More about the President


Tired of political sound bits and fact checkers who tell us that practically everything that we are told by the candidates isn’t exactly the whole unvarnished truth, but still are fascinated by the presidency?  Well three new children’s books might bring some relief in this political campaign season.

Beverly Gherman’s “First Mothers” contains the stories about those powerful women behind their sons the presidents.  She tells us about Abigail Smith Adams who admonished both her husband and her son to “Remember the Ladies…Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands.”  Rebekah Baines Johnson edited her son’s speeches and reminded him to stand up straight.  In this book, Gherman’s mentions many other mothers who profoundly influenced their president sons and made the men who helped governed our nation.

Joe Rhatigan in “White House Kids:  The Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pitfalls of the President’s Children” points out the pros and cons of being a child in the White House.  For example, Tad Lincoln sold refreshments to visitors as their entered the White House.  Alice L. Roosevelt attended formal receptions with her pet snake, Emily Spinach, wrapped around her neck.  Susan Ford had her high school prom in the East Room of the White House.

Finally, Julie Moberg has written “Presidential Pets:  The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House.”  From two grizzly cubs sent to Jefferson by Lewis and Clark, to an alligator kept in the East Room bathtub by J.Q.Adams, to Andrew Jackson’s parrot who swore at guest this is a fun book filled with interesting anecdotes.

Each of these books geared to fourth through eighth graders offers readers the human side of the occupants of 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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