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Childhoods of the Presidents

This series focuses on the early lives of some of the greatest men who would one day be elected to the highest office in the United States. The books provide detailed information about each president's birth, childhood, education, and early work experience, along with a final chapter that gives an overview of their adult successes and political careers.

16 volumes
9 & up
6.5 x 9.25 inches
"The easy-to-read texts and well-chosen, full-color, and black-and-white photographs make these volumes good starting points for readers interested in these men."
School Library Journal
"In both volumes, rife with colorful photos and interesting sidebars, emphasis on character and family relations should help young readers see very approachable human qualities in these future leaders. The hope, as stated in the introduction, is to help all young people aspire to great success, no matter what their background. They succeed nicely."
"With a wonderful selection of full color photographs and illustrations this is an admirable book for any library or school collection. In the back of the book the reader will find a chronology, glossary, a list of books for further reading, a list of Internet resources, and an index." "The text is well written, and the author has added human interest to this biography by including interesting anecdotes and by quoting reflections of the many people involved..." "The book is a teacher's and students dream--having so much information organized so well." "The writing is as impressive as the layout. Original quotes support content geared to hold the interest of young readers..."
Children's Literature Comprehensive Database
"The language is simple, the style is entertaining, and the story line is easy for young children to follow. Recommended."
Library Media Connection
Abraham Lincoln
by Bethanne Kelly Patrick

Hardcover Available
Many historians rank him as the greatest U.S. president, a towering figure who emancipated America's slaves, guided the Union through the Civil War, and spoke eloquently for reconciliation with the defeated Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln reached unsurpassed heights of leadership; and he started life from the depths of disadvantage. Born in a log cabin in Kentucky, Abe Lincoln grew up there and on the Indiana frontier, where his family scratched out a meager living farming the land. His mother's tragic death plunged the Lincolns into abject poverty when Abe was nine, but his father remarried a year later and the new Mrs. Lincoln restored a measure of stability to the household. She called her stepson "the best boy I have ever seen," and that boy "honest and hardworking, with a delightful sense of humor and an unquenchable love of learning" would grow up to become one of the most revered leaders in American history.

Andrew Jackson
by Daniel E. Harmon

Hardcover Available
Andrew Jackson's life reads like something dreamed up by a Hollywood screenwriter. America's seventh chief executive was a stubborn, hotheaded man who, as one historian wrote, "hated and loved and swore with a magnificence beyond all American experience." Andy Jackson's childhood was every bit as colorful as his later life. He grew up poor, uneducated, and fatherless on the Carolina frontier. He joined a patriot militia at age 13, was captured and nearly killed for refusing to shine a British officer's boots, endured a horrific prisoner of war camp, and survived an attack of smallpox. Orphaned, he came into a sizable inheritance-but squandered the money in a few days of gambling. With no way to support himself, he studied law and passed the bar; all before turning 20! This book chronicles the early life of one of America's most fascinating and important presidents.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
by Anne Marie Sullivan

Hardcover Available
To the millions of Americans who had lost their jobs, their life savings, and their hope, the words of the newly inaugurated 32nd president came as a source of both comfort and inspiration. "The only thing we have to fear," Franklin Delano Roosevelt assured a nation in the throes of the Great Depression, "is fear itself." America took strength from its leader's confidence-which Roosevelt had displayed since childhood and which his doting parents had constantly nurtured. As a boy he had almost no contact with people outside his parents' upper-class social circle, but as president Franklin Roosevelt would do more for the poor and working class than perhaps any other chief executive, including the creation of Social Security. This book examines the pivotal early years of America's only four-term president, who led his countrymen through the depression and rallied them to face the challenge of World War II.

George Washington
by Gail Snyder

Hardcover Available
"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." That's how a famous cavalry officer described George Washington, whose importance in U.S. history can hardly be overstated. On the battlefields of the Revolutionary War, Washington kept the American cause alive for six long years before finally forcing the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781. In 1789 he was elected the first president of the United States; in fact, he was the first head of state ever elected. If people the world over are familiar with the inspiring deeds of the adult George Washington, his childhood is less well known. This book provides some fascinating details. It describes Washington's very limited formal education, shows how his mother's opposition torpedoed a plan to send him to sea, and recounts his first surveying trip, a 1748 expedition over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Young students will enjoy this revealing look at a legendary American's formative years.

Harry S. Truman
by Barbara Saffer

Hardcover Available
On April 12, 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was serving his fourth term as president of the United States, died suddenly. Many of Roosevelt's close advisers worried about the ability of the vice president, Harry S. Truman, to take over as chief executive; especially since the country was in the midst of World War II and Truman, a plain-speaking Missourian, seemed to lack Roosevelt's sophistication and political skills. History would prove such concerns unfounded. Over the next eight years, President Truman would be called on to make some of the most momentous decisions and craft some of the most important U.S. policies of the 20th century. And, historians generally agree, he performed his job with great distinction. The values and habits Truman learned during his childhood in Missouri (honesty, hard work, taking responsibility for one's actions) served him well in the White House. This book details the formative years of America's 33rd president.

James Madison
by Lisa Kozleski

Hardcover Available
He didn't sign the Declaration of Independence or fight in the Revolutionary War, but no one did more to create the United States of America than James Madison. His influence is seen in a remarkable document, the Constitution, which not only established a system of government that has served America so well for more than two centuries but also guaranteed the fundamental rights of American citizens. Framing that document, as Madison readily acknowledged, was a collaborative effort. Yet so important were his contributions that the quiet, diminutive Virginian won the nickname "Father of the Constitution." This book explores the childhood and youth of James Madison, revealing some of the people, ideas, and events that would shape his later thinking. A man of keen intellect and great foresight, America's fourth president helped lay the foundation of the world's longest-lasting democracy.

