Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Our White House: Looking in looking out

Our White House: Looking in looking out

Created by 108 Renowned Authors and
For ages 9 to 12
Candlewick, 2008   ISBN: 978-0763620677

Historian David McCullough tells us that the White House is "the most important, the most famous, the most historic, the most beloved house in all the land." He reminds us that the White House is "ours" and its story is "our story" as well. To tell this story the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance has brought together over one hundred authors, illustrators, and poets to share their White House related art and writing with readers.

There are poems, pictures, historical fiction accounts, non fiction accounts, period accounts and quotations, personal accounts, and even a comic book style rendering of one of the presidents' presidency. Readers will learn about the dresses that the first ladies wore, and that slaves helped build the original building. They will discover that the children in the White House had as many high jinks as children living in an average family home. Just like other parents, some of the presidents and their first ladies lost children to disease and war. Others saw their children get married in the White House, or where married there themselves, as Grover Cleveland was. Pets of all kinds have made the White House their home, providing their famous masters with their support and love during good times and bad.

Without a doubt this is one of the most varied, informative, thought-provoking and fascinating books every written about the White House for young people. There is truly something for everyone on these pages, from ghost stories, to poems about the fashions of First Ladies; and from real interviews, to an imagined dialogue between an interviewer and Alice Paul, the famous suffragist who gave President Woodrow Wilson such a hard time during his presidency.

Readers who have the opportunity to peruse this book will get a whole new perspective about the White House and its famous - or infamous - occupants. They will also see what can be done when artistic people come together to create something special for a good cause.

Readers might like to visit the companion educational website that has been created for this book.