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The Presidents: Portraits of History — Review

Thought for the Day:

”There’s a phrase I use called “The Valley Full of Clouds.” Writing a novel is as if you are going off on a journey across a valley. The valley is full of mist, but you can see the top of a tree here and the top of another tree over there. And with any luck you can see the other side of the valley. But you cannot see down into the mist. Nevertheless, you head for the first tree.”
~ Terry Pratchett ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Good dialogue is critical to having a successful book. Ruth Harris has a really helpful post HERE on Anne R. Allen’s blog that has 15 Keys to Writing Great Dialogue.

Morgan St. James has a guest post on Live Write Thrive HERE that will show you How to Breathe Life into Your Characters.

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio has a fun post HERE with 10 1/2 Commandants of Writing.

Last week I offered a copy of Homerooms & Hall Passes by Tim O’Donnell to one of you. Our winner this week is Susan Uhlig. Congratulations, Susan! I will get your book out to you soon. If you don’t know Susan, she is a children’s writer from the northwest. You can find out more about her at her site HERE and read excellent reviews on her blog there.

The Presidents- Portraits of HistoryThis week I want to tell you about a book called The Presidents: Portraits of History by Leah Tinari. This is unlike any middle-grade book I’ve ever reviewed. It was listed as a picture book, but while it might be called that, it is clearly appropriate for middle grade. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review.

Each of our forty-four presidents (Grover Cleveland served two terms, separated by Benjamin Harris’s one term) has a unique story. Our history is fun and interesting, but how can this be conveyed to young people today? This oversized picture book is really designed for middle-graders. Each spread has a large portrait of the president, and on the facing page, there is an interesting fact about him. His portrait is surrounded by a few more interesting facts about the man, including the years he served and what number he is in the pantheon of presidents. In addition, there are a few pages in the back with specific information for all of the presidents — their full name, dates, places of births and deaths, age when they took office, nickname, pets, and what he did before becoming president. This is as much an art book, with the highly stylized portraits and text design by artist Leah Tinari, as it is a history book. Perhaps the hope is that it will engender enough curiosity about these men to encourage young readers to find other sources and learn more about them.

Leah Tinari
Leah Tinari

No giveaway this week. I donated my hardbound copy to the school library. But check back next week. I expect to have a giveaway then. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

26 thoughts on “The Presidents: Portraits of History — Review”

  1. This sounds like an exceptional book for middle-graders and adults! I enjoy learning about presidential history, and this sounds like a perfect choice for an election year. Thank you for sharing this one and the great links and quotes with us for MMGM, Rosi.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful way for students to gleam a picture of each of our presidents. They each are colorful characters and it sounds like their lives will hold a reader’s attention. I think I would enjoy reading this book and looking at their portraits. Have been watching the “Race to the White House” documentaries on CNN Sunday nights, and have learned so much about Rockefeller – Roosevelt, Goldwater – Johnson, Obama-McCain, Grant, Coolidge, Taft and so on. Certainly brings history alive and interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The school library must love you! It’s so nice of you to donate books like this to them (I worked in a school library, before I worked at the bookstore). Especially an unusual picture book like this meant for middle grade readers. And it looks like an art book!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The topic of U.S. Presidents is one that always generates a lot of interest from students and myself. So many interesting stories that bring what could be a boring topic to life. The portrait angle is the perfect way to present each President.
    The Internet was down for a portion of today so I haven’t gotten to your interesting selection of links. I will dive into them tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a great book! The combination of portraits and fun facts makes for a neat spin on a book about presidents! Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an interesting idea for a picture book, but it is probably a really smart idea too. I know not everyone enjoys learning about history and I bet the pictures will really help keep readers engaged – not to mention help show events, concepts, etc. more clearly to a young reader.

    Liked by 1 person

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