A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Touches on many of the most important events and legislation that shaped Roosevelt's political career, though few are covered in depth and detail. There are also some helpful sidebar explanations of concepts like laissez-faire economics and fascism, as well as a recurring infographic breaking down the various points along the left-right political spectrum.
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Positive Role Models
Roosevelt is portrayed as a shrewd politician an effective leader, rather than as a perfect role model. Still, his policies and his speeches reflected a desire to reduce inequality and provide relief for struggling people. His wife, Eleanor, on the other hand, stands out as a committed activist who fought for human rights and justice for African Americans throughout her public life.
Violence & Scariness
Discussion of World Wars 1 and II, Stalin's tyranny and violent purges, Hitler's targeting of Jewish people and sending them to concentration camps, America's internment of Japanese Americans.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Teri Kanefield's Franklin D Roosevelt: The Making of America is a fact-filled biography of a complicated man who made a profound impact on American history. The book doesn't shy away from Roosevelt's personal life, including romantic affairs, and does a great job describing how his aristocratic upbringing shaped his worldview. Helpful explanations of political battles and major historical events make the book a great tool for introducing middle grade readers to topics like World War I and World War II, the Great Depression, and the New Deal.
Is It Any Good?
As an introduction to a complex historical era, this book does a great job. Important concepts like fascism and laissez-faire economics are explained in easy-to-understand sidebars, while the major developments of World Wars I and II and the interwar period are covered in some detail. Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Making of America doesn't go too deeply into some of the more ambiguous and controversial elements of the New Deal and the G.I. Bill -- including the fact that the social programs Roosevelt pushed for were largely inaccessible to Black Americans -- but Kanefield often acknowledges when and why historians disagree over parts of the story.
The writing is effective and informative, using the appropriate vocabulary to make young readers familiar with terms like "internment," "economy," and "national debt." Overall, the book does a solid job of teaching the basic history, which will hopefully encourage young readers to do more research on the monumental events that are covered.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.