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sabato, maggio 06, 2017

Our White House, Looking In, Looking Out Created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance with 110 Renowned Authors and Illustrators and an introduction by David McCullough

I have always dreamed if I will afford one day to the USA of visiting the White House. 

It's a beautiful house, central, all white externally you would say she has a Renaissance touch because of the perfection of the construction of the buildings of that period.

Dear children, adults, students and kids follow me, because thanks to this book: Our White House, Looking In, Looking Out Created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance with 110 Renowned Authors and Illustrators and an introduction by David McCullough and published by Candlewick we will explore the First House of the USA and we will also be curious, exploring not just the house but the privileged people who lived there, the past Presidents of the USA.

No, no: don't think for a second that it will be a boring trip. It will be just fun thanks to the beautiful anecdotes, stunning imagines and wonderful painting that the book will let you see and at the end of it we will all obtain an A in history I can tell you that.

First of all the White House in the past was very different from the one we know today and many and diversified the Presidents lived in that house.

The tallest one was Abraham Lincoln, seven Presidents arrived from Ohio, can you believe it? One of the so-called swing States "created" seven Presidents.

A swing State is a State that during the Presidential election can't tell to the analysts precisely which will be the indication of vote, till the end. But clearly they have had the biggest numbers of Presidents. One of them killed after just four months of Presidency!

The fattest President William Howard Taft 330 pounds!
The latest one in order of time is President Donald Trump.
Lincoln didn't care of eating anything, Eisenhower loved to follow the kitchen staff because he was an expert of food and loved to eat.

All the Presidents bring at the White House something of them and the White House gives I love to think it, something of Her to them, because it's a special place, because when you are in office you are not anymore You, but the best of you, and it makes the difference.

The first President who physically lived at the White House was John Adams with his wife Abigail and started immediately a farmer garden because according to him a house without some veggies is not a house.

Henry Truman has been the only President who didn't go to college although he loved history so badly. He also I guess knew that he was making history and he encouraged people to discover and love history.

You mustn't never think that the White House built  in a great place. They  choose a place close to the river Potomac famous for  malarial problems.

There is a sweet chat between John Adams and his wife Abigail at the beginning truly moving.

There is a memoir imagined and illustrated by Mary Brigid Barret. The testimony of Padraig Tomas O'Deorain. The last wish is beautiful: "I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men every rule under this roof." Yes because it's the most important roof of this world. The USA de fact rule the entire country but also the rest of the world.

The White House workers for building the house were also black and their contributions has been fundamental for the creation of this wonderful house.

At the same time look at the contradictions, Thomas Jefferson was a President elected because he was a conservative and he believed in slavery. Monticello was built, it was his home, by slave labor and these people were also involved in the work of cotton, rice, indigo and sugar enriching of course their masters.
Jefferson thought that black people were "inferior to the rest of the mankind" although in the Declaration of Independence he wrote that "All men are equal." It's possible and indispensable to change opinion although the contributor asks: how much all these people believed in equality?
It can be a great and good discussion in a classroom I think.

After John Adams and his first kitchen garden, also Thomas Jefferson continued the kitchen garden wanted by Adams with every sorta of veggies. His pride was tomatoes, he loved tomatoes so badly! but you could have eaten everything thanks to the kitchen garden planted by Jefferson: from onion to cucumbers. He also planted chamomile, mint. Not only: corn, beans and pumpkins  following a native American technique. Jefferson loved to seeing growing up plants and herbs and veggies all around him.
Another passion of Jefferson? Fossils.

Actual Presidents in general have pets like cats and dogs, but in the past, starting from Jefferson with a squirrel, the White House's Presidents had a great fantasy in terms of animals. The White House has given hospitality to wagons and very diversified animals.

Talking of animals, William Henry Harrison in 1840s wanted some good milk and asked for a cow. The farmer didn't know him and well look at that gaffe! :-) once arrived at the White House with the cow.

Tad and Willie the children of President Lincoln and their wonderful numerous animals animated for sure a serious place like the White House with their lives.

The animals that these children collected were the most diversified ones: kittens, rabbits, a turkey (it wasn't the Thanksgiving's period I guess, lucky turkey!) a pony, a goat, this one slept on Tad's bed and a small dog, Jip. These children were exuberant, and Abraham Lincoln didn't know or didn't want  to educate them with too much severity.

What do you think of what Lincoln said once? "It is my pleasure that my children are free, happy and unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to bind a child to its parents."

Willie later died of fever, and you will find a touching poem by Paul B.Janeczko, imagining the words thought by Mary Todd, Lincoln's wife and mother of Willie. She was sick after the departure of Willie per years.

But, also Abraham Lincoln died, and this time assassinated. An atrocious death, senseless perpetrated by John Wilkes a very famous and established actor with great reputation and talent. Kate DiCamillo wrote three beautiful poems for remembering this devastating phase of America's History.

