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Eleanor Roosevelt in Biography

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by

Caroline Siecke

on 4 September 2013

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Transcript of Eleanor Roosevelt in Biography

A Life in Biography
Eleanor Roosevelt
Why is Eleanor Roosevelt a good subject for biography?
She lived during a time of enormous change and upheaval in US society.
She overcame many obstacles, both personal and societal.
She worked for social justice and spoke on behalf of those who had little to no voice.
She was a woman of power and influence at a time when this was extremely rare.
She was a complicated, complex, deeply human individual as well as a role model.
She has many, many biographies already written about her.
Many of her major milestones and accomplishments are well-known.
Her sayings are frequently quoted.
Like many Americans who have fought for social justice, she has been made into an icon rather than a human being.
Complex issues (such as sexuality) are critical to understanding, yet not appropriate for all age groups.
What are the challenges in presenting a clear portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt?
The Private Eleanor
The Public Eleanor
Studying in Europe
Franklin & Eleanor
First Lady
Humanitarian &
First Lady of the World
The best biographical works convey:
Sense of connection
Sense of discovery
Sense of complexity
What does this tell us about biography, particularly biography for young readers?
Texts for young readers often become too simplistic as they strive for simplicity.
The books that were most engaging were either extremely comprehensive, or extremely specific in their scope or focus.
Childhood
Helping Others
& Falling in Love
The best supporting illustrations and images revealed something more about Eleanor, her experiences and actions, or the world she lived in.
So who was Eleanor Roosevelt?

We may think we know who she
was, but is there more to the story?
Flat
Inevitability
Recycling
No Ambiguity
Multidimensional
Active Narrative
New insights
Controversies
Less Accurate
Full transcript