Title: Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life
Author: Candace Fleming
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Concepts: allocation and distribution, child schooling and work, discrimination, economic history, economic role of government, human resources, scarcity, social justice, unemployment
This biography details the life of Eleanor Roosevelt from her birth to death, although the book is not always strictly chronological, choosing instead to group items of interest by topic rather than linear progression. However, the author does provide a timeline at the beginning of the book to help place events in chronological order. Rather than being strictly narrative, the author provides small snippets of information placed on the page in columns reminiscent of a newspaper’s pages. In this fashion, the author is able to include here and there little bits of trivia or small anecdotes that would not fit into a traditional biography. The book addresses the historic events in Eleanor’s life (moving into the White House, becoming a United Nations delegate, etc.) as well as those that are more seemingly mundane (getting into minor car accidents, learning to shoot a gun at the FBI range, etc.). Along the way, readers learn not only about Eleanor and consequently Franklin Roosevelt, but also about the times in which Eleanor lived, thereby covering events like World War II and the Cold War and the cultural milieu such as attitudes toward African-Americans and women.
Subtitled “A Scrapbook Look,” the book collects not only the photographic images typically included in biographies, but also images of letters, notes for speeches, newspaper articles, and so on. The book ends with the supplementary material of a bibliography, extensive source notes, and an index.
As well as an excellent resource for learning history, this book provides many opportunities for discussing economic concepts and history. Within its pages is a vast of array of topics including but not limited to: the Great Depression, New Deal policies, child labor laws, equal pay for equal work, labor unions, unemployment, and welfare.
This book is recommended for an older audience of tweens or teens, not only for its meaty content but also because it is not afraid to enter (however briefly) into controversial topics including Eleanor’s initially anti-Semitic views, Franklin’s extramarital affairs, and the possibility that Eleanor was bisexual.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children