Whether the winner of our upcoming Presidential election in November is named Barack Obama or John McCain, one thing is for certain: he’ll be moving into the hallowed halls of the White House come January. (I wish I could state the exact date the term starts. It was a question on a recent Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, which I occasionally watch with my fifth grader. Obviously I am way too removed from fifth grade to answer questions like that.)
But back to the very cool point, which is naturally attached to a children’s book. An absolutely riveting new picture/coffee table book avoids all the election controversy and talk of electoral colleges and political parties and gives us a tribute to the structure that has remained constant since John Adams first brought in his bags in 1800: The White House.
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, published just last month by the often innovative Candlewick Press, is a virtual who’s who among the stars of the juvenile book world, big-name authors and illustrators including Katherine Paterson, David Macaulay, Eric Carle and Patricia and Fredrick McKissack. This collection of their offerings in the form of essays, artwork, personal accounts, and other creative contributions including poetry was gathered by the National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance.
Taking us from the design stage to the lifestyles of presidential pets and children to wartime to the press room, the creators give us much more to chew on than you might even think one building, however historic, could offer. The roles of immigrants, African Americans, and Native Americans are explored as well.
A companion Web site, www.ourwhitehouse.org, includes many other resources on the White House and American history.
This is a much-needed book that won’t fade away after the big election is over.