A Life of Service: The Story of Senator Tammy Duckworth

Candlewick. Sept. 2022. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536222050.
K-Gr 3–This picture book biography chronicles the life of Tammy Duckworth, beginning with her childhood in Thailand and leading to her groundbreaking election as a U.S. Senator. During her childhood, Duckworth spent time traveling all over Southeast Asia, and she knew at an early age she wanted to give back to her community. When her father lost his job, the family moved to Hawaii where they struggled to afford to eat each day, and Duckworth helped provide for her family by selling flowers by the side of the road. After attending college and graduate school, Duckworth joined the ROTC, successfully completed flight school, rose through the ranks of the National Guard, and met and married her husband. When the U.S. invaded Iraq, Duckworth disagreed with the decision, but she continued to serve, leading and planning helicopter missions in Balad, Iraq. In 2004, her helicopter was attacked, and Duckworth was pulled from the wreckage, presumed dead. As she recovered slowly in the hospital, Duckworth relearned how to eat and how to walk using prosthetics. Powerful details about Duckworth’s childhood and her experiences in the National Guard impart a sense of the senator’s resilient spirit; the book concludes on a hope-filled call to action of more work to be done. Back matter includes a time line of major life events, short summaries of political issues most important to Senator Duckworth, and resources for further reading.
VERDICT A worthwhile and empowering biography recommended for large nonfiction collections.

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