Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy (Big Words)

by Doreen Rappaport (Author) Matt Tavares (Illustrator)

Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy (Big Words)
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Series: Big Words
John F. Kennedy was a popular, charismatic president, beloved by many. But he didn't always believe he had the strength or courage for that office. As a child he was sickly and also overshadowed by his strong, capable, athletic older brother Joe. After Joe Jr.'s death John had to work hard to live up to his own expectations and to those of his father. He overcame pain and self-doubt to see the country through one of the most difficult crises in its history. Doreen Rappaport once again combines real-life quotes with her own lyrical prose to create a moving portrait of a beloved figure. Matt Tavares' stunning artwork vividly depicts this unique time in history.

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Publishers Weekly

As with these collaborators' Lady Liberty, the striking cover of this picture-book biography features a closeup portrait of the subject, all the more compelling in this instance with the omission of any type. In her signature succinct style, Rappaport fuses facts about Kennedy's personal and public lives with quotations from his writings and speeches. The author credits the 35th president for such achievements as establishing the Peace Corps and negotiating the first major weapons test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union, yet asserts, "not all of Kennedy's decisions were wise." She calls the U.S.'s 1961 invasion of Cuba "a disaster" and notes that, while violence erupted in the South as blacks protested for equal rights, Kennedy worried that he would alienate white Southern lawmakers. "For two years he hesitated," before "he took a firm stand and called for new laws protecting black Americans." Tavares's light- and shadow-infused paintings balance lifelike portrayals of Kennedy with renderings of dramatic events, notably a Japanese destroyer ramming Kennedy's PT boat during WWII and the planting of the American flag on the moon. An evenhanded, graphically stirring biography. Ages 58. (Oct.) Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-5--This biographical sketch thoughtfully and respectfully highlights Kennedy's life from his young adulthood through his presidency. He is first seen as a teenager reading at his family's oceanfront home in Hyannis Port, MA. While his father encouraged competition among his children, young JFK couldn't help but feel he was constantly in the shadow of his older brother, Joe. But when Joe tragically died in a plane explosion, pressure was put on Jack to follow in his shoes. Through lyrical prose, Rappaport has created a moving portrait of a beloved political figure in the same vein as Eleanor, Quiet No More (2009) and Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (2001, both Hyperion). Her descriptive narration is spiced with memorable quotations and Tavares's larger-than-life illustrations. The realistic paintings portray the different periods in JFK's life with depth and detail, capturing his emotions, courage, and sovereignty while remaining true to this unique time in history. The book concludes with author and illustrator notes. This beautifully illustrated and gracefully told story serves as a superior introduction to our 35th president.--Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, OR

Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

As with these collaborators' Lady Liberty, the striking cover of this picture-book biography features a closeup portrait of the subject, all the more compelling in this instance with the omission of any type. In her signature succinct style, Rappaport fuses facts about Kennedy's personal and public lives with quotations from his writings and speeches. The author credits the 35th president for such achievements as establishing the Peace Corps and negotiating the first major weapons test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union, yet asserts, "not all of Kennedy's decisions were wise." She calls the U.S.'s 1961 invasion of Cuba "a disaster" and notes that, while violence erupted in the South as blacks protested for equal rights, Kennedy worried that he would alienate white Southern lawmakers. "For two years he hesitated," before "he took a firm stand and called for new laws protecting black Americans." Tavares's light- and shadow-infused paintings balance lifelike portrayals of Kennedy with renderings of dramatic events, notably a Japanese destroyer ramming Kennedy's PT boat during WWII and the planting of the American flag on the moon. An evenhanded, graphically stirring biography. PW"
Doreen Rappaport
Doreen Rappaport has written numerous award-winning books for children, including Freedom Ship and The School Is Not White (both illustrated by Curtis James); Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Honor Book illustrated by Bryan Collier; and John's Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon, also illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Bryan Collier's first book, Uptown, published in 2000, received a Coretta Scott King (CSK) Illustrator Award, as well as an Ezra Jack Keats Award. The same year, Freedom River, which he illustrated, received a CSK Illustrator Honor Award. He is the illustrator of Martin's Big Words, for which he received his first Caldecott Honor Award and a CSK Honor Award. He received his second Caldecott Honor Award in 2006, as well as another CSK Award for Rosa, written by Nikki Giovanni. He is also a New York Times bestseller with Barack Obama, written by Nikki Grimes, which reached the #1 spot in picture books during its 20 weeks on the list and received a 2009 NAACP Image Award for Best Children's Book, and has illustrated many other acclaimed, award-winning titles.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9781423122722
Lexile Measure
780L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
October 20, 2010
Series
Big Words

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