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Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home

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Have you ever wondered what exactly goes on inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Sure, the president of the United States works and resides there, but do you know who helps keep this historic house running? It’s no simple task, especially when there are important state events and foreign dignitaries—in addition to presidential pups, mischievous children, and even a couple of gh Have you ever wondered what exactly goes on inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Sure, the president of the United States works and resides there, but do you know who helps keep this historic house running? It’s no simple task, especially when there are important state events and foreign dignitaries—in addition to presidential pups, mischievous children, and even a couple of ghosts. And its Residence workers and first ladies make sure everything is in check and running smoothly.


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Have you ever wondered what exactly goes on inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Sure, the president of the United States works and resides there, but do you know who helps keep this historic house running? It’s no simple task, especially when there are important state events and foreign dignitaries—in addition to presidential pups, mischievous children, and even a couple of gh Have you ever wondered what exactly goes on inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Sure, the president of the United States works and resides there, but do you know who helps keep this historic house running? It’s no simple task, especially when there are important state events and foreign dignitaries—in addition to presidential pups, mischievous children, and even a couple of ghosts. And its Residence workers and first ladies make sure everything is in check and running smoothly.

30 review for Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus The White House certainly captures the imagination in a way that other buildings in the US don't: not only is it central to our government, but it has seen hundreds of years of families and famous people. Not only that, but it employs a huge staff to make all of the activities happen. I remember being riveted by the 1979 mini-series Backstairs at the White House, mainly because some of the staff had been working for so long. This book is an excellent compilation o E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus The White House certainly captures the imagination in a way that other buildings in the US don't: not only is it central to our government, but it has seen hundreds of years of families and famous people. Not only that, but it employs a huge staff to make all of the activities happen. I remember being riveted by the 1979 mini-series Backstairs at the White House, mainly because some of the staff had been working for so long. This book is an excellent compilation of information not only about the building itself, but of the people who make it run, and the families of the presidents who live there. The best part of this book is the entirety of the history it includes. We find out what the building and staffing was like from the very beginning. Did you know that early on, the presidents had to provide their own staff? This meant that if they were slave owners, they brought their slaves! That was something I didn't know about. The different types of jobs necessary for keeping the White House running are described and explained, and the author (who has written several adult books about the White House) interviewed a good selection of people about what it was like to work there. I've seen books that include information about children and pets, as well as ghosts, and this does as well. However, it goes beyond those basics, discussing the Secret Service, first ladies, and how food services work. I don't know about you, but I think that in the interest of saving the country money, there shouldn't be an official pastry chef, and the president should get his baked goods for state dinners from Costco the way everyone else does! I'm also pretty sure that no one needs to fund any more national sets of china-- if the White House needs more dishes, pretty much everyone over the age of 50 has at least one service for 12 that we'd be more than happy to donate! The E ARC I read didn't have all of the pictures and maps that will appear in the final version, but there were a few. I loved seeing the vice presidential house, which I had never heard about! My favorite part of this was actually some of the anecdotes about the families in the White House, and how the Bush girls reached out to the Obama girls, or how first ladies kept in contact with each other. There were also a lot of random fun facts that avid presidential buffs will want to file away. There's not a lot of interest in the White House in my library, but I'm half tempted to get this book to go along with my favorite primary source... A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy by Perry Wolff (1962).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Freeman

    Due to be published this Fall/election year, this fun and informative book would be perfect for young history buffs. Middle readers will learn the history of the White House through the lens of the people who lived and worked there over the years. Readers will learn as much about the spouses and children of the presidents as about the men (so far) themselves. The best stories, and they aren't gossipy at all, come from the hundreds of interviews Brower had with current and former White House staf Due to be published this Fall/election year, this fun and informative book would be perfect for young history buffs. Middle readers will learn the history of the White House through the lens of the people who lived and worked there over the years. Readers will learn as much about the spouses and children of the presidents as about the men (so far) themselves. The best stories, and they aren't gossipy at all, come from the hundreds of interviews Brower had with current and former White House staff - many of whom worked there for decades. They are amazingly non-partisan in their approach to the job and are dedicated to the families and the institution they serve. Kids, and adults, will enjoy this exploration - and it will likely spur some kids on to reading some biographies of some American presidents.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jonah Garner

    Great book about what goes on inside the white house!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Frances Bland

    I got this as an ARC from Harper Collins. I loved it! I can’t wait to share the information with my nieces and nephews. It almost made me want to run for president, just so I can live in the White House with all of these wonderful people and all of the history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Celestemcolon

