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Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt’s Remarkable Life

by Candace Fleming

Published by An Anne Schwartz Book / Atheneum, 2005
192 pages
ISBN: 0-689-86544-9

Ages 9-14

Podcast featuring this book

In her introduction to this lively, accessible biography, Candace Fleming states that she wanted readers to “be as delighted and intrigued” by Eleanor Roosevelt as she was. Without a doubt, Our Eleanor meets that goal again and again. The “loosely chronological” scrapbook style of her narrative, which includes extensive visual material, allows readers to dabble at will or to immerse themselves in this thematic exploration of Eleanor’s life. Fleming offers a host of insightful perspectives as she explores Eleanor’s unsettling childhood; her marriage to Franklin Delano Roosevelt; her years as a mother; her teaching, writing and radio commitments; her political and diplomatic endeavors; and her post-White House life after Franklin’s death. Eleanor’s passion for social justice could make her seem larger than life, but here a very human portrait emerges. Eleanor was not immune to bitterness, hurt or confusion, and she was someone who changed over time in both her private and public personas. Fleming doesn’t shy away from subjects such as Franklin’s infidelity, Eleanor’s sexuality, her early anti-Semitism, and her questionable success as a parent. In these and other areas, the author includes commentary from several first-person sources, but always allows room for readers to draw their own conclusions. Eleanor’s own words conclude the book, and underscore the way she lived her life as evidenced repeatedly throughout this engaging book: “These crowded hours have been interesting and stimulating. They have, I hope, been useful. They have, at least, been lived to the hilt.” (MVL) ©2006 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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