Laurence Holzman


To most, F.D.R.’s dog is little more than a historical footnote.  But to one boy, on one Christmas, this puppy made all the difference in the world.

Fella tells the story of Willy Hughes, an eleven-year-old African-American boy whose mother is a maid at the White House in 1940.  To keep Willy out of trouble, Willy’s mother drags him to work with her during his Christmas vacation.  At the White House, Eleanor Roosevelt assigns Willy the task of caring for the dog that is to be a surprise Christmas gift for the President.  As Willy struggles to keep the dog out of sight, he also discovers the hidden truth about his absent father, learns invaluable lessons in responsibility, and overcomes a harsh encounter with racism, all of which help him to embark on his journey to manhood with newfound pride in himself and appreciation for his family.

Fella is a funny and heartwarming holiday story that doesn't shy away from issues of prejudice and family strife. 

F.D.R. with his famed scottie

Below, the F.D.R. monument in Washington, D.C.