• Non-Fiction
  • Hard Work But It's Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter

Hard Work But It's Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter

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The first picture book about the inspiring life of humanitarian Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and a Nobel Prize winner—from Alabama Spitfire author Bethany Hegedus.

Even before Jimmy Carter became president, he knew the value of hard work. Living on his family’s peanut farm, Jimmy saw how hard work yielded strong results.

At least it did for some people. But growing up in the segregated South, Jimmy also saw firsthand how white people and black people were not treated equally. None of it was right. None of it was fair.

So Jimmy created a list of Good Mental Habits to help him navigate life’s challenges. The list guided his thoughts and actions and helped him fight for change, whether working with civil rights leaders to end racial discrimination in his home state of Georgia, helping to negotiate peace in the Middle East, or building homes for the poor through Habitat for Humanity.

From the statehouse to the White House and beyond, Jimmy has worked to make change for all people, devoting decades to public service and becoming one of the most respected humanitarians of our time. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.---from the publisher

40 pages                          978-0-06-264378-0            Ages 5-9

Keywords:  biography, president, values, social issues, social activist, humanitarian, Social Studies Curriculum, values, value of hard work, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old


In 2005, at the American Library Association’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, I was sitting near the front row when Senator Barack Obama delivered the convention’s keynote address.


Honest to God, by time he was done speaking, I said to myself, This guy's so amazing, he’s going to be President one day.

That’s the closest I’ve ever physically been to a president.

But my favorite President, from those who have been in power over my lifetime, is Jimmy Carter. He’s a guy who has always believed in equality and in service. A guy who understands about Peace and about stewardship of the Earth. A guy who wants to leave it better than he found it.


Thanks to Jimmy Carter, I got a solar hot water system all but free from the government. It saved a lot of energy over many years. What a setback to the planet it was when, after Carter’s defeat in the 1980 election, the Republican administration that followed eliminated those clean energy tax incentives. Yes, at the behest of the fossil fuels lobby.

Here’s a snippet of what Jimmy Carter said in his 1979 energy-related speech to the nation:

“The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly. It's a problem that we will not be able to solve in the next few years, and it's likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.

We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and our grandchildren. We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.”


In HARD WORK, BUT IT’S WORTH IT, we see Carter as a child and young man exposed to Southern racism and recognizing it for being wrong and unfair:

“Jimmy was beginning to understand how lopsided life could be, especially when it came to race and class. He wanted to do something about it. But what?

He wrote up a list of Good Mental Habits to help him navigate life’s challenges--both inner and outer.

A list wasn’t enough, but it was a start.”

Jimmy Carter has had a rich, varied life. The creators of this book have done a fabulous job of capturing and conveying so many aspects of Carter’s life, before, during, and after his time in the White House. The book depicts how Carter has so often acted deliberately, consciously making decisions and then moving forward on his plans and convictions.

Among the interesting facts in the Author’s Note is that, “Despite growing up at the height of segregation, Jimmy saw his parents cross the rural South’s strict color lines: his mother, in her work as a nurse, serving the entire community, not just the white community, and his father in less direct ways such as taking the family to see Bishop Johnson preach to the African Methodist Episcopal Church across town.”

HARD WORK, BUT IT’S WORTH IT, is an outstanding picture book for older readers.

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

See more of Richie's Picks  http://richiespicks.pbworks.com

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