Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 15, 2008

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out came out from Candlewick Press this month and has been garnering great reviews, including ones with pretty stars from School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and the Horn Book. Also just out is a companion website where readers can learn more about the White House and the country, as well as a bit of background on contributors. You can read mine, which tells some of how I came to love writing about history at: http://www.ourwhitehouse.org/contribbios/atkins.html

I had fun researching Woodrow and Edith Wilson for my piece in this book. Woodrow Wilson, like most presidents, okay, like all of us, had his flaws, but there’s also much to admire. His career went from teaching at Princeton to being governor to being president. I liked writing about an era when it was considered a good thing to call a leader of our country “professorial.” I like my presidents to be smart. Since a few hundred years are covered, none of the contributors had much space, so I could only suggest some of the reasons why Edith was called the first woman president. These were interesting times.

When I agreed to write the essay, I didn’t know who would illustrate it. Not too long before the book was ready to go to press, I got a package with a copy of a gorgeous painting done by Jerry Pinkney. Wow.
http://www.ourwhitehouse.org/contribbios/pinkney.html I loved the way he showed Woodrow Wilson’s sensitive side in his portrait, with his wife Edith standing beside and over him as she did through most of his last years.

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Responses

  1. Can’t wait to get a chance to read this. Woodrow does NOT come off well in the books I’ve read about the women’s movement and the march on Washington. 🙂 I’ll be curious to find out about Edith. Congratulations on the release!

  2. Yeah, Wilson was pretty good on foreign policy, and pretty bad on the domestic front. While he relied on his wife’s intelligence, he tried to ignore the women picketing at the White House gates, and didn’t do much to help African Americans, I’m sorry to say.

  3. Hooray!!!
    I can’t wait to get this one for E.
    🙂

  4. Wow! I’m so excited! I’d heard about this book and put my name on the reserve list at the library (I’m about 28th on the list), never realizing you had an essay in it. Now, of course, I must purchase it :). I can hardly wait to read what you have to say about WW, and see Jerry Pinkney’s art. So far, I haven’t read anything about the food he liked . . .

  5. Thanks, Jo. You’ll love seeing Peg’s piece there!

  6. Thanks, Jama! It is a gorgeous book, fun to dip in and out. But really.. it does need more recipes!
    (You will notice that I do get food into the first paragraph about WW.)

  7. Yay you! I can’t wait to buy a copy!!

  8. Thanks, Kim. I’m lucky to have a short piece in this gorgeous book.
    Hope your classes are going well!

  9. p.s. loved your birthday poem for Laura. I so wanted to plagiarize, but managed to come up with fifteen words of my own.

  10. VERY cool, Jeannine!

  11. Thanks, Jill. It’s a beautiful book as Candlewick makes them: shiny but substantial paper, with a wild variety of artists and writers.


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