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2 March 2020 HARD WORK, BUT IT’S WORTH IT: THE LIFE OF JIMMY CARTER by Bethany Hegedus and Kyung Eun Han, ill., HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray, January 2020, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-06-264378-0


In 2005, at the American Library Association’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, I was sitting near the front row when Senator Barack Obama delivered the convention’s keynote address.



Honest to God, by time he was done speaking, I said to myself, This guy's so amazing, he’s going to be President one day. 


That’s the closest I’ve ever physically been to a president. 


But my favorite President, from those who have been in power over my lifetime, is Jimmy Carter. He’s a guy who has always believed in equality and in service. A guy who understands about Peace and about stewardship of the Earth. A guy who wants to leave it better than he found it. 


Thanks to Jimmy Carter, I got a solar hot water system all but free from the government. It saved a lot of energy over many years. What a setback to the planet it was when, after Carter’s defeat in the 1980 election, the Republican administration that followed eliminated those clean energy tax incentives. Yes, at the behest of the fossil fuels lobby.


Here’s a snippet of what Jimmy Carter said in his 1979 energy-related speech to the nation:

“The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly. It's a problem that we will not be able to solve in the next few years, and it's likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.

We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and our grandchildren. We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.”


In HARD WORK, BUT IT’S WORTH IT, we see Carter as a child and young man exposed to Southern racism and recognizing it for being wrong and unfair:


“Jimmy was beginning to understand how lopsided life could be, especially when it came to race and class. He wanted to do something about it. But what?

He wrote up a list of Good Mental Habits to help him navigate life’s challenges--both inner and outer. 

A list wasn’t enough, but it was a start.”

Jimmy Carter has had a rich, varied life. The creators of this book have done a fabulous job of capturing and conveying so many aspects of Carter’s life, before, during, and after his time in the White House. The book depicts how Carter has so often acted deliberately, consciously making decisions and then moving forward on his plans and convictions. 


Among the interesting facts in the Author’s Note is that, “Despite growing up at the height of segregation, Jimmy saw his parents cross the rural South’s strict color lines: his mother, in her work as a nurse, serving the entire community, not just the white community, and his father in less direct ways such as taking the family to see Bishop Johnson preach to the African Methodist Episcopal Church across town.”


HARD WORK, BUT IT’S WORTH IT, is an outstanding picture book for older readers.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Pickshttp://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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