of overemphasizing the light on the main subject’s face to make the illustrations look more dramatic. The illustrations are cartoonish so children can relate better to the events that they depict. My hope of this very well illustrated book is that it will inspire curiosity and allow the young minds to learn about the man and how his legacy still impacts them 50 years later.

EDITED TO ADD: Kindle Daily Deal for Kids has 5 books about presidents for $1.99 each...including George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and JFK!


  1. Lovely story and review from your friend, Mary Lee! We had such hopes during his brief presidency! I'm glad to hear about this book!

  2. Looks like a terrific book. I like the idea of asking others to give a review.

  3. Very nice, Mary Lee! This year for Presidents' Day, I participated in the Union of Concerned Scientists "vote for the most science-friendly president" competition:
    JFK made the short list of eight presidents who were in the first round of competition, but he didn't make it to the next round. He was up against Nixon, who actually has a lot in his favor.


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