Our White House: Looking in, Looking Out

Overview

“A blue-ribbon choice for family sharing”
—Publishers Weekly ...

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Overview

“A blue-ribbon choice for family sharing”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Praise for Our White House
An American Library Association Notable Children’s Book
An International Reading Association Teachers’ Choice
A National Council for the Social Studies Notable Trade
Book for Young People
A National Endowment for the Humanities We the People
Bookshelf Selection
 “Explore the nooks and crannies of American history. . . .
A browser’s dream.”
— The Horn Book (starred review)
“Inspired. . . . Dazzling. . . . Entertaining.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)
“If you don’t find one of your favorite writers in this book,
we’ll be surprised.”
— The Washington Post
“If books were measured like elections, this would win in a landslide.”
—USA Today

Conceived and co-created by the National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance, this outstanding collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, and poetry 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763620677
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 524,711
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 9.38 (w) x 11.12 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

David McCullough

The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance is a not-for-profit literacy organization founded in 1997 by Mary Brigid Barrett and composed of award-winning children's authors and illustrators, including M. T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Susan Cooper, Nikki Grimes, Steven Kellogg, David Macaulay, Patricia MacLachlan, Gregory Maguire, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, and Katherine Paterson. For more information about the NCBLA's goals and activities, visit www.NCBLA.org.

Biography

Critics have called David McCullough America's premier narrative historian, and rightly so: McCullough is both a scholar and a storyteller, a meticulous researcher and a highly engaging writer. Given his ability to turn a 750-page biography of an often-overlooked, one-term president into a national bestseller, it might even be said that McCullough is a magician. Gordon Wood, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution and a professor of history at Brown University, has said McCullough "is without doubt the most celebrated of what you could call our 'popular historians,' and he's also respected by academic historians."

McCullough, who majored in English literature at Yale, began his career as a magazine writer, but turned to history after reading some uninspired accounts of the disastrous 1899 flood of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He wrote his own history of the flood and its aftermath, and went on to chronicle two great feats of engineering: the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the creation of the Panama Canal.

Both The Great Bridge and The Path Between the Seas were bestsellers, and the latter won a National Book Award. Critics praised McCullough for his vivid descriptions and lively excerpts of firsthand accounts. The Great Bridge, wrote Robert Kirsch in The Los Angeles Times, is "a book so compelling and complete as to be a literary monument, one of the best books I have read in years." McCullough then progressed from the Panama Canal to its great proponent Theodore Roosevelt, the subject of his first biography. Mornings on Horseback, about the young Teddy Roosevelt, was hailed as a "masterpiece" by Newsday 's John A. Gable and praised as "a beautifully told story, filled with fresh detail" by The New York Times Book Review.

McCullough spent the next ten years researching and writing about Harry Truman, and the resulting book was a complex, compelling and affectionate portrait of America's 33d president. Truman won the Pulitzer Prize for biography and sold well over 1 million copies. Another Pulitzer Prize was awarded to McCullough's next book, John Adams, also a bestseller.

"McCullough's appreciation for Adams, like his appreciation for Truman, depends on an adherence to certain old-fashioned moral guidelines, which is to say on strength of character," wrote New York Times reviewer Pauline Maier. McCullough is eloquent about his subjects' honesty, unpretentiousness and deep sense of civic duty, though critics have sometimes charged that he is too quick to excuse or pass over their failings. But McCullough has his own reservations about "a certain school of historians who don't just want to prove somebody from the past had feet of clay, they want to show he's nothing but clay."

McCullough can admire his subjects in spite of their faults; as he once said, "The more we see the founders as humans the more we can understand them." Through his books, millions of readers have found American heroes whose human characters are as well worth studying as their historic accomplishments.

Good To Know

In researching John Adams, McCullough went to every place in Europe that Adams had lived, in England, France and Holland. He also traveled with his wife along the same route Adams and Jefferson took when they toured the gardens of England. "If I had been able to sail across the Atlantic in a 24-gun frigate, as John Adams did, I would have done that, too," he said.

In addition to his work as a writer, McCullough has hosted the public television shows Smithsonian World and The American Experience, and narrated Ken Burns's documentary The Civil War.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com

    On March 14, 1792, building commissioners in charge of the newly planned capitol city of the infant United States government issued a call for designs on a presidential mansion. The person who submitted the winning design would win five hundred dollars or a medal of the same value for their plans. <BR/><BR/>Over the next few years, with the combined efforts of world renowned builders, immigrant workers, and even slaves, the most famous house in the country rose from the ground, and admitted its first official residents--John and Abigail Adams--in the year 1800. <BR/><BR/>Today, that same house serves as much more than just the living quarters of the presidential family. Historic events that have shaped the course of the United States have taken place within its walls. On the flipside, some of the most insignificant things that have happened there have kept not only the nation, but the entire world, intrigued for generations. <BR/><BR/>From devastating fires to the antics of the president's children, from whacky pets to the ghosts of former residents, from the press corps to the secret service, and from weddings to some really tough decisions...these are only a few small slices of what this house has seen. <BR/><BR/>To the hundreds of beings who stay, visit, and work in this house every day, and to the millions of people affected by what happens in it, the White House serves as a symbol of hope, peace, and togetherness, making it not just a presidential house, but a house that belongs to all. <BR/><BR/>This impressive collection of stories, anecdotes, essays, and illustrations has been assembled by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance to offer a wide range of insight into how this historic house has shaped and changed so many lives. They've also put together a comprehensive website at www.ourwhitehouse.org which expands on the information and stories featured in the book. You can even download a Barack Obama sticker to add to the line of presidents found in the book's timetable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 25, 2009

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