Joe Biden: Our 46th President

S. & S./Aladdin. Jan. 2021. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534479326; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781534479319.
Gr 4-7–This is a favorable portrait of the 46th president, written in short chapters for middle-grade readers. Gormley provides facts, anecdotes, and political context, describing Joe Biden’s childhood, his early political career, his role as vice president, and the 2020 presidential election. Biden’s blue-collar roots and relatability are highlighted as he overcomes a childhood stutter, loses his first wife and daughter to a tragic car accident, and later loses his son to brain cancer. Racial issues are addressed throughout, though the discussions generally favor Biden’s likable character and uncomfortable truths are glossed over. Gormley touches on various controversies surrounding Biden, including his use of verbal microaggressions in regard to President Obama and multiple allegations of sexual assault. These issues are resolved quickly and without depth; their resolutions can be attributed to Biden’s white privilege, which is not addressed. Newspaper column-style segments detail mini-histories and important context regarding historical movements, laws, and the role of government. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of the racial injustices and civil unrest of 2020 on Biden’s presidential campaign are relegated to a single chapter, which feels rushed compared to the leisurely pace of the rest of the text.
VERDICT A thorough but imperfect look at the life of Joe Biden.

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