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Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out by…
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Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out

by National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

Other authors: David McCullough (Introduction), Barry Moser (Illustrator)

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1. Summary - This book is composed of short stories and small tributes from 108 Authors and Illustrators. This book includes facts such as how the White House was built, the different types of presidents and their backgrounds as well as stories of events while they lived in the house. This book also contains some of the struggles the White House went through such as it catching fire in 1813 during Madison's term. And so much more fun little facts that are included that there are to many to describe in such short frame of time.

2. Personal Reaction - I thought this book was great! I loved all the fun facts I leaned and relearned! I thought that this was well put together considering all the authors in such a short book. Basically each author had 2-3 pages. It flowed through the eras and the presidents and happy times and struggles.

3. Extension Ideas -
1. I could use this book to tie into a history lesson and give fun facts about presidents when I go over them.
2. I could use this book to expand vocabulary and knowledge on White House terminology such as the Oval Office.
  mw193322 | Dec 3, 2017 |
This is a collection of several stories, both real and imagined of the white house. Some are held within its walls, some are biographies, and some are short blurbs like the dresses the "First ladies of the white house" wore. There were "eye witness" accounts of events, some were funny or strange accounts like that of Mrs. Cleavland who married a president who stepped in as her father figure once her own father had passed. There were even some cartoons, like the one of President Hoover. There are so many stories and events all written by different authors. It is an amazing and interesting collection that keeps you interested until the last page.
  rwetherell | Nov 18, 2010 |
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com

On March 14, 1792, building commissioners in charge of the newly planned capitol city of the infant United States government issued a call for designs on a presidential mansion. The person who submitted the winning design would win five hundred dollars or a medal of the same value for their plans.

Over the next few years, with the combined efforts of world renowned builders, immigrant workers, and even slaves, the most famous house in the country rose from the ground, and admitted its first official residents--John and Abigail Adams--in the year 1800.

Today, that same house serves as much more than just the living quarters of the presidential family. Historic events that have shaped the course of the United States have taken place within its walls. On the flipside, some of the most insignificant things that have happened there have kept not only the nation, but the entire world, intrigued for generations.

From devastating fires to the antics of the president's children, from whacky pets to the ghosts of former residents, from the press corps to the secret service, and from weddings to some really tough decisions...these are only a few small slices of what this house has seen.

To the hundreds of beings who stay, visit, and work in this house every day, and to the millions of people affected by what happens in it, the White House serves as a symbol of hope, peace, and togetherness, making it not just a presidential house, but a house that belongs to all.

This impressive collection of stories, anecdotes, essays, and illustrations has been assembled by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance to offer a wide range of insight into how this historic house has shaped and changed so many lives. They've also put together a comprehensive website at www.ourwhitehouse.org which expands on the information and stories featured in the book. You can even download a Barack Obama sticker to add to the line of presidents found in the book's timetable. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
Richie's Picks: OUR WHITE HOUSE: LOOKING IN, LOOKING OUT created by 108 renowned authors and illustrators, Candlewick Press, September 2008, 242p., ISBN: 978-0-7636-2067-7

"Our house is a very, very, very fine house." -- Graham Nash (who was born in Britain and became an American citizen in 1978)

"This house...I was thinking of it as we walked down this hall, and I was comparing it to some of the great houses of the world that I've been in. This isn't the biggest house. Many, and most, in even smaller countries, are much bigger. This isn't the finest house. Many in Europe, particularly, and in China, Asia, have paintings of great, great value, things that we just don't have here, and probably will never have until we are one thousand years old or older.
"But this is the best house. It's the best house because it has something far more important than numbers of people who serve, far more important than numbers of rooms or how big it is, far more important than numbers of magnificent pieces of art.
"This house has a great heart, and that heart comes from those who serve."
-- Richard Nixon, in his final remarks to the White House staff, August 9, 1974

OUR WHITE HOUSE is a rollicking literary and visual excursion through the history and mythology, the hijinks and tragedies, and the family moments that have accrued over the course of two centuries of presidential life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The National Children's Book and Literary Alliance has brought together the work of 108 well-known, children's book authors and illustrators. In addition to all of the stories and pictures, editors have interspersed some fascinating bits of primary source and historical material.

