The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014, 8:45 am

Reserve now!

Kate F

Tweens, Teens



In brief


A striking account of JFK's assassination. I just can't say enough about how fantastic a read this is.

As a kid, I was never really one for history. If I'd have read books like this, though, things would have been very, very different. The President Has Been Shot! takes this terrible, unforgettable day in our nation's history, and puts you right there in the moment. Walking readers through the events leading up to John F. Kennedy's assassination, the book's pace is relentless and gripping, and I absolutely could not put it down. If you ever needed proof that nonfiction for young adults can be captivating, this is it.

Things I never knew get fleshed out in vivid detail, and with outstanding archival photographs and diagrams: How Lee Harvey Oswald disguised his rifle as a bag of curtain rods to get it into the Book Depository. How a single bullet could wound both JFK and the governor of Texas. How Jackie wouldn't leave JFK's side, and kept the same clothes on all day, even though they were spattered with blood. I knew what was going to happen, I knew what the tragic conclusion would be, but I was riveted by the minute-by-minute narrative. As the president's motorcade crawled up Main Street, my heart was racing. Reading about the aftermath gave me chills more times than I can remember.

A 2014 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults finalist, this will keep even the most reluctant reader engaged. It isn't recommended for younger or squeamish readers, as it does have graphic descriptions of the shooting. I would recommend it to tweens and teens (and yes, adults!), but ultimately it depends on the kid. If you need more to satisfy your president fix, Swanson also wrote an account of Lincoln's assassination geared toward young adults, Chasing Lincoln's Killer, in addition to adult nonfiction accounts of both assassinations: End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy and Manhunt: The Twelve Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer.

For more excellent historical nonfiction for young adults, try Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon and Lincoln's Grave Robbers, both by Steve Sheinkin.