Jackie and the Books She Loved

By Ronni Diamondstein

Illustrated by Bats Langley

Sky Pony Press November 2023

ISBN-10: 1510776427

ISBN-13: 978-1510776425


“There are many ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Having researched Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for nearly thirty years, I was fascinated by her love of books and her career as an editor and inspired to tell her story. Jackie and the Books She Loved is my debut picture book.

Discover a delightful new story about Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, one of the most famous women in the world. History remembers Jackie Kennedy as the consummate First Lady, especially for her White House restoration and the cultural events she instituted during her husband’s administration. Jackie was on the world stage in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated. She led the nation in grieving the fallen leader with grace and dignity.

In this inspirational celebration of reading, Ronni Diamondstein with her engaging writing style introduces readers to an independent and confident Jackie, and how books guided her life. The insightful picture book biography paints the portrait of a child captivated by reading and a love of literature and writing–from five-year-old Jackie reading Chekhov stories and shushing her friends to be quiet so that she can read at Miss Porter’s School, to her desk as an editor in the last two decades of her life.

Jackie never wrote a memoir but revealed herself in the nearly 100 books she brought into print. Jackie and the Books She Loved is a dazzling book about the real woman behind this American icon of style and grace brought to life by the whimsical and tasteful artwork of Bats Langley.


“Children are invited to explore the literary world of former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in this colorfully illustrated book by Chappaqua’s Ronni Diamondstein. A celebration of both reading and the life of Onassis, Jackie and the Books She Loved follows JFK’s wife from her earliest years as a child cozying up to Chekhov stories and drafting poems to her later years as a capable journalist, doting mother, self-possessed first lady, and finally, an accomplished editor. It amounts to an inviting children’s book that details the impressive contributions of one woman to history, and the ways in which literature guided her throughout her life.”

—P.A. Westchester Magazine

When I worked on my picture book with Ms. Onassis she was a wonderful editor who worked like an invisible whisperer from the background. I think it would delight her that children can find out how much she cared for books…”

—Peter Sís, award-winning author and illustrator and recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award & Caldecott Honor Medal

“A vivid, varied portrait that gently takes readers behind the scenes to celebrate Jackie’s lifelong love of words—both written and read.  Sure to inspire young readers and wordsmiths.”

Roni Schotter, award winning author of  Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street and The Boy Who Loved Words

“Ronni Diamondstein’s story of Jackie Kennedy and her lifelong passion for reading is a beautifully-told ode to books and how they enrich our lives. Written about a book lover by a book lover. Illustrated with warmth and wonderful detail.”

Jennifer Berne, award-winning author of Manfish and On a Beam of Light

“How lovely to learn that a love of books was the constant that guided little Jackie Bouvier as she grew up to become America’s beloved First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy! Ronni Diamondstein’s lyrical text, enhanced by Bats Langley’s charming illustrations, will get children thinking about how books can help enrich their lives, too.

Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of Dear Mr. DickensThe William Hoy Story, and Manjhi Moves a Mountain

“Debut picture book author, Ronni Diamondstein, skillfully reveals former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s passion for reading and writing. Children will delight in 10-year-old Jackie’s poetry as well as discovering how she encouraged many others, including her husband, to write award-winning books. Complemented with vivid illustrations by Bats Langley and Diamondstein’s comprehensive timeline in the back of the book.”

—Sally Cook, award-winning children’s book author

“Jacqueline Kennedy’s passion for books nourished her throughout her life, through childhood, to motherhood, as First Lady, and during her career as a book editor. Through this delightfully charming biography, young readers will be inspired to emulate Jackie in making reading and writing an important part of their own lives.” 

Lisa Rogers, award winning author of “16 Words: William Carlos Williams and ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’” and the forthcoming “ Woody’s Words: Woodrow Wilson Rawls and ‘Where the Red Fern Grows”

“Ronni Diamondstein’s engaging writing and the charming artwork by Bats Langley illuminate Jackie O in a way that many of us didn’t know.  It’s a lovely facet of a woman who was much more than a First Lady.”

Dawn Greenberg, Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival Executive Director