When Jackie Saved Grand Central, by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger; HMH Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 48 pages, ages 6-9 (March 7, 2017).
More than 750,000 people pass through the magnificent halls of Grand Central Terminal daily, but without the tireless campaigning of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929-1994), the fate of the rail terminal could have easily have mirrored what befell Penn Station. Natasha Wing’s latest foray in non-fiction focuses on Kennedy’s fight to preserve the stately Beaux Arts building of 42nd Street by tracing the First Lady’s belief that preserving the past could foster a brighter future.
Starting with Kennedy’s meticulous preservation of the White House, Wing gracefully transitions from Camelot to 1975 without mentioning JFK’s assasination by simply stating that another American landmark needed Jackie’s strength and fortitude. Alexandra Boiger’s watercolors add depth through symbolic deployment of color: black for power, red for anger, tones of yellow for resilience, and that famous cerulean blue found on Grand Central’s ceiling to evoke victory. Notes and a bibliography round out this timely example of how to successfuly champion for a worthy cause in the face of opposition.