Eleanor Roosevelt, Fighter for Justice by Ilene Cooper | SLJ Review

Gr 6-9 –An eye-opening journey through Eleanor Roosevelt’s life, career, and social justice work.

redstarCOOPER, Ilene. Eleanor Roosevelt, Fighter for Justice: Her Impact on the Civil Rights Movement, the White House, and the World. 192p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. reprods. Abrams. Aug. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419722950.

Gr 6-9 –An eye-opening journey through Eleanor Roosevelt’s life, career, and social justice work. Cooper tells the life story of Roosevelt in chronological chapters beginning with her lonely childhood, then the joy and challenges of her marriage to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and her subsequent career as a politician’s wife during significant historical events. There is a focus on the Depression and the resulting government programs to help poverty-stricken Americans and the civil rights movements of the 1930s and 1940s. The author’s meticulous research creates a realistic portrayal of Roosevelt by including her achievements and also recognizing the limitations of her upbringing and status which affected Roosevelt’s social justice work. Her correspondence with civil rights activist Pauli Murray is included as an example of her ignorance of the plight of African Americans and her willingness to learn and change. Cooper mentions how Roosevelt’s beliefs were tempered by the political expectations of her husband and his party, both of which often restrained her from speaking out. A variety of photographs effectively aid the story and detailed back matter includes one of Roosevelt’s speeches on civil liberties. VERDICT An engaging biography that will greatly enhance middle school collections.–Casey O’Leary, Mooresville Public Library, IN

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.

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