Only Woman in the Photo : Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America
by Krull, Kathleen; Bye, Alexandra (ILT)

A picture book biography of the first woman to serve in an American presidential cabinet describes how Frances Perkins overcame shyness to fight against injustice before becoming the Secretary of Labor and the mastermind behind FDR's New Deal. 30,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook. Illustrations.

Kathleen Krull is the author of No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader, as well as A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull; Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought); The Only Woman in the Photo; and other acclaimed biographies for young readers. She lives in San Diego, California. Visit her website at

Alexandra Bye is a freelance illustrator specializing in fun, colorful illustrations for a variety of media such as editorial and children&;s publications. Her work is constantly inspired by her flourishing New England community and reflects the energy and dynamic personality of home town pride. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, Nordic ski racing, Jiu Jitsu, studying nutritional therapy, and hiking in the White Mountains with her dog, Oliver.

*Starred Review* Frances Perkins is credited with creating the U.S. Social Security system, so she's long overdue for some attention. This handsome picture-book biography traces her life as a soft-spoken young girl through her 14-year stint as Secretary of Labor during the FDR administration. The accessible text relates how Perkins came from a long line of strong women and how she was not shy about breaking barriers, whether pursuing college studies, forging a career in the nascent field of social work, exposing unsafe, unsanitary working conditions in New York City, or becoming the first woman ever to hold an executive cabinet post. The title refers to her unique status, and the narrative addresses the blatant discrimination she faced throughout her career. Vignettes show how she managed to win over her exclusively male colleagues through her soft but determined manner and sense of humor. Well-chosen quotes appear in oversize, swirling fonts, and the nuanced digital illustrations provide period details. Age-appropriate resources about this remarkable woman are scarce, which is a shame, because Perkins' story is compelling. The book's presentation is appealing, the content is suitable for reading aloud, and the back matter and list of sources will be appreciated by researchers. This is a fitting tribute for an inspirational role model. Grades 1-4. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

"When someone opens a door to you, go forward." From shy child to keen observer, vocal activist to highly effective political adviser, Frances Perkins led a life of tremendous worth, helping others as a volunteer, social worker, expert investigator, workplace-safety regulator, industrial commissioner, and, ultimately, the first woman Secretary of Labor. Brimming with realistic detail about the difficulties of pursuing one's goals and making a difference while functioning as a woman in the first half of the 20th century, this appealing volume features colorful and appealing animation-inflected illustrations peppered with ideas that inspired Perkins; these appear as banners, headlines, and signposts throughout the story. Krull smoothly describes Perkins' influences and motivations, her sensitivity to and awareness of injustice, how she overcame some of the fears and constraints she faced, her development as an advocate, and her many accomplishments—including her major contributions to (some say authorship of) FDR's New Deal and the adoption of the Social Security Act—in a kid-friendly and accessible manner, focusing almost entirely on Perkins' professional accomplishments. As for Perkins' personal life, the afterword briefly refers to her husband and daughter within the context of their "significant health problems" (both experienced mental illness), but the text is silent on Perkins' same-sex relationship following her husband's institutionalization. Overall, an appealing, informative picture-book biography that showcases the accomplishments of a great American heroine. (Picture book/biography. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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