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A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy's Big Speech
Contributor(s): Corey, Shana, Christie, R. Gregory (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0735842752     ISBN-13: 9780735842755
Publisher: North South Books
    OUR PRICE: $17.10  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: April 2017
Annotation: ""The time has come for this Nation to fulfill its promise." John F. Kennedy was born one hundred years ago. As America's thirty-fifth president, he often took bold actions: establishing a peace corps and challenging Americans to land on the moon. But on civil rights, it took the urging and the example of other courageous people--leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson, and even students and children--to help him realize that the time to act was NOW. On June 11, 1963, Kennedy's "big speech"--his civil rights address--was a game changer, and his efforts laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act of 1964; but our country's work is not finished. Acclaimed author Shana Corey and New York Times Best Illustrated artist R. Gregory Christie deliver a fresh and deeply human look at one of our country's most inspiring presidents, underscoring the greatness and fallibility of our leaders and how each one of us, no matter who we are, have the power to make a difference. With quotes from JFK's speeches, detailed back matter, and a thought-provoking author's note, this biography offers a sensitive look at a tumultuous time in history and compelling questions about effecting positive change today"--
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
African Americans; Civil rights; History; 20th century; Juvenile literature.
Speeches, addresses, etc., American; Juvenile literature.
Presidents; United States; Biography; Juvenile literature.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Political
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Social Activists
- Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States
Dewey: 973.922092
LCCN: 2016052814
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 1-2, Age 6-7
Book type: Easy Non Fiction
Physical Information: 11.50" H x 8.75" W x 0.75" (1.08 lbs) 53 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 189548
Reading Level: 5.2   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 0.5
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Shana Corey has written several picture books, among them Here Come the Girl Scouts!, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer, which the New York Times called “a picture book girls are likely to love.” and The Secret Subway, which Kirkus called "Absolutely wonderful in every way.” Learn more at

R. Gregory Christie received the Caldecott Honor Award in 2016. He is a three-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration and a two-time recipient of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of the Year Award. He’s also a recipient of the NAACP’s Image Award, The Boston Globe’s Horn Book Award, and the American Library Associations’ Theodore Seuss Geisel Award in Illustration. He lives in Georgia.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Spring)
With inspiring quotes integrated throughout, this dense picture-book biography, which spans JFK's life but centers on civil rights progress, urges young readers to speak out against injustice. Corey acknowledges Kennedy's imperfect handling of complex issues; Christie's stylized paintings include striking scenes of contemporaneous unrest. An author's note and bios (with portraits) of other icons from the era are appended. Reading list, websites. Bib. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 February #3)

Corey (The Secret Subway) and Christie (Freedom in Congo Square) celebrate the birthday centenary of John F. Kennedy with an engaging picture book biography primarily focused on the former president's evolution on the topic of civil rights. A conversational narrative starts out speaking directly to readers: "The people who make history aren't just famous leaders.... They're real people, just like you. Sometimes they are you." After spreads detailing Kennedy's childhood, military service, and early political career, the story turns to civil rights and the president's initial hesitancy to advocate for meaningful reform. Corey adeptly contextualizes Kennedy's eventual arrival at action, amid protests and desegregation attempts, and his historic antidiscrimination speech that set the stage for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Christie's expressive paintings veer toward the abstract, with skewed proportions and bold brushstrokes, yet the realism of the faces stands out. An empowering conclusion ("And so now it's your turn... to speak up, to act... to make history") is followed by an author's note, bibliography, source notes, and brief vignettes about other notable figures who appear in the story. Ages 8–up. Author's agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Apr.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 March)

Gr 3–5—On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave an eloquent speech in which he made a plea for civil rights for African Americans. He was lauded for his blunt but sincere appeal to ensure equality for all Americans. Corey begins with biographical information on Kennedy, including his wealthy upbringing in an influential family, his illnesses as a child, his run for Congress, and his eventual election to the presidency. The text then segues into the struggle of African Americans to achieve civil rights, detailing the arduous work of sit-ins, marches, and Freedom Rides. Finally, the story returns to Kennedy's 1963 speech to Congress. Though mostly adulatory in tone, the book points out that Kennedy was, for political reasons, hesitant to take action, thus providing a contrast between the man who wrote Profiles in Courage and the politician in the White House. Christie's impressionistic illustrations are poignant and enhance the straightforward narrative. Back matter includes a section that identifies notable figures featured in the artwork and offers additional background on them. VERDICT Though there are numerous biographies on Kennedy for this audience, few focus solely on his role in civil rights, making this work a dynamic addition for U.S. history collections.—Margaret Nunes, Gwinnett County Public Library, GA

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.