It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday! The bestselling author of “The Night Before…” series, Natasha Wing, has a new nonfiction book out. In this picture book for older kids, she takes on a topic I haven’t seen before in children’s books. And it wasn’t easy, as she will tell us in her “Mining for Heart” guest post. Come back next week to learn about her process.
Title: When Jackie Saved Grand Central, the True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Fight for an American Icon
Written by: Natasha Wing
Illustrated by: Alexandra Boiger
Houghton Miflin Harcourt, 2017, Narrative nonfiction
Suitable for ages: 6-9
Themes/topics: historical preservation, Grand Central Station
When Jackie became First Lady of the United States in 1961, she moved into the White House with President John F. Kennedy and their children. The president’s residence was the most famous house in the country – but Jackie was dismayed to find it as rundown as an old hotel. The walls needed painting, the furniture was shabby, and there were very few mementos of America’s great leaders.
Brief synopsis (from barnesandnoble.com)
Before she was an iconic First Lady of the United States, Jackie Kennedy was a born-and-raised New Yorker. She loved everything about her city, from the natural beauty of the parks to the architectural history of the buildings. So when the owners of Grand Central wanted to build a skyscraper on top of the famous train station, Jackie knew they had to be stopped. She helped inspire thousands of people to come together and fight to protect the historic landmark. From letter-writing campaigns all the way to the Supreme Court, this little-known story celebrates winning in the face of immeasurable odds and how one person can make a big difference.
Activities and Resources:
Persuasive writing: Research some of the old buildings in your town. Why are they important in your town’s history? Which ones do you think should be preserved? Choose one and outline your reasons why this building must be saved in a persuasive paragraph or essay.
Why I like this book:
Historic preservation is a challenging topic to present to young readers, and Wing has done an excellent job. Famous buildings such as the White House and Grand Central Station offer a concrete way to introduce kids to history. For those who have the opportunity, standing in a building steeped in history can be a unique experience, one that allows you to imagine the past as the atmosphere seeps into your being. For those who have not had this experience, this story provides a taste of that special feeling that just might entice young readers to explore history. It also gives them a peek into how citizens make a difference.
Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.