Eleanor Roosevelt's Civics Book From Nearly 90 Years Ago Has Been Revamped and Reissued

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Wikimedia Commons // Public domain
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Wikimedia Commons // Public domain

A children's civics book that Eleanor Roosevelt wrote nearly 90 years ago is making a comeback just in time for the midterm elections, PBS reports. The book, titled When You Grow Up to Vote: How Our Government Works for You, is being reissued with revised text by author Michelle Markel, who previously penned children's books about Hillary Rodham Clinton and the lesser-known Clara Lemlich, a Ukrainian immigrant who led a shirtwaist workers strike in 1909. It also features illustrations by Grace Lin, who's best known for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Dumpling Days.

The 101-page book—suitable for children between the ages of 6 and 12—explains what our elected officials do as well as each citizen's role in a democracy. "Children will come away from the book excited that one day soon they will have the chance to use their own votes to help shape the world they want to live in," Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, writes in an introduction to the book.

A section about voting, for instance, includes the following piece of sage advice: "You may be guided by the choices of your party, but you should also learn, on your own, the facts about the issues and the candidates."

The former First Lady wrote the book in 1932, right after her husband Franklin was elected president. She was raising five children at the time, and wanted them to understand what their parents did and how government worked, according to granddaughter Nancy Ireland.

Ireland tells PBS that the updated book is "very similar to the original" with some minor tweaks. "There was nothing negative [in the original], but it was not as inclusive and, of course, things needed to change, like the number of secretaries in the cabinet," Ireland says. "But I always say—because it's an ability I don't have—my grandmother could envision the way things could be, which is what made her so powerful and so important."

Eleanor Roosevelt was a prodigious writer. In her lifetime, she published 27 books and more than 580 articles, 8000 columns, and 100,000 letters, according to the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. When You Grow Up to Vote is currently available on Amazon for $13.51 in hardcover, and $9.99 on Kindle.

[h/t PBS]

Harry Potter Fans Don’t Want to See the Movies Rebooted, Surprising No One

© 2011 Warner Bros. Harry Potter Publishing Rights (c) J.K. Rowling
© 2011 Warner Bros. Harry Potter Publishing Rights (c) J.K. Rowling

Although the Harry Potter franchise has one of the most dedicated fan bases in the world, that doesn’t mean fans are ready to see the series rebooted just yet. Yes, that would mean more movies to feed one’s obsession, but the general consensus is that it would be entirely too soon. Don’t believe us? A new poll might just prove it.

ComingSoon.net asked more than 2000 Potterheads if Warner Bros. should reboot the Harry Potter movie series, and a whopping 72 percent said they’re against it. The website also asked fans if reboots were made, how they should be done. Of those polled, 41 percent voted for it to be a direct sequel about Harry’s son, 35 percent voted for a spinoff TV series, 13 percent wanted another Fantastic Beasts spinoff, and a measly 11 percent showed support for a remake of all eight original films.

While it doesn’t look like a reboot will be in the works anytime soon (J.K. Rowling’s representatives just debunked a report about a TV series), that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for the future. Even star Daniel Radcliffe has entertained the idea, saying he believes he won’t be the last Potter portrayal he’ll see in his lifetime. But as long as Rowling and fans are against it, we probably won’t have to worry about it for a while.

Why Beatrix Potter Ended Up Self-Publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was Beatrix Potter’s first book—and is still her best known. But had the beloved author not had the confidence to publish the book on her own terms, we might not have ever known her name (or Peter Rabbit's) today.

The origin of Peter Rabbit dates back in 1893, when Potter wrote the beginnings of what would become her iconic children’s book in a letter she sent to Noel Moore, the ailing five-year-old son of Annie Carter Moore, Potter's friend and former governess. “I don't know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits whose names were—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter,” the story began.

According to The Telegraph, it was Carter Moore who encouraged Potter to turn her story and its illustrations into a book. Initially, she attempted to go the traditional route and sent the book to six publishers, each of whom rejected it because Potter was insistent that the book be small enough for a child to hold while the publishers wanted something bigger (so that they could charge more money for it). It wasn't a compromise that Potter was willing to make, so she took the matter into her own hands.

On December 16, 1901, a 35-year-old Potter used her personal savings to privately print 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book turned out to be a hit—so much so that, within a year, Frederick Warne and Co. (one of the publishers that had originally rejected the book) signed on to get into the Peter Rabbit business. In October 1902, they published their own version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, complete with Potter's illustrations, and by Christmastime it had sold 20,000 copies. It has since been translated into nearly 40 different languages and sold more than 45 million copies.

In August 1903, Frederick Warne and Co. published Potter's next book, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. A few months later, Warne published The Tailor of Gloucester, which Potter had originally self-published in 1902 for reasons similar to her decision to self-publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

"She was very dogmatic about what she wanted it to look like and couldn’t agree with Warne," rare book dealer Christiaan Jonkers told The Guardian about why Potter self-published The Tailor of Gloucester. "Also he wanted cuts, so she published 500 copies privately. By the end of the year Warne had given in, cementing a relationship that would save the publishing house from bankruptcy, and revolutionize the way children's books were marketed and sold."

Mental Floss is partnering with the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® “15 Pages A Day” reading initiative to make sure that everyone has the opportunity (and time) to take part in The Mental Floss Book Club. It’s easy! Take the pledge at howlifeunfolds.com/15pages.

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