This is a collection of uber talent. Taking a look through the contributors list, I found sixteen authors who have been recognized by Newbery award committees, a dozen who have been recognized by Caldecott award committees, five National Book Award winners, and others who have won the Jane Addams, the Golden Kite, the CSK, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Now, some might wonder whether all of that award-winner talk means that this is a book akin to high fiber and low calories: it's good for you but not particularly tasty. But that's wrong! Above all, I had a great old time reading OUR WHITE HOUSE, and discovered some really neat stuff.

We learn from such yarns as Richard Peck's "The White House Cow," that up through the middle of the nineteenth century, there were relatively innocent times when one saw absolutely no iron fences, no walls, or security checkpoints around the president's house; no armed dudes with shades and earpieces to be found anywhere. Instead, there were family cows and kitchen gardens and casual, neighborly visits.

From Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's tale, "An Unusual Guest," we learn that Lewis and Clark sent back a prairie dog to Jefferson that briefly lived at what would (in Teddy Roosevelt's time) come to be known officially as the White House.

In just a few pages ("Sneaking into Adams Field"), Michael Winerip has converted me into a major fan of John Quincy Adams. I now want to read more about the OTHER president whose father had previously been president.

In a thousand words taken from the 1865 memoir of James Madison's former slave Paul Jennings, my belief in that the old tale of Dolly Madison being responsible for saving the famous portrait of George Washington has been seriously undermined. Those organizing the book did something very interesting here: They situated the Jennings' memoir excerpt right next to Don Brown's recounting and illustration of the Dolly Madison story. Thus, we are handed a stellar lesson in information literacy and a great opportunity for debate.

And the illustrators! How cool is it to have the most recent winner of the Caldecott Medal joining back up with the author of THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS to show the story of Thomas Jefferson's spreading crates of mammoth bones (thanks, again, to Lewis and Clark) out on the White House floor? There is a great graphic novel-style look at Herbert Hoover by Matt Phelan, a two-plus-page spread of presidents and their pets by Steven Kellogg, and -- one of my absolute favorites -- the six page "Backstairs at the White House: a More or Less On-The-Spot Sketch Journal" by David Small.

"...There is something fitting about the house of our country's leaders being inhabited by the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, a man who governed during a time of such anguish. If the White House were not haunted by the memory of its past trials, that would be true cause for worry. As for Harry Truman, who was roused from his sleep by Lincoln's anxious knocking and pacing, he was asked whether he himself would ever return as a presidential specter. He said he wouldn't: 'No man in his right mind would want to come here of his own accord.'"
-- "The House Haunts" by M. T. Anderson

From the little-known early-American history to be found in Walter Dean Myers' piece "Slaves Helped Build the White House!," to the amusing recollections from the era in which I grew up -- LBJ's daughter Lynda's "My Room," OUR WHITE HOUSE: LOOKING IN, LOOKING OUT is a lively collection of fact, story, and illustration that one can be page through and read like a magazine, or dive into and enjoy cover to cover.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/
BudNotBuddy@aol.com
http://www.myspace.com/richiespicks ( )
  richiespicks | May 21, 2009 |
You can help nurture political junkies with this terrific book!

I have shared this book with several groups from pre-schoolers to adults and all have found aspects to gravitate to. The book is broken down into units that cluster similar themes together as well as providing chronological sections. I loved the variety of authors included and vivid artwork. ( )
  blufordgill2 | Mar 27, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
National Children's Book and Literacy Allianceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCullough, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 076362067X, Hardcover)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:17 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

More than one hundred leading authors and illustrators donate their talents to a collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, and poetry which looks at America's history through the prism of the White House.

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Candlewick Press

2 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 076362067X, 0763646091

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