Thursday, May 11, 2017

When Jackie Saved Grand Central

When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy's Fight for an American Icon
By Natasha Wing
Illustrated by Alexander Boiger
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. Biography

In 1968 - which probably seems like ancient history to most young readers - Grand Central Terminal was set to be demolished. What was once one of the grandest buildings in New York City was dirty, dilapidated, and "outdated." Enter Jackie Kennedy - former first lady, lifetime New Yorker, patron of the arts, and style icon. Together with other lovers of art, she fought all the way to the Supreme Court to save this historic icon.

This book does right what so many children's biographies do wrong - rather than try to summarize an entire life in a very short and stilted picture book format, Wing and Boiger focus on one specific achievement in the life of an extraordinary person. This book really succeeds by having two main characters - Grand Central Terminal and Jacqueline Kennedy, in that order - and in letting both of them take turns in the spotlight. This book provides the rare opportunity to talk about Jackie Kennedy in her own right rather than focusing on the accomplishments of her husbands. Plus, the illustrations are truly beautiful. Come for the historical preservation, stay for the gorgeous watercolors of Grand Central.

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