Synopses & Reviews
More than one hundred leading authors and illustrators donate their talents in a creative tour de force that is making history.
Conceived and co-created by the National Children's Book and Literary Alliance, this incomparable collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, and poetry melds with an equally stunning array of original art to offer a multifaceted look at America's history through the prism of the White House. Starting with a 1792 call for designers to plan a presidential mansion and continuing through the present day, OUR WHITE HOUSE takes in everything from the amusing antics of presidents' children and pets to the drama of the White House ablaze and the specter of war; from the role of immigrants, African Americans, and Native Americans to the thoughts and actions of many presidents themselves. These highly engaging writings and illustrations, expressing varied viewpoints and interwoven with key historical events, are a vital resource for family sharing and classroom use — and a stirring reminder that the story of the White House is the story of every American.
"Eight years in the making, this anthology of White House history convenes an all-star roster of 108 children's authors and illustrators, as well as a few scholars and former White House employees and residents and it is a blue-ribbon choice for family sharing during an election year. Chronologically ordered, the entries range from poems to presidential speeches, satirical cartoons to stately portraits; despite the talents of the literary contributors (Kate DiCamillo offers a poem about Lincoln's death, Patricia MacLachlan describes Eleanor Roosevelt's rescue of a cat belonging to a young girl), perhaps the most striking writings are those that most closely adhere to the historical record. Barbara Kerley details Thomas Jefferson's passion for paleontology, and M.T. Anderson describes White House ghosts (Churchill, visited by a spectral Lincoln, 'tapped the ash off the end of his cigar and said, 'Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage' '). But few of the writers create the same impact as the occasional document: Robert Kennedy addresses the nation after Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, and Richard Nixon bids farewell to the White House staff. (That young readers will react to these documents is in no small part due to the writers' success in establishing the contexts for them.) Among the most provocative entries are works by artists who 'look in' on the White House with a demonstrably personal vision: David Small shares color sketches of 'backstairs at the White House,' a study in contrasts; Bob Kolar arranges the presidents as if on a board game, with clever annotations (who knew President Arthur held a yard sale while in office?); Peter Ss supplies 37 characteristically enigmatic portraits to illustrate freedom from fear. Although a few entries seem formulaic, the volume makes the invaluable point that history does not have to be remote or abstract, but a personal and ongoing engagement. Ages 10 up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Conceived and co-created by the National Children's Book and Literary Alliance, this collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and original art from more than 100 leading authors and illustrators offers a multifaceted look at America's history through the prism of the White House. It includes an Introduction by bestselling historian David McCullough ("John Adams").
Our White House, 10 copies,
About the Author
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance is a not-for-profit literacy organization founded in 1997 by Mary Brigid Barrett and composed of award-winning children's authors and illustrators, including M. T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Susan Cooper, Nikki Grimes, Steven Kellogg, David Macaulay, Patricia MacLachlan, Gregory Maguire, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, and Katherine Paterson. For more information about the NCBLA's goals and activities, visit www.NCBLA.org.