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The Road to the White House



Who’s Haunting the White House? The President’s Mansion and the Ghosts Who Lived There.

by Jeff Belanger.  illus. by Rick Powell.

Gr 3-7

Come explore the spooky world inside the White House! It’s one of America’s most famous and haunted homes, so keep your eyes wide open for darting shadows, ghostly apparitions, and lurking creepy creatures. We’ll hear true, scary stories from past Presidents and First Ladies, as well as from staff who work there every day and have had the chance to see it all. It’s the perfect election year book; as adults decide who will move in, kids can enjoy thinking of what the new inhabitant might encounter in the building’s many rooms and hallways.
Has the original landowner decided to stick around? Is Abigail Adams still hanging laundry on the premises? Does President Andrew Jackson still make a ruckus up in the Rose Guest Room? Is Abraham Lincoln a permanent fixture in the bedroom that bears his name? Every one of these figures, and others, has been spotted or heard from. To increase the chills, a variety of archival images and original illustrations capture the hauntings.
In addition to ghost-hunting, kids will learn about the real history inside the White House.



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Ghosts of the White House

Cheryl Harness

grades 2-5

Sara is excited about going on a field trip to the White House. Once there, she is unexpectedly pulled ("Magic Schoolbus" fashion) into a portrait of George Washington and given a grand tour by Mr. Washington himself. As they move from room to room, Sara meets the ghosts of the men who made this very special house famous. The approach is neither chronological nor alphabetical. Instead, each room is associated with a few presidents. Readers will find Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower in "The Map Room" briefly discussing D day while Millard Fillmore and Richard Nixon discuss their similarities in "The China Room." Numerous speech balloons are full of little-known facts and imagined opinions. For example, Harry Truman tells Sara about the deteriorated state of the White House in 1945 while exclaiming that the current need to check visitors with metal detectors "makes me mad!" Sidebars contain additional facts including dates of birth and death, nicknames, and term dates. An illustrated time line and an explanation of the office of the president is included, and the five still-living presidents are given brief treatment on a separate page. While the detailed watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations and the curious tidbits of information make this volume a potentially appealing browsing item, be aware that its lack of traditional organization and presentation of opinion as fact hinder its use as a source of reliable information.

Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools



First Kids

by Gibbs Davis, illus. by Sally Wern Comport

Gr 2-4

Kids will be kids—even when they live in the White House! From Tad Lincoln (secretly called a “tyrant” ) to the Roosevelt gang (who kept a pet badger, a rat, dogs, snakes, horses, parrots, and a one-legged chicken!) to the Kennedys (who used the oval office as a playground) to Chelsea Clinton (who transformed herself from an awkward teen into an accomplished scholar), the children featured in First Kids shared a unique experience and role in American history.



Grace for President

Kelly Dipucchio, illus. by LeUyen Pham

Gr 1-4


"Where are the girls?"

When Grace's teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first.  And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school's mock election.  But soon, she realizes that she has entered a tough race.  Her popular opponent claims to be the "best man for the job"--and seems to have captured all the male votes--while Grace concentrates on being the best person.
In this timely story, author Kelly DiPucchio not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system, but also teaches them the value of hard work, courage, and independent thought--and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.


President Pennybaker

by Kate Feiferillus. by Diane Goode

K-Gr 3

What if a boy ran for president and won?

Being a kid isn't easy, just ask Luke Pennybaker. Chores, school, homework, and more chores. Who needs it? Sent to his room for a time-out, Luke devises a plan to run for president and make like fair for kids once and for all.

As "Pennies for Pennybaker" builds momentum, Luke's campaign takes hold across America. Being president of the United States is all a kid could hope for - or is it?

Completely plausible and surprising, Kate Feiffer and Diane Goode's spirited collaboration is sure-fire inspiration for presidential hopefuls across the land.



See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White House

by Susan Goodman, illus. by Elwood H. Smith

Gr 4-7

Using witty anecdotes and clear explanations, acclaimed writer Susan E. Goodman takes readers from the birth of democracy to the Electoral College; from front porch campaigning to hanging chads. It’s all here, spiced up with Elwood Smith’s witty illustrations, hilarious sidebars, photographs, and solid back matter. It’s a landslide victory:  See How They Run stands above the rest as the most accessible, informative, and enjoyable election book on the market.



Our White House: Looking in, Looking Out.

National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

Gr 3-8

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.  --Heidi Broadhead