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Who Was John F. Kennedy?: Who Was...? Paperback – December 29, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God
I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God
Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. Hardcover
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Yona Zeldis McDonough is a longtime doll lover and collector. She is also an award-winning author who has published numerous books for children and adults. She presently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Who Was

John F.
Kennedy?

Who Was

John F.
Kennedy?

To my children, James and Katherine
McDonough—Y.Z.M.

For Charlotte with love—J.W.

Who Was John F. Kennedy?

The small boat sped quickly along in the dark. It was a hot night in August. The thirteen men onboard were quiet and tense. Their mission was a scary one: They were looking for Japanese warships in the Pacific Ocean.

Suddenly, there was an explosion.

The small boat was ripped in half by a Japanese destroyer returning to its base. Two of the crew were killed instantly. The other eleven men clung to pieces of the boat until morning. Then the wreckage began to sink. The captain decided they all must swim to the safety of a nearby island. The men didn’t think they could make it.

“Will we ever get out of this?” asked one.

“It can be done,” replied the captain. “We’ll do it.”

One of the men was burned so badly that he could not swim. He told the captain to save himself and the other men. But the captain would not leave the wounded man. He swam for five long hours with the burned man on his back. When they reached the island, the captain discovered two natives and a canoe.

He also discovered a coconut shell on which he carved these words:

NATIVE KNOWS POSIT

HE CAN PILOT 11 ALIVE

NEED SMALL BOAT KENNEDY

He gave the shell with the message to the islanders who went by canoe to another island nearly forty miles away. Six days after the patrol boat was destroyed, the brave and quick-thinking captain and his crew were rescued.

The captain’s name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Chapter 1
Little Boy, Big Family

On May 29, 1917, a baby boy was born to Joseph P. Kennedy, a wealthy, Irish-American businessman, and his wife Rose. They named him John Fitzgerald Kennedy, in honor of Rose’s father—John F. Fitzgerald.

“Honey Fitz” as he was called, had been a popular politician and a former mayor of Boston. When his daughter Rose began dating the young Kennedy boy, Honey Fitz was not so sure he approved. But the couple kept seeing each other and, eventually, Honey Fitz was won over by Joe’s hardworking and ambitious nature.

IRISH IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES

IN THE 1840S AND 1850S, MORE THAN ONE MILLION IRISH IMMIGRANTS SAILED TO AMERICA. BACK IN IRELAND, THE POTATO CROP HAD FAILED. WITHOUT THEIR STAPLE FOOD, AT LEAST ONE MILLION PEOPLE DIED OF STARVATION AND DISEASE. THE IMMIGRANTS WHO CAME HERE WERE CRAMMED INTO CROWDED, DIRTY SHIPS. NEARLY 20 PERCENT OF THEM DIED BEFORE THEY ARRIVED. THE ONES WHO DID WERE CALLED THE “FAMINE IRISH.” LIKE MANY NEW IMMIGRANT GROUPS, THEY FACED DISCRIMINATION AND HATRED. THEY COULD NOT EASILY FIND JOBS OR PLACES TO LIVE. SIGNS WITH THE WORDS “IRISH NEED NOT APPLY” WERE COMMON. THEY TOOK THE ONLY WORK THEY COULD GET: LAYING RAILROAD TRACKS, SHOVELING COAL, DIGGING CANALS, AND CLEARING SWAMPS.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Series: Who Was...?
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (December 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0448437430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0448437439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Yona Zeldis McDonough is the author of seven novels for adults: THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS, IN DAHLIA'S WAKE, BREAKING THE BANK (which has been optioned for a film), A WEDDING IN GREAT NECK, TWO OF A KIND, YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME, and THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND, which came out on February 2, 2016. And for all those New Hampshire natives who happen upon the book, please know that she is fully aware that the state flower is purple lilac, and not lavender, as it states on page 8! How this mistake found its way into the novel is still a mystery, and she apologizes profusely for it!

She is also an award-winning children's book author with 26 children's books to her credit. THE DOLL SHOP DOWNSTAIRS received a starred review from Jewish Book World saying that it "will become a classic." In another starred review Kirkus called the sequel, THE CATS IN THE DOLL SHOP, "a quiet treasure." THE DOLL WITH THE YELLOW STAR won the 2006 Once Upon a World Award presented by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Yona has also written several books in the popular WHO WAS series, including WHO WAS HARRIET TUBMAN? which has sold over 400,000 copies and is the most popular title in the series. Her newest book for children, THE BICYCLE SPY, will be out from Scholastic in September 2016. Set in war-torn France, it tells the story of a brave boy who helps save a Jewish friend by riding his bicycle and delivering messages to Resistance members.

For over a dozen years, Yona has been the Fiction Editor at Lilith Magazine. She works independently to help aspiring writers polish their manuscripts. To arrange a book club visit, inquire about editorial services or just to say hi, please contact Yona via her website: www.yonazeldismcdonough.com or on the Facebook fan pages for her novels, which she hopes you'll "like."

