cover image Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy

Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy

Doreen Rappaport, illus. by Matt Tavares, Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4231-2272-2

As with these collaborators' Lady Liberty, the striking cover of this picture-book biography features a closeup portrait of the subject, all the more compelling in this instance with the omission of any type. In her signature succinct style, Rappaport fuses facts about Kennedy's personal and public lives with quotations from his writings and speeches. The author credits the 35th president for such achievements as establishing the Peace Corps and negotiating the first major weapons test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union, yet asserts, "not all of Kennedy's decisions were wise." She calls the U.S.'s 1961 invasion of Cuba "a disaster" and notes that, while violence erupted in the South as blacks protested for equal rights, Kennedy worried that he would alienate white Southern lawmakers. "For two years he hesitated," before "he took a firm stand and called for new laws protecting black Americans." Tavares's light- and shadow-infused paintings balance lifelike portrayals of Kennedy with renderings of dramatic events, notably a Japanese destroyer ramming Kennedy's PT boat during WWII and the planting of the American flag on the moon. An evenhanded, graphically stirring biography. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)