Being Teddy Roosevelt

Claudia Mills; Pictures by R. W. Alley

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Riley O'Rourke is writing his report on President Teddy Roosevelt in preparation for the fourth-grade biography tea, but he has a far more important goal: to get a saxophone so he can take instrumental music. His mother can't afford to rent him a sax, and he's sure he'll never save up enough money to buy one. But as Riley learns more about Roosevelt's "bully" spirit, he realizes that there just might be a way to solve his problem after all.
Claudia Mills' sparkling story about the influence of important historical figures is enhanced by tender, insightful illustrations.
Being Teddy Roosevelt is a 2008 Bank Street—Best Children's Book of the Year.


Read an Excerpt


Riley gave up.

He couldn’t find his language arts notebook in his desk or in his backpack. He must have forgotten it somewhere.

"Does everybody have his or her notebook ready?" Mrs. Harrow asked. "Riley?"

"I think I left it at home."

Mrs. Harrow sighed. "This is the third time this week that you’re missing a notebook, Riley."

Riley was impressed that she knew the exact number of times. She remembered more about him than he remembered about himself.

Sophie sat on Riley’s right. Her notebook lay open in the exact middle of her desk



Praise for Being Teddy Roosevelt

"Mills writes with such a light, humorous touch that many scenes beg to be read aloud.  Much information is subtly woven in to the narrative, and the gathering of world leaders at the tea is a sight to behold."  --Kirkus Reviews
"Enriched by its portrait of grade-school friendships and goofy classroom happenings." --Booklist
"Bully for Riley and bully for Mills for writing a timely, comfortable school story filled with likable fourth graders."  --The Horn Book
"Children will appreciate this gentle lesson about achieving a goal." -School Library Journal
"Mills introduces an ingenious, likable lad. Alley's animated art enhances the tale's humor and helps capture the characters' diverse personalities."  --Publishers Weekly

In the Press

BEING TEDDY ROOSEVELT by Claudia Mills, R.W. Alley | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of BEING TEDDY ROOSEVELT . Riley goes to school with Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Jr., Queen Elizabeth and many other world-famous figures—all fellow fourth-grade students researching their chosen topics for Mrs. Harrow's biography tea.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads





Available Formats and Book Details

Being Teddy Roosevelt

Claudia Mills; Pictures by R. W. Alley

Rhode Island Children's Book Award Master List, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Iowa Children's Choice Award Master List, Oregon Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award Master List, New Mexico Land of Enchantment Master List, Illinois Bluestem Book Award ML


Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)