A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt

Title: A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt
Author: C. Coco De Young
Pages: 103
Recommended Ages: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★

Hi there! As of October 2013, I have upgraded to a new site – The Blithering Bookster – where I have posted all of my old reviews and continue to post new ones. Hoist yourself over to join the fun!


My first question was – which Mrs. Roosevelt?

The Story.

Eleven year old Margo Bandini has become accustomed to the tightening times of the Great Depression; of no money for candy and of seeing ‘Sheriff Sale’ signs in the front yards of her friends’ houses. She loves to sit and watch the passing trains with her best friend, Rosa, and to exchange bits of news with Mr. Frappa at the grocery market. Even though her little brother, Charlie, gets into all sorts of scrapes, life still goes on happily.

One day at school, Miss Dobson, the lovely teacher, suggests that each class member choose an important person they admire and write a letter to them expressing their thoughts. Margo is excited. But who should she write to?

When Margo learns that a Sheriff’s Sale sign will soon be going up in their yard because her father can’t make payments quickly enough to satisfy the bank, she knows exactly who she will write to – Everywhere Eleanor! President Roosevelt’s eyes and ears; the woman who wants to help the people. But only two weeks remain before their house will be sold. Will Mrs. Roosevelt receive the letter in time? And if she does will she be able to save Margo’s home?


Margo’s neighbor, Mrs. DiLuso is superstitious. She thinks that shooting stars bring bad luck and that il diavolo (the devil) caused The Great Depression. Mama tells Mrs. DiLuso that “il diavolo didn’t arrive on the tail of a shooting star, but in the hearts of those who allowed it.” [pg. 81]

Margo’s friend Rosa declares that “little brothers can be a nuisance.” [pg. 10] Later, after Charlie gets lost, Margo agrees.

When she is at Rosa’s house, Margo can hear Margo’s parents fighting in the background. Strangely enough, the arguments are mostly because the father cannot fully support his family with his income but he refuses to let his wife work because he believes that it is his duty to provide for his family.

On one occasion, after the tension has oppressed Margo for several weeks, she becomes angry. Here is the account,

Enough was enough! I ignored Rosa when she called to me from her front porch. I ignored Mama and Papa when they looked up from the dining room table to say hello. I ignored the fact that Papa was home early and that the table was covered with account books and papers. I didn’t even flinch when I noticed that Mama’s eyes were red again.

I paid no heed to Papa’s “Margo!” as I stomped up the stairs to my room and slammed my door shut as hard as I could. I didn’t pay any attention to my growling stomach when Mama called me to dinner. I simply told her I wasn’t hungry and stayed in my room.

It was bedtime when Charlie knocked on my door and whispered, “Margo, I’m really sorry. Can I come in?” I didn’t answer him; instead I threw my pillow as hard as I could. It landed with a loud thud against the door, then fell to the floor.

I thought I’d feel better. I didn’t. I was hungry. I was tired – tired of being mad at everyone. But there was something far worse than the anger pounding away inside my head. It was the feeling in my heart. I was lonely, very lonely. [pg. 72]

After exhausting her anger in this way, Margo feels much more cheerful the next day.

My only other concern is philosophical rather than with something that is defiling. The problem of the story is that a young girl’s family is about to lose their home. The great wish of the protagonist is to have her home saved. The conclusion *PARDON THE SPOILERS* is that the house is saved – by Eleanor Roosevelt’s intercession and provision for the family with one of FDR’s New Deal loans. Her intervention in the private world of business and loans is Margo’s salvation.

‘Gee’ is used once.

Conclusion. A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt provides a glimpse into the worries, expectations, interests, and hope of the generation of the 1930s. Through Margo we learn of the insecurities and solutions of this momentous time period. Purchase a copy here.

Attempted Library Sale……

I have a long history with North Channel Library book sales; the very first time we attended one, I managed to get the starting time wrong and we had to burn three hours before the sale started. Last month I got the week wrong. Yeah. The week.  We showed up a week early and no sale was happening….. *embarrassing*

So, yesterday was another North Channel Library Sale. My mom and sister were skeptical, but after I showed them the schedule on the library website, they agreed to go with me. And, well, you can guess what happened. The library sale had been canceled but they forgot to change the date on the website. And I had dragged my family forty-five minutes there and now how to apologize forty-five minutes back. *sigh* The life we bibliophiles lead.

However, tragic though the situation may have been, I did manage to find six books on the North Channel Library bookshelf (a regularly stocked shelf from whence books may be bought at any time). Here are the newest editions additions.

A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt – $ .25 A young girl living during the aftermath of the Great Depression is assigned the task of writing a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt. I’ve only ever read one children’s story set during this time period, so I will enjoy reading this.

Narrative Poems – $ .25 I have the Complete Works of William Shakespeare in one huge, beautiful maroon-colored hardcover. It’s gorgeous. But it’s a bit unwieldy to read from. So, when I saw his narrative poems in a sophisticated soft cover for twenty-five cents, I decided that purchasing it would be a wise thing to do.

Morning Girl – $ .25 Morning Girl is a story about one of the young natives who lived on a Bahamian island in 1492 – the year when Columbus sailed amongst the Americas. I don’t think Morning Girl is a real historical figure, but the historical setting will be unusual.

Far From Home – $ .50 I can still remember watching Far From Home over and over as a child. Some parts were funny, and some were *scary*. (Read – when a wolf growled outside of Angus’ makeshift tent). It will be interesting to read the novelized version of the story and observe any discrepancies.

Stories in His Own Hand – $ .50 These are different stories, essays and brief sketches written by Ronald Reagan in the years prior to his presidential service. It will be interesting to read these ‘non-political’ writings from the man we have known almost exclusively as either President or movie star.

#3 Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues – $ .25 One of my funnest friends has informed me that I *have* to read Encyclopedia Brown. I enjoy reading short detective stories that challenge you to exercise your sleuthing abilities, so this should be fun.

Total Spent = $ 2.00

Total Value = $ 42.69

Next Library Sale = August 4, 2012