Magazine article Newsweek

Juggling Kids, Career and History: Caroline Kennedy's Gone Anthologizin' U.S.A

Magazine article Newsweek

Juggling Kids, Career and History: Caroline Kennedy's Gone Anthologizin' U.S.A

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Kantrowitz

Her father was the leader of the free world; her mother, the style icon of the century, and her brother, the sexiest man alive. But Caroline Kennedy seems genuinely uncomfortable when she's asked to come up with a description of her own defining role. How about lawyer/best-selling author/fund-raiser? Kennedy acknowledges that she is indeed all of the above, but quickly dismisses any suggestion that she's carrying impressive public obligations for a resolutely hands-on mother of three (Rose, 14, Tatiana, 13, and John, 10). As for that living-legend stuff--Kennedy recalls a recent visit to a New York City school in her newest role as chief school fund-raiser. Sure, all the grown-ups recognized her, but then a kindergarten teacher introduced the "special visitor" to her class.

Blank stares.

"Do you have any idea who this is?"

More stares. Finally, a girl raised her hand. "Britney Spears?"

Kennedy, 45, laughs as she tells this story, and you can see the laugh lines crinkling around her eyes. "I was very flattered, actually. I thought that was great."

For someone whose family "secrets" are still the subject of tabloid exposes, there's something luxurious about not being recognized. And much of the time, Kennedy can get away with being just another New York mom on the crosstown bus. But, like her mother, she has become adept at exploiting her celebrity when there's a cause she cares about. Right now, the cause is "A Patriot's Handbook," an anthology of songs, poems, stories and speeches that Kennedy says represent some of the most important "building blocks of our democracy." To promote it, Kennedy is sitting in her publisher's office, assuming the role of author at the start of a book tour. She says she got the idea for the book after September 11, when "everybody started thinking about what it means to be an American. …

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