Illustrated by Matt Tavares; Little Brown for Young Readers

Follow Jack Kennedy’s struggle to overcome the shadow of his brother and his physical ailments to forge his own path that made him beloved by the world.


  • Oppenheim Gold Seal Award


“Readers see JFK’s competitive drive both in sports and in his defiance of Khrushchev; his intellectual side as a reader and author; his courage during World War II; and his dedication to service, as a “fill-in” for his dead brother Joe’s political plans and as founder of the Peace Corps. Still, Rappaport refuses to turn this life into a hagiography, citing the disaster of the Cuban Missile Crisis and pointing out Kennedy’s slow progress toward civil rights for African Americans.” Hornbook

“A brief but inspiring portrait…” Kirkus Review

“This beautifully illustrated and gracefully told story serves as a superior introduction to our 35th president.” School Library Journal


Jack’s Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy, book trailer

From the Author

The first national election I voted in was between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960. I remember grabbing the large envelope containing my absentee ballot out the mailbox and running to show my roommates at college. It was a glorious moment, putting an X in the box next to Kennedy’s name. His intelligence, youth, and vitality offered hope for the country.”

Little did I know, fifty years later I would be standing in the JFK Presidential Library talking to an audience of 5th grade students about my book about President Kennedy and memories of the 1960 election.

A Very Special Event

For the 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration of John F. Kennedy, Matt Tavares and I were invited to attend to make a presentation at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum¬†in Boston. We had an audience of 200 enthusiastic 5th graders from Boston Public Schools. The JFK library bought a copy of Jack’s Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy for every single student.

We started off the day by signing all the books!


I spoke about my memories of the 1960 election and inspiration for writing the book. Matt then showed a power point presentation about how he made the pictures for the book, and we answered the students’ questions. Following our presentation, the students did a choral recitation of excerpts from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. They did a fantastic job.



Our host at the JFK Library, Sam Rubin, kindly treated all of us – my husband Bob Rosegarten, Matt and his family and me – to a delicious lunch. The chef at the museum cafe recreated the menu from the 1961 Inaugural Luncheon, so we got to eat just what JFK himself enjoyed for his first meal as president.

His Inauguration Speech was a symbol of hope for our country and the world. These words still inspire me today:

“We stand on the edge of a new frontier. The new frontier is not a set of promises–
It is a set of challenges.”

About the Illustrator

Matt Tavares is the illustrator of several books written by Doreen Rappaport that have won awards. He is the author and illustrator of There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived among other books.

Learn More

Big Words Books, Hyperion Teacher’s Guide

Doreen’s Study Guides

Kids Connect

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of our nation’s thirty-fifth president and to all those who through the art of politics seek a new and better world. Located on a ten-acre park, overlooking the sea that he loved and the city that launched him to greatness, the Library stands as a vibrant tribute to the life and times of John F. Kennedy.

JFK.OrgCelebrate the past to awaken the future. An award-winning microsite created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s administration. Explore events in JFK’s presidency through the graphic novel-style History Now, learn how his legacy is being continued in the Legacy Gallery, and download customizable exhibits and primary source material.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site preserves the birthplace of America’s 35th president. In 1967, the president’s mother returned here, where Kennedy spent his boyhood, and restored the house to her recollection of its 1917 appearance. The web site features a virtual tour of the house, photo gallery of events, education programs, and a recorded audio tour by Mrs. Rose Kennedy.

Matt Tavares shares his creative process and drawings



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