A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Joey: The Story of Joe Biden, is a picture book biography of the former vice president, written by his wife, Jill Biden, with veteran kids' nonfiction author Kathleen Krull (No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and illustrated by Amy June Bates. It focuses on childhood experiences but includes scenes of him in high school, in college, running for Congress, and being vice president under President Barack Obama, and ends with him deciding in 2019 to run for president. There's no violence depicted, but the text mentions that as a boy he experienced bullying and name-calling due to his stutter and that he would sometimes fight the boys doing the bullying. One illustration shows him with clenched fists. Back matter includes family photos of him as a kid and a timeline of his life through early 2020.
- Parents say
- Kids say
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the story?
JOEY: THE STORY OF JOE BIDEN, warmly tells a story of the future vice president growing up in the 1950s in a happy family, riding his bike, delivering papers on his paper route, and playing football. Some images will be familiar to baby boomers, like watching Lassie on television. The book notes that his sister, Valerie, was his best friend, and it shows his early leadership skills (captain of the football team winning the final game and scoring the final touchdown, being elected president of his first-year class at the University of Delaware) and his family's move from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Delaware so that his dad could get a better job. Throughout, it shows his character, the strong values he learned from his parents, and his struggle to overcome stuttering and financial challenges. When his family couldn't afford the tuition for him to attend the local Catholic high school, he did a work-study program, spending summers at the school pulling weeds, painting the iron fences, and washing the school building's 200 windows. His achievements as an adult are briefly touched on in the later pages, including President Barack Obama giving him a medal and calling him "the best vice president America's ever had." Back matter includes family photos and a biographical timeline.
Is it any good?
This fond biography is full of the kind of colorful, nostalgic vignettes a kid might hear from a parent or grandparent about what it was like "when I grew up." But they're all rich in detail and illustrated in charming watercolors (Lassie on the television, catching the winning touchdown pass). There's an undercurrent of the values Biden learned from his parents, his sense of service, and his drive for leadership as he moved from high school football star to law school grad to running for Congress at just 29 years old. While it's a glowing portrait, it's not just a list of achievements you might find ticked off in a campaign pamphlet or commercial. It's an inspiring biography that shows kids a "regular Joe" can grow up to serve in the Congress and the White House. And it shows an example of a kid so determined to overcome his stutter that he would eventually be able to choose a profession where public speaking was part of the job.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the vice president's childhood shown in Joey: The Story of Joe Biden. How does it look different from yours? What parts seem the same?
The book shows that Joe Biden's sister was his best friend. How do you think that affected how he thought about girls and women when he grew up and voted on laws that would affect them? Do you have a brother or sister who's your best friend?
What stories of Joe's childhood make you think he'd grow up to be a leader?
- Author: Jill Biden
- Illustrator: Amy June Bates
- Genre: Picture Book
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
- Publication date: August 14, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 48
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: October 30, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love picture books and biographies
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.