Review: Being Teddy Roosevelt by Claudia Mills

Photo Credit: Macmillan Publishers

After reading Claudia Mills’ award-winning children’s chapter book, Being Teddy Roosevelt, it is easy to see why the author has received so much acclaim. Mills’ kudos include repeated awards from New York’s famed Bank Street College of Education, which selected the 2007 Being Teddy as one of its best children’s books of the year.

In addition to her work as a children’s author, Mills is a professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

You can meet Mills this Sunday, April 19, at the annual Colorado Authors Open House to be held 1 to 3 p.m. at Englewood Public Library, 1000 Englewood Parkway.

Being Teddy concerns a group of elementary students who must prepare presentations about famous historical figures for a “biography tea.” This includes dressing up as the famous person.

Although most are reluctant at first, the project has a surprising effect on all of the students, particularly Riley, who researches roughrider Theodore Roosevelt. Like Roosevelt, a sickly child who remade himself into a hardy young outdoorsman, Riley must undergo a metamorphosis in order to gain respect and get what he wants.

Mills’ online autobiography recounts numerous fun memories about how she became a writer. It also includes a number of charming childhood photos such as the one in which she and her younger sister dressed up as Little Bo Peep. Don’t miss it.

Also, don’t miss the many “Teddy Roosevelt project” student videos on YouTube in which real life imitates Mills’ fiction.

Alicia Rudnicki©, Denver Library Examiner,, 2008

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