Monday, November 18, 2013

Make the Most of American Anniversaries
with Young People
Start with Our White House  

The approaching anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination is triggering many Americans to pause and look back into memory and history. Anniversaries such as these provide wonderful opportunities to step back in history and engage young people. Invite grandparents and others who remember that day to share their memories with your kids. Go to the library and find all the books you can. Look online for news coverage of this tragic event. Encourage young people to ask questions, to do their own research, to find out how this event affected America.  

One excellent resource for engaging kids in America's past is the NCBLA's award-winning anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, an incomparable collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and a stunning array of original art, offering a multifaceted look at America’s history through the prism of the White House.
Our White House offers a number of illustrations and stories for examining the Kennedy presidency:

  • "The People's House" illustration by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.
  •  "The Kennedy White House," an essay about the Kennedy family's life in the White House by Barbara Harrison.
  • "The White House, the Moon, and a Coal Miner's Son" by Home Hickam and illustrated by Joe Cepeda tells the story of how the rocket scientist-to-be met Kennedy on the campaign trail and inspired Kennedy's decision to have Americans travel to the moon.
  • "A White House Physician" by James Young shares his own personal account as the president's physician of "the most extreme emergency imaginable."
  • "A White Mouse in the White House" by children's literature expert Anita Silvey tells the story of Jacqueline Kennedy's relationship with Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans and her lifelong love of literature.
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out was created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance as a collaborative effort by over one hundred award-winning authors and illustrators. Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press.
Learn more about how you can inspire young people using the Our White House resources in the online article "For Educators: Using Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and in the Classroom." 
The Our White House anthology is supported by a companion educational website,, which expands the book content with additional stories, primary sources, articles, activities, and discussion questions related to book topics. 

Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press.

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