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

4.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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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.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


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; 11/29/04 edition (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 (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great little book. We buy lots of Who Was books and use them for homeschool enrichment. Short chapters, larger font, and lots of pictures make these books an easy read. This was a great addition to our collection.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great information about JFK but the illustrations looked like a toddler did them. Even my 8-year-old commented on how juvenile they looked. Our other "Who Was" books have much better illustrations in them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the 50th anniversary of the assination of JFK approached my grandaughter's class studied the man and his presidency. As I was a teenager at that time I told her what I recalled, but then, to expand her knowledge sent this to her. Her teacher told me that she brought it into class and shared with her classmates. They loved it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish they would actually put this series as being listed in the adult section! Why? Cause they are informative and big worded enough for an adult to enjoy. The illustration are not kiddish though enough for a teen to enjoy. I've read 302 pgs of these books so far, and I found all three of them to be captivating. I never really had an history class, and I loathe textbooks. This is more than I would actually get in a textbook if I read about John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, and Neil Armstrong. For instance: I didn't know about Neil Armstrong's daughter, I did know about Albert Einstein's sons only cause I read a 500pg book on him, and it took me two years of sidetracking to get it read. I already knew a lot about the Kennedys because I'm a space fan, and I've read parts of books on him already not too mention documentaries. I read these in about an hour before dinner. But seriously, they should be in the young adult section at least, as well. The only history I have truly learned comes from biographies,documentaries,museum trips, and I love it. I hope this person writes more of these.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a home-teacher working with an autistic, slow-learner, adult student who is Chinese. My student is is interested in John F. Kennedy, and we have read simple little stories about him. "Who Was john F. Kennedy" is great for his reading level, and he enjoys reading about Kennedy, but for my student (autistic), the format for the book is not really conducive to reading smoothness. For "normal" children the book would be fine, but for my student, the change in format has proven to be a little disruptive. After a random series of pages, the author inserts a page of supportive text, which to most children would give interesting tidbits of information, but to my student, for a moment or two, he loses continuity of the story line.
This book would probably be fine with "normal" children, but for autistic kids, it is not quite as satisfactory.
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