James Monroe
by Hal Marcovitz

Hardcover Available
On the day after Christmas in 1776, an 18-year-old from Virginia led a charge on a pair of cannons. That brave action cleared the way for General George Washington's Continental army to enter the town of Trenton, New Jersey. But the 18-year-old very nearly didn't live to see Washington's victory in the Battle of Trenton, a turning point in the Revolutionary War. During the charge on the cannons James Monroe took a musket ball high in the shoulder near his neck. He would have bled to death had it not been for the quick work of a doctor who'd been by his side. The son of a Virginia planter, James Monroe got caught up in the fervor for independence while he was a college student. After the war he went on to serve in a variety of government positions, capping his career by becoming America's fifth president.

John Adams
by Hal Marcovitz

Hardcover Available
Were it not for his father, John Adams might have lived and died an anonymous farmer, never venturing far from his small Massachusetts hometown of Braintree. Bored with his studies in the town's one-room schoolhouse, the boy wanted to drop out and go to work on the family farm. But, recognizing that his eldest son had a bright mind, Mr. Adams insisted that he continue his education. That fatherly decision turned out to have fortunate consequences for John Adams' and for the entire United States. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, Adams would bring his education, legal training, and well-honed skills as a public speaker to Philadelphia, where he became the most eloquent and effective champion for adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Years later, Braintree's leading citizen would be elected the second president of the nation he had done so much to help create.

John F. Kennedy
by Hal Marcovitz

Hardcover Available
John F. Kennedy's father, one of the richest men in America, had big plans for his son. Joseph Kennedy wanted his oldest boy-a bright, talented, and personable youth-to go into politics, and he even dreamed that the boy might one day become the first Catholic elected president of the United States. Those dreams were shattered, however, when Joseph Kennedy's oldest son, Joe Jr., died in action during World War II. John F. Kennedy, bright and talented in his own right, had grown up in the shadow of his older brother. But John would ultimately fulfill the ambitions of his father, capping a meteoric political rise in 1960 by being elected the nation's 35th president. This book examines the childhood and youth of a man who, though cut down by an assassin's bullet after less than three years in the White House, is remembered for instilling in his fellow citizens a sense of optimism and idealism.

Ronald Reagan
by Tamra Orr

Hardcover Available
"Not since Lincoln . . . has there been a president who has so understood the power of words to uplift and inspire." So said Margaret Thatcher, a longtime British prime minister, of a much-admired American leader whose uncanny ability to connect with ordinary people earned him the nickname "the Great Communicator." For many of his fellow citizens, Ronald Wilson Reagan's simple, clear, firmly held beliefs helped explain a complex and often frightening world-and reassured Americans about their place in it. The core beliefs and values of America's 40th chief executive-who is perhaps best remembered for his hard line against communism and for restoring U.S. confidence after an extended period of economic, political, and military setbacks-were largely formed during his early years. This book details those years, a period Ronald Reagan would later remember fondly as a "Tom Sawyer boyhood."

Theodore Roosevelt
by Hal Marcovitz

Hardcover Available
Once, before giving a campaign speech in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt was shot by a would-be assassin. But the former president refused to let the attack get in the way of his message. After police had subdued the shooter, he calmly delivered his speech as planned, pressing his handkerchief against the wound to stop the bleeding. Few who knew Teddy Roosevelt as a frail and sickly child would have suspected that he might one day be capable of an act of such toughness and physical strength. Yet even as a young boy Roosevelt displayed uncommon determination. He also showed a keen interest in, and love for, nature. Teddy Roosevelt spent much of his childhood collecting, drawing, and writing about animal and bird species. As president, Roosevelt would play a vital role in establishing America's national park system. This book details the fascinating childhood of our 26th president, whose many accomplishments included getting the Panama Canal built and winning a Nobel Peace Prize.

Thomas Jefferson
by Joseph Ferry

Hardcover Available
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." These words, from the Declaration of Independence, continue to inspire freedom-loving people more than two centuries after a 33-year-old Virginian picked up his quill pen and committed them to parchment. That man, Thomas Jefferson, would later become the third president of the United States; the nation his lucid words played such a key role in helping to create. This book focuses on the formative years of one of the key figures in American history. As the reader will discover, the foundations for Jefferson's many later accomplishments-as an author, inventor, self-taught architect, diplomat, political philosopher, and politician-were laid during his youth in Virginia.

Ulysses S. Grant
by Bethanne Kelly Patrick

Hardcover Available
Most historians today rate Ulysses S. Grant as a mediocre president at best. By contrast, Americans of the late 1860s and 1870s regarded Grant with an esteem that approached reverence. As the Union's head general, Ulysses Grant had relentlessly, methodically worn down the Confederate armies, thus bringing the terrible Civil War to an end, and making the Ohio native the most popular man in America. Grant rode this wave of popularity to the White House in 1868 and again in 1872. As this book shows, the childhood of Ulysses S. Grant foreshadowed the successes-and failures-America's 18th president would experience later in life. Self-reliant and solitary, the young Ulysses seemed to understand horses better than people; President Grant's administration would be plagued by scandals caused by advisers whose motives he'd misjudged. Yet the dogged determination and self-possession he'd first displayed as a child would serve Grant well in his military career and in his final, heroic battle with cancer.

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