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A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt
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About the Author

C. Coco De Young grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Her father's family home was saved with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt.

C. Coco De Young grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Her father's family home was saved with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Reviews

Gr 3-6-This Depression-era story is rich with the details of life in the small mining and steel town of Johnstown, PA. When her family is threatened with losing their home and business because they are unable to pay their bank loans, 11-year-old Margo Bandini writes a desperate letter to Mrs. Roosevelt as part of a class assignment. Margo has read about the First Lady's interest in children and her visits to people all over the world and hopes that the woman might find a way to save her home. With a little help from Margo's teacher, who is also a newspaper writer and a friend of Mrs. Roosevelt's, the letter gets the attention of the First Lady, who then arranges with the bank to refinance the family's loan as a part of the New Deal relief program. The outcome of this plot may seem outlandish, yet this novel is based on events that actually occurred in the author's family. The strong and believable female characters, the smooth integration of historical facts into the story, and the compelling first-person narrative make this a good choice for social-studies reading, historical-fiction assignments, or book discussion.-Joan Zaleski, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

"[A] heartwarming Depression-era episode around a true family story."--Kirkus Reviews

"This historic novel is successful in conveying the climate of the times. . . . Margo emerges as an admirable heroine."--Publishers Weekly "Based on a true family story, this novel . . . creates a strong sense of place and time, when the Depression was felt up to the front porch of a loving family home."--Booklist

First-time author De Young uses her own family history to create a Depression-era story about first-generation Italian-Americans living in Johnstown, Pa., in 1933. Eleven-year-old Margo Bandini, her parents and young brother, Charlie, face losing their house if they do not find a way to pay back the bank loan used to cover hospital expenses for Charlie's emergency leg operation. In a letter, Margo appeals to Eleanor "Everywhere" Roosevelt, the person she admires most, for help. Her teacher (who moonlights as a reporter and knows the First Lady) provides a swift, personal delivery of the letter and soon Margo receives a reply that restores her faith in miracles and resolves the crisis. Despite its rather contrived conclusion, this historic novel is successful in conveying the climate of the times: the "domino" effect of the steel mill cutting back workers' hours translating into failing businesses and the necessity of neighbors relying on one another for support during hard times. Margo emerges as an admirable heroine whose actions reveal a generous heart and determination to help her family hold on to their home. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

"[A] heartwarming Depression-era episode around a true family story."--Kirkus Reviews

"This historic novel is successful in conveying the climate of the times. . . . Margo emerges as an admirable heroine."--Publishers Weekly

"Based on a true family story, this novel . . . creates a strong sense of place and time, when the Depression was felt up to the front porch of a loving family home."--Booklist

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