FROM YONA:

When I was young, I didn't think about becoming a writer. In fact, I was determined to become a ballerina, because I studied ballet for many years, and by the time I was in high school, I was taking seven ballet classes a week. But I was always a big reader. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and I used to frequent all the different libraries in my neighborhood on a regular basis. I would look for books by authors I loved. I read my favorite books--ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, A LITTLE PRINCESS, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN--over and over again. I probably read each of those books twenty times in all. I read lots of other things too: I loved comic books and magazines, like Mad and Seventeen. But when you are reader, you just need to read. Sometimes you read books that change your life, like OF MICE AND MEN, which I read--and adored-- when I was in sixth grade. Other times, you read the latest adventures of Betty and Veronica. You'll read a three-day old newspaper some days or the back of the cereal box if that's all that there is available, because readers just need to read. So I kept reading, and I kept dancing too, though by the time I was a senior in high school, it was pretty clear to me that I was neither talented nor driven enough to become a professional ballet dancer and I stopped taking lessons and went off to college instead.


As a student at Vassar College, I never once took a writing course. I was not accepted into the poetry workshop I applied to, so I avoided all other writing classes, and instead focused on literature, language and art history, which was my declared major. I was so taken with the field that I decided to pursue my studies on a graduate level. I enrolled in a PhD program at Columbia University where I have to confess that I was miserable. I didn't like the teachers, the students or the classes. I found graduate school the antithesis of undergraduate education; while the latter encouraged experimentation, growth, expansion, the former seemed to demand a kind of narrowing of focus and a rigidity that was simply at odds with my soul. It was like business school without the reward of a well-paying job at the end. Everyone carried a briefcase. I too bought a briefcase, but since I mostly used it to tote my lunch and the NYT crossword puzzle, it didn't do much for my success as a grad student. But I have to thank the program at Columbia for being so very inhospitable, because it helped nudge me out of academia, where I so patently did not belong, and into a different kind of life. I was allowed to take classes in other departments, and by now I was recovered from my earlier rejection so I decided to take a fiction writing class--also, the class was open to anyone; I didn't have to submit work to be accepted. This class was my 'aha!' moment. The light bulb went off for me when I took that class. Suddenly, I understood what I wanted to do with my life. Now I just had to find a way to make a living while I did it.


I finished out the year at Columbia, got a job in which I had no interest whatsoever, and began to look for any kind of freelance writing that I could find. In the beginning, I wrote for very little money or even for free: I wrote for neighborhood newspapers, the alumni magazine of my college. I wrote brochures, book reviews, newsletters--anything and everything that anyone would ask me to write. I did this for a long time and eventually, it worked. I was able to be a little choosier about what I wrote, and for whom I wrote it. And I was able to use my clips to persuade editors to actually assign me articles and stories, instead of my having to write them and hope I could get then published.
But all the while I was also writing the kind of fiction--short stories, a novel--that had interested me when I was still a student at Columbia. And eventually I began to publish this work too.

I presently live in Brooklyn, NY with my husband and our two children and two small, yappy dogs. I have been setting my recent novels in my own backyard so to speak; Brooklyn has been fertile ground in all sorts of ways.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I began reading this 112 page book one afternoon to my 13 and 11 year old girls and my 8 and 6 year old boys. They wouldn't let me put it down. I read the whole book to them in one sitting and THEY ALL LOVED IT! It is rare that a book engages ALL my children.

One thing I really liked about this book was the occasional 1 page aside. Topics indirectly related to JFK like prohibition, cuban blockade, potato famine, irish immigration, etc.
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A Kid's Review on September 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was a very good biography about the first Roman Catholic President, JFK. It was very easy to read, yet filled with info like the page all about his siblings. I am interested in reading other books in the series. All in all, BUY THIS BOOK FOR KIDS!!!!
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J.F.K. IS MY FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WORLD. THAT'S BECAUSE OF THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK IS FULL OF INFORMATION. J.F.K. IN MY OPINION IS THE BEST PRESIDENT. YOU'll LOVE THIS BOOK.
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I am 8 years old and JFK is my favorite president. In this book I learned what the pt109 was and that JFK had back pain. I really enjoyed this book.
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More about Kennedy getting assassinated. I liked all the information about his life and his big family. Thank you very much.
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Jack was one of my favourite presidents but I never knew the backround.
but it was unfair that he had died like that.
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By Hall family on February 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked this book because it is about the life of John f. Kennedy it is great great great great
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My fourth grader needed to research a past president and her teacher assigned JFK to her. We found this book online and she read it over a weekend. It was easy to read and she was able to retain the information easier than just looking at facts on the internet. She truly felt she knew about JFK and now she wants to know more about Jackie. Apparently she was a fashion icon and so that was all it took for my daughter. What a great way to learn history and to learn about a president that was frozen in time at the prime of his life due to his premature death. Highly recommended for your student.
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