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For the Love of Books Activity

What books do you have in your collection and what does that say about who you are?

Reading, History, Art, Math, Research, Writing

Elementary, Middle and High School

30-60 minutes

Books, paper colored pencils or crayons

To understand and appreciate the ideas and information we get from collections of books.

Post a picture of your work to social media with the hashtag #fdractivities

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Historic Context:

President Roosevelt successfully led the nation through the Great Depression and World War II in large part by  using information he had learned through reading books. Whether read for school assignments or simply on his own for pleasure, FDR loved to read, and collect books. In fact he collected a lot of them, about 32,000 over the course of his life. So many in fact, that nearly an entire wing of his Museum and Library in Hyde Park, NY is dedicated to housing them. His collection covers many topics such as naval history, local history, history in general, birds, plants and trees, architecture,and murder mystries, to name just a few.

The Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum has continued to add to the collection and today it houses about 50,000 books!

Activity Steps/Procedures:

  1. Count the number of books you have in your collection.
  2. Organize your books by the subject or topic each covers.
  3. Select your three favorite books.
  4. On a piece of paper list: a) why you selected each book b) what you liked most about the book and c) what kinds of things did you learn from the book?
  5. Now, of the three select your absolute, totally, favorite book and prepare to see it as you may never have before by dissecting it just as a scientist might a lab specimen.
  6. Books, like everything else, are made up of parts. We will take your favorite book and carefully examine each section using the information below.

Dissecting a Book…

Books, like everything else construct a story from parts. Below are some typical “parts” contained in a book.

Title (what is the book called?)
Author (who wrote the book)
Topic/ Subject (what is the book about?)
Number of pages (how long is the book?)
Publisher (what company made the book?)
Setting (where does the story take place?)
Main characters (who are the ones doing the action in the book?)
Plot (what is the main idea of the story being told?)
Sub Plot (what are some other, lesser ideas being told?)
Themes (what lessons can we learn from the story being told?)
Mood/ Tone (how does the book make you feel?)
Fiction or non Fiction (is the story based on real or made up events?)

Download this PDF below to dissect a book you have recently read or are reading now.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does reading a book for information differ from reading a googled response about information?
  2. Count how many books you have in your book collection.
  3. What are the main topics of subjects of the book in your collection?
  4. Ask your school librarian how many books there are in your school library.
  5. Ask your local library how many books are in your local library.

A Step Beyond

  1. Design Your Own Bookplate
    You can identify the books in your collection by creating your own bookplate, printing in on paper, cutting it out and then tucking in inside your books. What colors, shapes, symbols and words would you include on your bookplate?
  2. What If You Wrote a Book?
    Did you ever consider writing a book, or maybe just a short story? Use the Dissecting Template to lay out the parts of your book. When you are done with the lay out start writing!! Maybe you’ll create the next “Harry Potter!!”
  3. Not Sure What to Read?
    With so many things to read about, it can be hard to decide where to begin. Take a look at the books listed on the suggested reading segment of the “For Students” section of the Roosevelt Library’s Education Page.