On Labor Day my daughter and I read “The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America,” written by Kathleen Krull. It seemed like a perfect time to learn about this amazing woman. Born in 1880, she served as Secretary of Labor in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Cabinet. In fact, she was the first woman cabinet member and the behind-the-scenes creator of FDR’s New Deal.
The book is very interesting and well written. I loved how well it caught my child’s attention and spurred a lot of supplemental conversations. We stopped the audiobook multiple times, at her request, to talk more about things mentioned in the book, such as the stock market, the Great Depression, worker safety, discrimination against women and the Civilian Conservation Corps. My almost 8-year-old girl really liked the part about how Francis defended herself with the tip of her umbrella.
PHOTO: Frances Perkins, courtesy of the Frances Perkins Center.
This is actually the second time we’ve read this book. I checked it out from our library at some point in the past year but when I mentioned it to her today she didn’t remember it. So I logged on and checked out the audiobook version from Hoopla, our libraries digital book service. I didn’t want to wait to put the book on hold and then go pick it up from the library, I wanted to read it right away.
Not seeing the illustrations was a definite downside of listening to the audiobook. When I looked the book up, to link to it for this blog, I saw some of the illustrations. It reminded me, not only are the images great but I love how the artist incorporated some of the text into the art.
Although my daughter is out of her biography phase, when she wanted to read mainly true stories of people’s lives, she still enjoys reading them as long as I sprinkle them in among other types of books. Most importantly, she loves the biographies about women best, especially women who overcome adversity. This book definitely fit the bill.