Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Year of Reading about Presidents

Some of my favorite books of the year have been books about presidents, first ladies/families, the White House, presidential candidates, and American history. In honor of election year, I'd set a goal to read 12 such books between September 2015 and November 2016, and I ended up reading 22. I think I'm really going to miss this challenge next year! I learned so much, and I hardly hit a stinker book among them. I've included covers of all of the books I read below. They're in the order I read them, but my favorites were Five Presidents, The Residence, and Grover Cleveland, Again!. (You'll notice Killing Reagan on the list twice; I read it in late 2015 and then listened to the audio again in 2016 as part of my "re-read a book within a year" challenge.)

You might wonder what I learned in this year-long immersion course of my own making, and I'd have to say I've learned a LOT of presidential and White House trivia, but beyond that, I've gained a better sense of American history, how our country has grown and changed. I've also gained a better grasp on the order of the presidents and more about what various presidents accomplished (or didn't) and for what many were famous (or infamous). My reading spurred me to ask what we can do to get children interested in American and presidential history. I posed this question to Brady Carlson, author of Dead Presidents, and he suggested the most important thing we can do is to show them history. Take them to museums and monuments and presidential libraries. I would have eaten that up as a kid!

Regrets? None in what I chose to read. I regret there aren't more engaging books about American presidents, though. So many of the biographies I've tried have been boring beyond words. And I regret there aren't more books about first ladies. I also regret that I didn't get to more president books this year! I'd love to read a book about Truman (maybe this one, but oh my is it long), and Wilson (perhaps this one) and Hoover (this one just came out this fall).

2016 Presidential Reads



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