Maeve Visser Knoth: 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

So You're Moving to the White House

Letter to the Obama daughters:

Dear Malia and Sasha,

You have a big move ahead of you. In January your dad will start a new job and you and your parents will move to a new house. And what a famous house it is! Over the years other children have lived in that same house and had lots of adventures. Millions of people have taken tours of your new house and many of us fellow Americans consider that our hopes and dreams for our country will live in the White House with you too.

Have you ever moved before? Do you know your way around Washington D.C.? Have you changed schools and made new friends? You might want to get ready for this big change by reading a few of the best children's books written about the White House and your new city, Washington D.C. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out created by the National Children's Book Alliance. There is so much to read and look at in this new collection of stories and reminiscences. This is one book you should put on your Christmas list, since you'll want to have it next to your bed to read again and again. Many different writers have contributed stories and illustrations. This book is a real treasure.

What to Do About Alice? How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! by Barbara Kerley. Alice Roosevelt wasn't much for paying attention to her father's rules. She was a spunky, opinionated young woman and you'll have fun reading about her.

My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington D.C. by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. You'll be meeting lots of senators who work with your father. What do they do all day? Follow Splash around and to get an idea.

March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris. So many important events have taken place just outside your new front door. You'll want to read this beautiful book to learn about one of them.

The Inside Outside Book of Washington D.C.
by Roxie Munro. This is a wordless book that shows some of the most famous buildings in Washington D.C. from both the outside and the inside. You'll definitely want to look through this before and after you take a tour of your new city.

If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House by Jane O'Connor. Did you know that one president and his wife liked to eat dinner while watching "his and hers" television sets? This browsable book is full of cartoons and quirky facts about presidents and their families.

Ghosts of the White House by Cheryl Harness. Don't worry, this is not a scary story. Although since you, Malia, like Harry Potter, you might not mind a little suspense. This is a good overview of the presidents who have lived in the White House before your dad. I think you'll like poring over the details in Harness' illustrations.

A Christmas Tree at the White House by Gary Hines. And if you like that one, try Thanksgiving in the White House by Gary Hines too. Meet Lincoln's son Tad and Teddy Roosevelt's sons as the celebrate holidays with their families.

How the White House Really Works by George Sullivan. This book is a little longer than some of the others on the list, so Sasha might prefer just to browse through the great photographs. Sullivan explains how both the public and private sides of the White House work and his pictures and anecdotes will help you feel right at home.

Mr. Lincoln's Boys: Being the Mostly True Adventures of Abraham Lincoln's Trouble-making Sons, Tad and Willie by Staton Rabin. Wow were the Lincoln boys pranksters! Don't get any ideas, but get to know some of the famous children who lived in your new house before you.

Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis. I read in the newspaper that you are going to get a new dog when you move to Washington. Are you sure you wouldn't rather have a miniature horse or maybe an alligator?

A Visit to Washington D.C. by Jill Krementz. This book has been around longer than you have, but it is still a great way to get to know your new hometown. Krementz' photographs and crisp and beautiful.

Have fun with these books and, of course, your new adventure.