Friday, August 19, 2011

All Eyes on the First Family: Learning More About Presidents and Their Families

Share Presidential Facts and Stories with Your Family and Learn Together

As the First Family begins their summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard, reporters and photographers are helping Americans everywhere keep hourly tabs on their activities, allowing us to watch the family's walks to the local bookstore, bicycle ventures, and brief questions with the press as journalists ask the president what work he is accomplishing while enjoying the island.

Parents and guardians, why not make the current media focus on the presidential family a teachable moment? You can help kids learn more about America's presidents, families, politics, and history using the award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out!

Share the stories of  Thomas Jefferson's fascination with fossils and White House life for the young Kennedy family in  "Jefferson's Monstrous Bones" by Barbara Kerley and "The Kennedy White House" by Barbara Harrison.

Read about the letters Theodore Roosevelt sent to his children in an article by Leonard S. Marcus. And take a look at what happens behind the scenes in David Small's lively sketches titled "Backstairs at the White House."

On the companion educational site, you can read about the secret surgery President Grover Cleveland underwent while the public thought he was on vacation! And read why the capacity to relax is critical to a president's effectiveness and how presidents seek some relief from the pressure of their jobs in "Stress Relief: Exercise and Relaxation at the White House" by Geri Zabela Eddins.

Also on, learn about our first president's interest in breeding mules and hounds in "Presidential Menageries: George Washington, Hound Dogs, and Super Mules" by Mary Brigid Barrett.

And discover what you might have in common with American presidents and what unusual critters have resided in the White House with them in "Presidents Are People Too!" and "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My" both by Heather Lang

While visiting, be sure to check out the vast array of other articles, resources, and activities that help young people connect with American history.

Our White House is a project of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance created  to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive. Our White House is available in both paperback and hardcover from Candlewick Press.

Ask for Our White House at a library and bookstore near you!