Success With an Open Heart: Oprah Winfrey

by Tanya Lee Stone

Published by Millbrook Press

48 pages, 2001

Age Level: 9-12

 

Rosie O'Donnell: America's Favorite Grown Up Kid

by Tanya Lee Stone

Published by Millbrook Press

48 pages, 2001

Age Level: 9-12

 

 

 

 

 

Women of Influence

Reviewed by Lynne Remick

 

Rosie and Oprah are inspirational sensations. Both of these women took their dreams and ran and now, their first names alone spell s-u-c-c-e-s-s. Television mavens, philanthropists and, most recently, magazine editors whose faces adorn every issue of their self-titled periodicals.

No matter what our beginnings, our lives are what we make of them. Look at Oprah Winfrey. Born on January 29, 1954, in a farmhouse with no bathroom, radio or television, Oprah had only two pair of shoes to her name. Oprah's unwed mother, Vernita Lee abandoned Oprah during the early years of her childhood and left her to be raised by her grandparents. But Oprah's troubles didn't stop there. When her grandmother took ill, she was sent to live with her self-involved mother and a difficult half-sister. Through sexual abuse, a broken family, racial discrimination, difficult school years and more, Oprah triumphed and became the person she is today: an award-winning talk show host, accomplished actress and multimillionaire.

Fascinating facts, touching anecdotes and tidbits about her movies bring Oprah Winfrey to life in Success With an Open Heart, an extremely entertaining and well-written mid-grade biography. Telling photographs in both black and white and color add to a personal glimpse into Oprah, the Queen of "Change Your Life" TV. A timeline of Oprah's life provides a linear perspective on all that this woman has accomplished since her troubled and impoverished childhood.  

By the time she had graduated from high school in 1971, Oprah had lived up to one of her favorite sayings, "Bloom where you are planted." She had changed from an unhappy, troubled girl, into a young woman with growing confidence.

Success With an Open Heart: Oprah Winfrey will appeal to Oprah's fans as well as anyone who has been dealt a hand of bad cards. Oprah's challenging life is captivating and inspiring and not to be overlooked.

 ***

What makes Rosie, Rosie? Did you know that Rosie O'Donnell grew up near the Big Apple? Rosie O'Donnell was born on March 21, 1962 and lived with her parents, siblings and grandmother in Commack, New York. There, she enjoyed being a kid -- singing, dancing, skateboarding, playing basketball and painting-by-number.

Rosie's life wasn't always easy. Her mother died from breast cancer when Rosie was ten and her father had trouble coping. As a result Rosie and her four siblings had to learn to deal with the loss of their mother, as well as to care for themselves. Through it all, Rosie remained kind and funny.  

Rosie O'Donnell knew from a young age exactly what she wanted to do. Partly because her father wasn't paying enough attention to make his kids stick to the rules, Rosie went to New York City to see movies, concerts and theater every chance she got. To Rosie, becoming a movie star seemed out of reach, but theater was a different story. Waiting outside a stage door after a play or musical, she thought, "On this block, in this theater, people are doing what I hope to do."

This engaging book features many fascinating insights into the life of "America's Favorite Grown-up kid." Tanya Lee Stone skillfully uncovers the things that make Rosie, Rosie. Did you know that Rosie is scared of squirrels and hamsters? That she once won a pogo stick contest while bouncing to the beat of Elton John's Crocodile Rock? Or that Rosie's favorite video games are Pac Man, Tetris and The Legend of Zelda?  

Following Rosie's career from her high school performance in the senior follies, to stand-up comedy, to hit movies like A League of Their Own with Madonna, her role as Betty Rubble in the movie version of The Flinstones, her Broadway performance as Rizzo in Grease: all of the things that have made Rosie, Rosie. | June 2001

 

An avid reader, established reviewer and writer of poetry, non-fiction, fiction, historical romance and children's books, Lynne Remick can always be found with a book in her hand. She lives in New York with her fiancé Michael, her son Kevin, her Schipperke Dante, a feral cat named Sahara and a spoiled hedgehog named Nike. There, in a little house once owned by her great grandparents, she reads, writes stories, book reviews, writing columns and poetry.