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Our White House--Looking In, Looking Out.

This month we will find out who the 44th President of the United States will be. And, while at the time of publication, the outcome of the election is unknown, a new resource is available from Candlewick Press to help teach students about the house where either Senator Obama or Senator McCain will eventually live after being sworn in this January 2009.

In September, Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out was released. The book is an anthology designed to encourage young people to become lifelong readers, creative and critical thinkers, and responsible citizens.

The book was conceived by the founder of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA) in 2000. NCBLA board members pledged to help, ensuring that the project was in good hands from the outset, with contributions promised by Natalie Babbit, Steven Kellogg and other literary award winners.

At the time of publication, the book boasted over 100 acclaimed contributors including 4 Pulitzer Prize winners, 3 National Book Award winners, 8 National Book Award finalists, 13 Newberry Medal winners, 8 Caldecott Medal winners and 12 Coretta Scott King award winners.

About the Book

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.

Designed for children ages 10 and up, the book is divided into seven sections starting with the earliest inhabitants of the White House to present day. In addition to including historical facts and stories, the authors have included poetry and illustrations intended to provide a richer context for the discussion of "the People's House" in Washington, DC. Readers will learn about presidential politics, presidential families and even presidential pet peeves.

The book also contains unique and fun facts to share with students. For example:

Did You Know?

* During President Madison's stay, the White House was burned and ransacked by the British

* Zachary Taylor was the first career soldier to live in the White House

* John Tyler oversaw a very busy White House; he had 15 children

* When Ulysses S. Grant was in the White House, it was known as being a "party place"

* Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas Tree on the White House grounds

* John F. Kennedy had the White House rose garden built

* Gerald Ford locked himself out of the White House one night while walking his dog

* George W. Bush sent the first email from the White House

The book also includes Presidential speeches and first-hand accounts of what it was like to physically live in the White House, written by children of past presidents.

Additional Resources

In addition to the book, a companion website is available for parents, teachers, librarians and community leaders at: This website includes:

* Educational tools and reference information

* Behind-the-scenes commentary and expanded content from the book's contributors

* Activities and downloadable materials designed to excite students about American history and help them to understand the importance of civic engagement

Additional Websites of Interest on White House History

* History of U.S. Presidents in the White House *

* History of the White House *

* Tools and Resources for Classrooms and Teachers (separated by grade level) *

* White House Kids Homepage *

* Chicago Tribune White House (news stories related to the White House) * branch/the-white-house-PLCUL000110.topic

* Historical Information on the White House * dc31.htm

Additional Books & Supplemental Reading

* Dear First Lady: Letters to the White House by Dwight Young & Margaret Johnson

* If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House by Jane O'Connor & Gary Hovland

* A Kids Guide to the White House: Is George Washington Upstairs? by Betty Debnam

* A Spy in the White House (fiction) by Ron Ray & Timothy Bush

* Lion in the White House: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt by Alicia Donald

* Sammy, the White House Mouse (fiction) by Elizabeth St. John

* The Ghost, The White House and Me (fiction) by Judith St. George

* The White House: An Illustrated History by Catherine O. Grace

* The White House Pop-up Book by Chuck Fischer

* White House Q & A by Denise Rinaldo

* Woodrow, the White House Mouse (fiction) by Cheryl Shaw Barnes & Peter W. Barnes

Some of the Contributors:

* Tony Auth, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer

* Eric Carle, illustrator of numerous award-winning children's books including The Very Hungry Caterpillar

* Kate DiCamillo, author of the Newberry Honor Book, Because of Winn Dixie, as well as The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread, which won the Newberry Medal

* Tony Fucile, supervising animator for the Oscar-winning films, Finding Nemo and the Incredibles

* Max Grafe, illustrator of Old Coyote, a Book Sense 76 Selection, and The Bearskinner

* Gregory Maguire, author of novels for both adults and children, including: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which has been made into a hit Broadway musical, and What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rouge Tooth Fairy, a New York Times bestseller.

* Mark Teague, illustrator of How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? and Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (both New York Times bestsellers

* James Young, MD, the White House physician for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson during their terms in office

Additional White House Facts

* There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators.

* At various times in history, the White House has been known as the "President's Palace," the "President's House," and the "Executive Mansion." President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.

* Presidential Firsts while in office ... President James Polk (1845-49) was the first President to have his photograph taken ... President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09) was not only the first President to ride in an automobile, but also the first President to travel outside the country when he visited Panama ... President Franklin Roosevelt (1933-45) was the first President to ride in an airplane.

* With five full-time chefs, the White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d'oeuvres to more than 1,000.

* The White House requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface.

* For recreation, the White House has a variety of facilities available to its residents, including a tennis court, jogging track, swimming pool, movie theater and bowling lane.

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Title Annotation:Special Report
Publication:Curriculum Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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