Thursday, August 9, 2012

Engage Kids in the Upcoming Republican and Democratic Conventions!

Share the History of the Donkey and the Elephant as Political Mascots with the Young People in Your Life

Exclusive New Article Now Available on, the NCBLA's companion educational website to the art and literature anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, features a treasure trove of exclusive articles, discussion questions, activities, and other resources to help young people connect with American history. Both the Our White House website and book are perfect partners for helping you get kids engaged in this year's presidential election!

JUST ADDED to is a new web exclusive "The Donkey and the Elephant" by NCBLA volunteer writer Helen Kampion

Parents, teachers, and librarians--did you know that two of America's most famous political icons owe their existence to a campaign insult and a phrase popular during the Civil War?  Do you know which political cartoonist is responsible for cementing the usage of the donkey and the elephant as the Democratic and Republican Party mascots? You can read all about how the donkey and the elephant rose to iconic status in Kampion's exclusive article. We encourage you to share this article--and the accompanying discussion questions and activities--with all the young people in your life.

Here is an excerpt:

The earliest connection of the elephant to the Republican Party was an illustration in an 1864 Abraham Lincoln presidential campaign newspaper, Father Abraham. It showed an elephant holding a banner and celebrating Union victories. During the Civil War, “seeing the elephant” was slang for engaging in combat so the elephant was a logical choice to represent successful battles.

To read the entire article detailing the history of donkey and the elephant as mascots, click here

Helen Kampion received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is a volunteer staff writer for The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance and, in addition to writing picture books and middle grade novels, runs book clubs and writing workshops for children.

Our White House is an outstanding collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, and poetry that melds with an equally stunning array of original art to offer a look at America’s history through the prism of the White House. Starting with a 1792 call for designers and continuing through the present day, these highly engaging writings and illustrations, expressing varied viewpoints and interwoven with key historical events, are a vital resource for family and classroom sharing -- and a stirring reminder that the story of the White House is the story of every American.

To learn more about Our White House, click here.

For more articles and resources related to presidential elections, check out the Civic Education page AND our other NEW exclusives:

Our White House is available
in both hardcover and paperback.
Ask for Our White House at a library or bookstore near you!