A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt

C. Coco de Young, Author, C. Coco De Young, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-385-32633-9
First-time author De Young uses her own family history to create a Depression-era story about first-generation Italian-Americans living in Johnstown, Pa., in 1933. Eleven-year-old Margo Bandini, her parents and young brother, Charlie, face losing their house if they do not find a way to pay back the bank loan used to cover hospital expenses for Charlie's emergency leg operation. In a letter, Margo appeals to Eleanor ""Everywhere"" Roosevelt, the person she admires most, for help. Her teacher (who moonlights as a reporter and knows the First Lady) provides a swift, personal delivery of the letter and soon Margo receives a reply that restores her faith in miracles and resolves the crisis. Despite its rather contrived conclusion, this historic novel is successful in conveying the climate of the times: the ""domino"" effect of the steel mill cutting back workers' hours translating into failing businesses and the necessity of neighbors relying on one another for support during hard times. Margo emerges as an admirable heroine whose actions reveal a generous heart and determination to help her family hold on to their home. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-20413-2
Prebound-Other - 105 pages - 978-0-613-28551-3
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