    I requested a review copy of this book from NetGalley because I have a child very interested in presidents. He at one time knew all of them in order of serving, and owns most every book for children written about them. This book will be one to add to his shelf. It's full of interesting facts beyond the normal dates and wives. I would love to give this to him before we take a trip to visit Washington D.C. in the coming years. This book is wonderful for those readers who enjoy more facts based vs I requested a review copy of this book from NetGalley because I have a child very interested in presidents. He at one time knew all of them in order of serving, and owns most every book for children written about them. This book will be one to add to his shelf. It's full of interesting facts beyond the normal dates and wives. I would love to give this to him before we take a trip to visit Washington D.C. in the coming years. This book is wonderful for those readers who enjoy more facts based vs novel based reading. Fun Fact and Did You Know headings for each chapter which is another "love language" for my reader - he will spit these facts back to anyone listening! Only thing I wish was different was including color photos when able, as the proof copy was B&W or missing the images.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Although non-fiction, this reads like a story. There are plenty of fun facts, interesting photographs, and trivia interspersed throughout the text. The writing style will keep students engaged and interested. There are brief glimpses into the everyday life of the presidents and their families that make reading about them more personal. The subtitles within the chapters make the book easy to put down and pick up - which will make it accessible to even the most reluctant readers. DRC from Edelweiss Although non-fiction, this reads like a story. There are plenty of fun facts, interesting photographs, and trivia interspersed throughout the text. The writing style will keep students engaged and interested. There are brief glimpses into the everyday life of the presidents and their families that make reading about them more personal. The subtitles within the chapters make the book easy to put down and pick up - which will make it accessible to even the most reluctant readers. DRC from Edelweiss and Quill Tree books

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    Having read Brower's The Residence, this wasn't filled with new information (though there are inclusions from the Trump administration since that publication). That said, that's okay! This is more geared toward a middle grade or young adult audience. It reads as narrative nonfiction and is filled with information about the White House itself and the people who have lived there. It is carefully non-partisan and is much more about those involved in the residence that is the White House as people t Having read Brower's The Residence, this wasn't filled with new information (though there are inclusions from the Trump administration since that publication). That said, that's okay! This is more geared toward a middle grade or young adult audience. It reads as narrative nonfiction and is filled with information about the White House itself and the people who have lived there. It is carefully non-partisan and is much more about those involved in the residence that is the White House as people than it is about anything political. LBJ does come out of this looking like a demanding jerk, particularly when compared to stories about others who lived in the White House, though that isn't political. The behind-the-scenes running-of-the-house information is my personal favorite and is exactly the kind of stuff I would have been interested in when I was part of the target audience for this title. Details about grocery shopping and flowers and who takes care of the dogs are really fun. This is a good addition to a middle grade library, particularly one interested in including social studies titles. ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I love the White House and was very excited about this book. This book is for older children that may be fascinated with the White House and First Families. It gives you an inside look at the White House and those who live and work there. I can't get past the 35 bathrooms! I can't help but think of all the history inside those walls. The history events it has witnessed and the people that have walked the halls. You will learn that the Lincoln Bedroom was not actually his bedroom but his office. I love the White House and was very excited about this book. This book is for older children that may be fascinated with the White House and First Families. It gives you an inside look at the White House and those who live and work there. I can't get past the 35 bathrooms! I can't help but think of all the history inside those walls. The history events it has witnessed and the people that have walked the halls. You will learn that the Lincoln Bedroom was not actually his bedroom but his office. The office where he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. I love all the fun facts that are included within the chapters. There is a listing and description of the different jobs within the White House. From the Chief Usher to Chief Florist. You will see throughout this book the importance of the White House and the families that live there and the people that work there. Plan a trip to tour the White House soon

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    With thanks to NetGalley and Quill Tree Books for an early copy in return for an honest review. This book is perfect for those who love history and non-fiction...so many great facts and trivia in the book! I liked the layout of the book with each chapter looking at a different aspect of life in the White House, rather than each chapter looking at a different family. As for the intended audience, although this is targeted for Middle Grade readers I actually think adults would enjoy the book (I did! With thanks to NetGalley and Quill Tree Books for an early copy in return for an honest review. This book is perfect for those who love history and non-fiction...so many great facts and trivia in the book! I liked the layout of the book with each chapter looking at a different aspect of life in the White House, rather than each chapter looking at a different family. As for the intended audience, although this is targeted for Middle Grade readers I actually think adults would enjoy the book (I did!). Additionally, some of the book might be a bit over an 8- or 9-year old's comprehension. I checked with my students (who are 9) about some of the vocabulary and language and it was tricky. So for the younger middle grade set I would suggest the book is best for kids really into history/non-fiction. But for older middle grades, teens and adults this book is great. Would give the book 3.5 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I expected this book geared more towards early elementary students but the target audience is for older students. The book is interesting from a historical viewpoint but feel most students will never pick it up unless a teacher makes it required reading. I liked the secret service code names and some will find the section on White House pets enjoyable overall I believe they won’t be interested enough to read the book in its entirety. I received an advanced reader copy for free from NetGalley and I expected this book geared more towards early elementary students but the target audience is for older students. The book is interesting from a historical viewpoint but feel most students will never pick it up unless a teacher makes it required reading. I liked the secret service code names and some will find the section on White House pets enjoyable overall I believe they won’t be interested enough to read the book in its entirety. I received an advanced reader copy for free from NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving my review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle "Champ"

