The best books on Eleanor Roosevelt

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Eleanor Roosevelt and why they recommend each book. Soon, you will be able to filter this list by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books.

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Book cover of White Houses

White Houses

By Amy Bloom,

Why this book?

In this slender, fictionalized account of the “hidden in plain sight” romance between sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued reporter Lorena Hickok and larger-than-life First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, we get a gloriously slanted insiders’ view of a pivotal period in American history. This is emphatically a “lesbian love story”—explicit in its depictions of both the pleasures of female sensuality and the tolls of enforced secrecy. It is also—bluntly and forthrightly—a “middle-aged love story,” with all the attendant sea changes, accommodations, and regrets. Most of all, it’s the story of the two wittiest, savviest, best-positioned women anyone could ever encounter. “As Churchill said (to me),”…

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Book cover of Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride

Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride

By Pam Muñoz Ryan, Brian Selznick (illustrator),

Why this book?

This heart-warming picture book celebrates the real-life friendship of two great women, reminding us that greatness doesn’t happen in a vacuum. And their adventure, while unprecedented in history, feels very relatable since it’s essentially a sleepover. At the White House! (With the bonus of the freedom of flying and driving.) The illustrations, while reflecting the time in history, also feel timeless.

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Book cover of The Man with the Golden Arm

The Man with the Golden Arm

By Nelson Algren,

Why this book?

Algren has been called a proletarian writer. Working primarily in Chicago from the 1930s to the 1950s, he was intensely concerned with the plight of the common man. His milieux were the gambling dens, the sawdust bars, the decaying hooker-prowled streets, the beat-down police stations, the shooting galleries, the slums, the cheap walk-up flats where broken men and women fought each other in desperate battles to survive one more miserable day. His characters were the poor, the ignorant, the addicted, tramps, bums, card sharps, petty crims, accidental murderers... But in all of them he found something human, something that might…

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Book cover of Eleanor Makes Her Mark

Eleanor Makes Her Mark

By Barbara Kerley, Edwin Fotheringham (illustrator),

Why this book?

This delightful picture book opens with Eleanor Roosevelt’s firm footing in the White House. Then it transports us back to her childhood, where we see the foundation for that footing: Eleanor cultivating her own character, way before she met her husband. The wonderful backmatter asks children how they might make their own mark, to enhance their lives…and the world.

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The best picture books about women who shaped history

Book cover of Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt

Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt

By David McCullough,

Why this book?

It’s inspiring to read how a sickly boy became the larger-than-life figure who dominated turn of the century America. Although born into a famous and wealthy family, the young Theodore’s future seemed hopeless because of his repeated bouts with an illness that almost killed him. But through his own will, and with the inspiration and support of his remarkable family, he managed to overcome his ailment and grow into robust and productive manhood. McCullough’s discovery of a rich cache of family letters allowed him to create a fine-grained and moving narrative about how this exceptional man came to be.

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Book cover of The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

By Patricia Bell-Scott,

Why this book?

In this engaging read, Patricia Bell-Scott explores the close relationship shared between Black feminist activist, lawyer, and writer Pauli Murry and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. This is a story of two divergent lives becoming intertwined as both women fought for self-definition and for their respective causes. One of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century, Murray did not hesitate to criticize the Roosevelts. Nonetheless she was not only able to secure support from Eleanor Roosevelt for civil rights causes but also transform, in many instances, the First Lady’s thinking on racial affairs. This book takes us beyond FDR’s death…
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