Saturday, November 7, 2015

Class Act: Module 11, Informational Books: Featuring The President Has Been Shot by James L. Swanson

As y'all know, I'm a Library Science student at University of North Texas. This semester I have the pleasure of taking an AWESOME class called Literature for Youth! One of the things we have to do is read some books from a list my Prof has provided us and then make up a blog and post reviews over what we've read. CLEARLY this is right up my alley! So, instead of making a completely different blog, every Saturday I'm going to start posting this new feature! 

Informational Books

Audiobook,  4 parts
Released: September 24, 2013
Published by: Scholastic Audio Books
Source: Library

      Book Summary: James Swanson takes young adult readers back to one of the saddest, most terrifying moments in history, when President John F. Kennedy was shot. See what it was like for everyone involved, from First Lade Jackie Kkennedy to the assumed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. It will make the reader seem as if they are there warching the event unfold. 

Reference: Swanson, J. (2013). The President Has Been Shot: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. New York, NY: Scholastic Audio Books. Retrieved November 7, 2015.


     As someone who reads for pleasure a lot of the time, this was another genre that I wasn't exactly sure about trying. Trying to find an informational or non-fiction book that wouldn't lose my interest was sure to be a task. Even the textbook said "informational books have a reputation for being boring." (Tunnell, 2004) But amazingly that was not so with this one. I picked a subject that I already knew a bit about, and from there I just read it. I ended up reading it in two days because I was so enthralled in it. 
     As stated in the text, "...compelling non-fiction does not simply collect and display facts, but weaves information and details into a vision that reveals the subject so that readers cannot resist reading more." This is definitely true. Once I started reading it, I was stuck with the book. I loved the narrator and I loved the writing style. So much so after reading this book, I wanted to read more about JFK. 
     Since I listened to this on audio, there were no actual designs to look over, but there was a sound byte of John F. Kennedy from one of his speeches. I thought that was great because the child may be missing the "attractive design" from the original book, but still gains a small nugget of history in hearing Kennedy's voice. (I also looked through the e-book and loved the illustrations and designs in that one as well.) 
Overall, I give this

Professionals are Saying...

    Gripping Nonfiction Reads
Commemorate the semicentennial of this momentous event with stellar nonfiction titles for teens that will inform film viewers curious to know more, captivate history buffs, and provide insights for classroom exploration and research projects.
     Beginning with succinct chapters about Kennedy and his administration, the bulk of James L. Swanson’s “The President Has Been Shot!” (Scholastic, 2013; Gr 6 Up) zooms in on the assassination and its aftermath. The well-written narrative balances in-depth research and illuminating details with the suspenseful pacing and dramatic urgency of a crime thriller. Delving into the shadowy background and murky motives of Oswald, Swanson paints a portrait of “a malcontent with a chip on his shoulder,” a self-styled intellectual who dreamed big but “failed at everything he had ever attempted.” The moment-by-moment account switches back and forth between the perspectives of the assassin and the individuals riding in the motorcade as the happenings unfold before readers’ eyes. Throughout, Swanson identifies “staggering” coincidences, fateful decisions, and unfortunate missteps that contribute to the tragic chain of events. The detailed coverage also includes the swearing in of Lyndon B. Johnson, the capture and on-camera shooting of Oswald, and the president’s funeral, carefully orchestrated by a distraught Jackie Kennedy. An epilogue treats the Warren Report and touches upon Kennedy’s legacy. Numerous archival black-and-white photos, many taken on that ill-fated day, add resonance and detail to the text, and a section of diagrams and illustrations provide additional information. Thoughtful and thorough, Swanson’s account deftly draws teens into the particulars and emotions of the moment, resulting in a look at history that is both revealing and riveting. Also available in audio version.
Retrieved from: School Library Journal(2013, September 3).THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN SHOT: THE ASSASSINATION OF JOHN F. KENNEDY [The President Has Been Shot: The Assassination of John F. Kennedyby Swanson, J.]. School Library Journal. Retrieved from:

Library Uses:

     I would use this in a display during President's Day! It would be something nice to commemorate the Presidents with. I would also have the book open to some of the awesome photos that the book holds. As breathtaking as they are, the photos are sure to catch someone's attention. 

Book Image from:


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