Two pages dedicated at the seven Presidents from Ohio, all Republicans. Only Virginia has given more Presidents, eight in total.

And did you know that there are thirty States that still haven't yet given any President to the country?

Theodore Roosevelt was a President of action.  He was a hunter but once he didn't kill a bear because too old.

Did you know that the origin of the toy Teddy Bear derived by him and what he did? I received various teddy bears from my American friends but I didn't know that the origin of the story was this one.

Plus, this one is the month of letter-writing, President Roosevelt loved to write letters. He was a voracious correspondent. He wrote more than 150.000 letters in his life! And he loved and loved and loved to keep a great correspondence with his grown-up children telling them what the still little ones were doing. He lost a son during the first world war and this fact "killed him." It was the biggest pain he could have felt. He decided so with a friend journalist to publish: "Roosevelt's Letters to His Children." He died before to seeing the book released but he did it.
Children have always been one of the most important part of his life.

Roosevelt had six children in total and animals were back of course at the White House.
Dogs, rabbits, flying squirrels, rats, like also a snake named after an aunt of these children!

Roosevelt loved nature in general and thanks to him Congress passed the legislation protecting the incredible immense diversified nature existing in the USA.
He created the Forest Service.

If Roosevelt fought for keeping wonderful the American wild nature, women in 1917 fought for obtaining more rights. They were called suffragists and they started to speak and interact with Woodrow Wilson for trying to obtain more rights.

Wilson saw also  the First World War and its austerity at the White House as well like all the departures and horrors that it brought with it. He had an ictus while still in office and the last time spent at the White House difficult.

Franklin D.Roosevelt was the only President elected three times in the history of the USA.
He said people in the future would have searched for these four words:
1- Freedom of speech and expression
2-Freedom of every person to workship God in his own way and everywhere in the world
3- Freedom from want, which means healthy and secure peace through all the nationals in the world
4 - Freedom for fear with a reduction of armaments for avoiding any kind of physical aggression of every sorta anywhere in the world.

The smiles portrayed by P.J. Lynch are recognizable at miles of distances. Beautiful, touching. very warm and moving this story written by Patricia McLachlan with protagonist Eleanor Roosevelt, Elly and his cat, Bitty in a time in which the element surprise could be possible.

There are also some ghosts at the White House, and the most frequently spotted is the one of Abraham Lincoln.

I am sure that he is still affectionate to the White House. I have the idea that he was a very good man. Once he died the autopsy was performed at the White House.

Dwight D.Eisenhower in his farewell Address to the Nation on Jan 17, 1961 couldn't say anything different: a prayer for peace.

I discovered very well this President, Eisenhower, you must know because he was also the founder of People to People International an organization with headquarter in the USA, but located in many other places in the world, interested to connect people from the most diversified places. It's a great experience.  Connected per years with them thanks to them I found a lot of great American pen-pals.

The Kennedy Years were plenty of expectations. Kennedy has been the first and until now only Catholic president elected. He was from Boston and he brought a new and fresh air with his ideas. Various anecdotes. His shocking departure on Nov 22 1963 because of his terrible assassination in Dallas brought profound consternation and shock in the entire country.

After him another leader died: reverend Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated this time in Memphis this time in 1968.
He fought in peace for obtaining equal rights for black people. Touching the speech of Robert Kennedy in the book. Few months later also the brother of President Kennedy would have been killed. A dark page this one for the USA.

Did you know that at the White House you can find a major art museum? 500 portraits in total five are of American Indians and James Monroe the President left them at the White House. At the White House starting from Jefferson native Americans have been guests very often.

You will find in this book also a chapter of the book Christmas in Plains: Memories by Jimmy Carter.

Carter was in fact born in Plains, Georgia and I highly suggest you to read this book if you haven't yet. It's simple, warm and plenty of great memories starting from the childhood's Christmases of the President with all his family and the traditions they loved to share and perpetuate. The part proposed in the book the Presidential Christmases. A bit more complicated than not the other ones.

The most recent Presidents, Reagan, George W.Bush Senior remembered like also Bush Jr. with touching pages and I found tender the poem dedicated at the cat of family Clinton.

And here we are: it was 9/11 when the world changed forever. The terrorist attack at the Twin Towers.
Dick Cheney at that time vice-president tell that moments.

The election of President Obama made us cry for joy and excitement because this young man from Illinois was plenty of enthusiasm and promises. A beautiful poem "Inaugural Morning" by Nikki Grimes describes that moments.

The book ends with "The White House by Moonlight" by Walt Whitman.

Why buying this book? Remember that you will bring home a product of great educative value. Plus, of course, if you are a parent you will stimulate your kid/kids thanks to many curious anecdotes at the appreciation of history.

I thank Candlewick and P. J. Lynch for this wonderful and dreaming historical book!

Anna Maria Polidori

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