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Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out Hardcover – September 9, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1110L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1st Ed. edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076362067X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763620677
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Our White House: Looking in, Looking Out is an astounding collection featuring more than 100 award-winning children's book authors and illustrators. It is much more than a history about the home and office of U.S. presidents and their families. Commissioned by the National Children's Book and Literary Alliance, this stunning picture book transcends the bounds of educational textbook, or any particular genre, for that matter. It includes essays by historians and well-known nonfiction writers (like David McCullough), fictional stories, poetry (including a memorable poem about Lincoln and a butterfly by Kate DiCamillo), imagined letters to the president, texts of actual speeches, memoir (including an essay by Linda Johnson Robb about the eerie history of a White House room where she once stayed), transcripts of TV interviews, and clever games such as a "Best in Show" presidential pet contest and a "Who's in the House?" presidential board game. Among the book's most captivating features are the "illustration essays" which feature stories or ideas rendered completely through pictures. Notable examples include David Small's sketch journal "Backstairs at the White House,"depicting all the people who work in the house and keep it running, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech illustrated by Calef Brown, Peter Sis, Ed Young, and Stephen Alcorn.

Our White House will likely be a favorite of children--and adults-who love presidential trivia, historical facts, and old stories. Children who weren't White House buffs already will surely be drawn into this colorful, fun history of an iconic building that simultaneously tells the story of the United States. (Ages 9 to 12) --Heidi Broadhead

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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 S�s supplies 37 characteristically enigmatic portraits to illustrate freedom to worship. 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Hi--

I'm the author of the "Danger Boy" time travel series, and other fiction, including the Hollywood "horror historical" "GhostDance: Showdown at Carthay Circle." ... I'm also a journalist, covering the warp and woof of showbiz and its discontents here in L.A. (where I find myself currently based, on the madcap, troubling/fascinating edge-of-the-Pacific).

I also teach wordslinging, write the occasional comic or play, and have some other work in the pipeline. Stay tuned. I also find myself raising a son or two, and trying to hike a trail or three when I can. I'm still trying to figure out what it is the coyotes and crows are attempting to tell me.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Great book illustrators are included too!
Lynn Ellingwood
More than 100 top names in American history, arts and literature contributed to this coffee-table book for families.
David Crumm
Quick and easy read of History in the White House - both adults & kids will pick it up and just pick a story...
Sister Do

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Ellingwood VINE VOICE on September 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a contemplation of many stories about the White House. Some are old, most are written by famous children's authors of the day. Great book illustrators are included too! (I want a poster of Eric Carle's contribution.) Every single entry is superlative and of great interest. I was absorbed from beginning to end. I am a teacher and my only problem will be how to share this book with my students. I will look for openings in the curriculum to share many of the stories and hope some of them will be interested in reading it themselves. The book is wonderful.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Crumm on September 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a journalist who specializes in covering spirituality in daily life, I find myself drawn toward projects conceived by Candlewick Press. I still think their "A Visitor for Bear" is one of the best books I've ever read about the spiritual theme of hospitality.

Well, "Our White House" is a colossal project compared with "Bear" and I was pleased after reading all of its more than 200 pages to conclude that even in large-scale, long-form projects, the Candlewick team hasn't lost their impish sense of storytelling.

I say that because this is a weighty project. More than 100 top names in American history, arts and literature contributed to this coffee-table book for families. Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough is here along with Jimmy Carter, Charles Dickens and Walt Whitman. These are heavy names. This is a big book. It could have turned out as dull as one of those bronze statues in D.C. that people barely notice anymore.

Here's what I like about the book and why I think it's timely with our American role in the world called into question in so many ways: This book dares to have fun with America's enduring capacity for creativity. And that is an important spiritual lesson right now.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson defied naysayers in personally helping to popularize the tomato? He did. He cultivated them and ate them both fresh and cooked. Today, who could imagine American cuisine without tomatoes?

Did you know that the Lebanese-American journalist Helen Thomas opened doors at the White House to female journalists? She did. And she did it by first cultivating coverage of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a major barrier breaker herself.
Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kerryann Kenney VINE VOICE on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out This book is the natural outcome of all those speeches and interviews David McCullough has given around the country claiming again and again, "our children don't know enough about history."
And this book couldn't come at a better time, on the heels of the spectacular John Adams HBO miniseries. This book was written for young people to help them fall in love with history, the way the 108 contributors to this marvelous book clearly already have.
This book has all the reliable gateways to keep a kid interested, great illustrations, funny stories and personal notes the people that lived in the White House.
Really well done. I'm so glad!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lientje on September 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
I had never heard of this book before, but I ran across it in a 'going out of business' sale at Borders, and I got it at half price. What a find. I collect children's illustrated
books and while generally the books I buy are for a younger set, I found so many of my favorite authors and particularly illustrators here that I couldn't resist. The fact that
history intrigues me is a plus, but not the main reason why I bought the book. Where else would I be able to find Walter Dean Myers, S. D. Schindler, Brian Selznik, Robert Byrd, the Dillons,
Pinkney, Sis, Ed Young, Stephane Jorisch (how did this Belgian/Canadian get into this ever so American book), David Small, Eric Carle - and so many others - all delivering their work in one book?

The paperback version, which I have, is updated from the original 2008 hardback version and is current through Obama. Nikki Grimes' "Inaugural Morning" which celebrates the historic event took my breath away.

Those who are interested in the economic situation during FDR's time might want to look at the illustrative four page explanation by Matt Phelan called "Hoover's One Term"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dad of Divas TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book brings out so many amazing stories about The White House and the people that lived within it, or spent time within it. I have been working on reading through this book to my daughter and she has been so engrossed in each entry that we have shared together. My daughter has shown an interest in the office of the President of the United States and the people that have held this in the past, so this has been a great addition to her knowledge base. As a father and a person who loves learning about history I want to share this passion with my own daughters. This book was set up nicely for children and parents alike, and was a great book to light a fire under all who read to make them want to learn even more about their country's history!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book for younger grade school children. It introduces them to the White House in words and pictures that will be of interest to them. It tells stories about the White House and folks who lived in it that you will never hear on the Nightly News. It speaks of the first residents, Jefferson's garden, The White House Cow, High Sprits In The Lincoln White House, America's Wildnerness and over 100 essays, short stories, illustrations, Presidential Letters, etc. Even adults will find these stories refreshing. The art work will appeal to the younger generations. A good book to have in your child's collection. They will read it time and time again.
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