Speaking of the White House…

Consider this new book: Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out~Created by 108 Renowned Authors and Illustrators and the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, with an introduction by David McCullough. Eight years in the making, this anthology of White House history is a great choice for families this election year. Ordered chronologically, the entries run from poems to presidential speeches, satirical cartoons to stately portraits. The list of participating authors and illustrators is like a Who’s Who in children’s literature. Each brings his or her own distinctive gifts to this stunning creation. Also included are essays by historians and well-known nonfiction writers like David McCullough. The seed for this tour de force was actually planted by McCullough who sees “the profound connection between literacy and historical literacy” and believes that wonderful art and storytelling can get children excited about history. This joint effort by the NCBLA succeeds mightily.

I particularly liked some of the “illustration essays,” where the stories and ideas are presented entirely through pictures. I found David Small’s “Backstairs at the White House, a More or Less On-the-Spot Sketch Journal” very appealing, documenting as it does all the people behind the scenes who keep the place running. Especially moving was FDR’s “Four Freedoms Speech, with illustrations by Calef Brown, Peter Sis, Ed Young and Stephen Alcorn. That’s just the tip of this very impressive iceberg. I invite you all to take the plunge!

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