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How a First Lady Changed America

by Kathi Appelt & illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-001107-6
Publisher: HarperCollins

This warmly attractive volume tells a graceful braid of stories: the life of Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of a president; the tale of a lonely child who found solace in the landscape and flora of east Texas; and the work of a First Lady who sought to bring beauty of the wilder sort into the highways of America. Lady Bird grew up in a rich and privileged household, but she lost her mother before she was six. She went to college—unusual for a woman in 1930—and there met and married Lyndon, following him on a political trajectory that led to Congress, the vice-presidency and then to president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. She filled Washington with more cherry trees and with the daffodils she had loved as a child and urged the passing of the Highway Beautification Act. Now, more than 30 years later, interstate highways are free of junkyards and an endless procession of signs; instead, the native wildflowers Lady Bird loves are growing everywhere. Hein’s delicate pictures are in bright, clear colors and her flowers instantly recognizable in broad vistas and intimate close-ups. (author’s notes, endnotes, bibliography including Web sites) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)