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DeYoung, C. Coco.
New York : Dell Yearling, 2000.
IL 3-6, RL 2.8
ISBN 0440415292 

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

The great depression affected many people’s lives. In this book we meet eleven-year-old Margo Bandini. Her family is a struggling Italian family.  Her teacher asks all the students to write a famous person and tell how they have been an inspiration to them.  Margo writes to the president’s wife after reading an article on the first lady’s meetings searching for solutions to the people’s problems.  Find out how their letter reveals several surprises for Margo.  (Roberta Dwelley,, Murray LaSaine Elementary)

Booktalk #2

Have you ever set up dominoes? When you touch one, the rest of the dominoes start to fall. Hi. My name is Margo Bandolini and this is how my life felt in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1933. My mom, my papa, my younger brother Charlie, and I have always felt secure. My parents immigrated to America from Italy and they came to this country with many dreams. My father and my mom settled in Pennsylvania and my father opened a shoe shop. In school, we are learning about the Great Depression and the stock market crash in 1929. The Great Depression is “like dominoes, when one thing goes wrong, other things fall behind it no matter how hard or how fast you work to stop them.” (page 54) Unfortunately, our small town is starting to see the ill effects brought about from the Great Depression. People are losing their jobs, money is scarce, and people are struggling to survive. The Great Depression’s domino effect has caused my papa’s shoe business to dwindle. He can't make enough money to pay the bank payments for our house and bank payment for his business.  I am starting to see other families loose their homes and I am starting to see other families leave our town to try to find work elsewhere. The dreaded day comes when the sheriff puts a foreclosure sign on our front door. My family only has two weeks to come up with enough money to fulfill our loan payments. If we don’t come up with the money, the bank will take our home and my papa’s business away. What can I do? We can't loose our home. Where will we live and what will our family live? I remember President Franklin Roosevelt’s saying, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself?” I have never felt afraid; but now I am afraid and I am determined to find someway to help my family save our house. For school, we are to write a letter to someone who has shown great qualities of inspiration and determination. I have always admired Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady, who is known as Eleanor Everywhere because she travels around America trying to help people. I write a letter to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt explaining my family’s problem and I desperately ask for her help in saving our house. Can Margo’s A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by C. Cocoa De Young get to Mrs. Roosevelt in time to save her family’s home? She only has two weeks. Can Mrs. Roosevelt do anything to help Margo’s family? Read A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt for a touching story of survival during one of our countries most depressing times in its history.  (Becky Proctor,, school librarian)

SUBJECTS:     Depressions 1929 -- Fiction.
                        Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 -- Fiction.
                        Schools -- Fiction.
                        Family life -- Fiction.


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