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This week’s perfect picture book features the White House – but no politics! Just an inspiring book “based on a true story.”
Title: Diana’s White House Garden
Written by: Elisa Carbone
Illustrated by: Jen Hill
Viking, 2016, historical fiction
Suitable for ages: 4-9
Themes/topics: White House, WWII, gardens, Victory Gardens
Diane Hopkins lived in a white house. The White House.
She lived there with her father, Harry Hopkins, who was the president’s chief advisor; and the housekeepers and butlers; and George, the groundskeeper; and of course President Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor. It was 1943, and the White House was a busy place.
Brief synopsis: (from barnesandnoble.com)
World War II is in full force across the seas. It’s 1943, President Roosevelt is in office, and Diana’s father, Harry Hopkins, is his chief advisor. And Diana wants to be part of the war effort. After some well-intentioned missteps (her quarantine sign on her father’s office door was not well-received), the President requests her help with his newest plan for the country’s survival: Victory Gardens!
From award-winning author Elisa Carbone comes the true story of how Diana Hopkins started her own Victory Garden on the White House lawn under the tutelage of Eleanor Roosevelt. With dedication and patience, she showed the nation that the war effort started first on the homefront.
Activities and Resources:
Activities from School Library Journal
Kids Help Plant the White House Garden (video) interview by Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. Compare and contrast this White House Garden with the one Diana Hopkins helped plant.
The story presents a kind of “community” within the White House and introduces some of the jobs that must be filled in the White House. What other kinds of jobs exist in the White House today?
What are some efforts in your community that you might join?
Why I like this book:
What better way to learn history than experiencing life in the White House with a child! As the story unfolds the reader learns about the home front efforts during WWII and the situation in the White House. Like everyone else in the country, Diana longs to play a part. Her attempts are humorous until she finally finds the perfect way to help. Diana’s efforts present a great example of how children want to and, given the opportunity, are able to contribute, too. It’s a great story of how we all need to find a role that allows us to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent resources.