    This book was almost like an x-ray into the making, daily operations, and layout of The White House. I loved the little tidbits that were inserted to give you some backstories on various parts of the home as well as The Oval Office. What I found fascinating was the section on all the jobs that have to be filled in order to make The White House work on every level. This is a very well researched and is a beautifully presented book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Megan Schmelzer

    Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home is a book that I think my students would enjoy. It offers a true inside glance at the inner workings of what happens day-to-day inside the White House. I loved the features of the different jobs and people that are contributing to our country. They are the behind-the-scenes individuals that allow our most famous landmark to operate at such a high-rate. I look forward to adding this nonfiction book to my classroom library someday! Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home is a book that I think my students would enjoy. It offers a true inside glance at the inner workings of what happens day-to-day inside the White House. I loved the features of the different jobs and people that are contributing to our country. They are the behind-the-scenes individuals that allow our most famous landmark to operate at such a high-rate. I look forward to adding this nonfiction book to my classroom library someday!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Some kids like to read fiction, while other children prefer books filled with facts and interesting trivia. Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home is PERFECT for little fact-lovers who enjoy poring over books to learn new things. I especially loved the inclusion of photographs of White House staff and family members to bring the interesting stories to life! (I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.) Some kids like to read fiction, while other children prefer books filled with facts and interesting trivia. Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home is PERFECT for little fact-lovers who enjoy poring over books to learn new things. I especially loved the inclusion of photographs of White House staff and family members to bring the interesting stories to life! (I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I won this book from Goodreads! I was so hapy! I saw it's written for older children and it is done in an excellent way! It has history, facts, fun facts, clear and easy to read but filled with new information and it's exactly what a 12 yo want to read/know about the White House. I loved the book. After I read it I gave it to my child who immediately read some of it and loved how the information is presented. Cuddo Kate! I won this book from Goodreads! I was so hapy! I saw it's written for older children and it is done in an excellent way! It has history, facts, fun facts, clear and easy to read but filled with new information and it's exactly what a 12 yo want to read/know about the White House. I loved the book. After I read it I gave it to my child who immediately read some of it and loved how the information is presented. Cuddo Kate!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I really enjoyed reading this title. I found it to be informative and felt like a walk down memory lane reading about the past families that lived in the White House. This is a great read for adults and children, great chapters on the history of the house and the people who have worked there. Chapters 6 and 7 were my favorite I learned a lot about the expense of living at the most famous address in the world.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home is a nonfiction book for older students. It will be popular with my history buff students who find most elementary nonfiction books not detailed enough. I enjoyed this book as an adult. It was filled with interesting anecdotes and interviews with White House staff. The author does a good job of keeping it nonpartisan. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home is a nonfiction book for older students. It will be popular with my history buff students who find most elementary nonfiction books not detailed enough. I enjoyed this book as an adult. It was filled with interesting anecdotes and interviews with White House staff. The author does a good job of keeping it nonpartisan. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kori

    I enjoyed this book! It is targeted to 8-12 year olds, but I learned lots of fun facts about life in the White House. It was a quick read (for an adult) and I am now going to pass it on to my 11-year old. There were chapters about the secret service, first ladies, children, pets and even ghosts. The book also delved into the race and the early history.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    This was such a well-written book geared towards younger readers about what it takes to keep the White House running smoothly day to day. The author did a great job of keeping the information on an understandable level for younger readers and provided a lot of interesting tidbits. I will be recommending that our school library purchase this title.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Mixon

    I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to read this book to see if it would be good for my students. It was that and more. The author wrote in a style that invites the reader to engage in this book all the way through. This was enjoyable for me and I know my students will enjoy it as well. I will seek more books by this author.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

    This is marked and priced as a juvenile book but it is informative and entertaining enough for oldsters like me. I have read almost all of Kate Andersen Brower's books and hope I'm around for more. She makes both the Presidential families and the White House staff interesting and approachable. This is marked and priced as a juvenile book but it is informative and entertaining enough for oldsters like me. I have read almost all of Kate Andersen Brower's books and hope I'm around for more. She makes both the Presidential families and the White House staff interesting and approachable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    This books gives a very detailed description of the White House and its workings. While geared towards lower elementary students it is quite wordy and I feel that it may suit middle school more. It may be a little infantile for middle school at the same time. Depends on the child!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karyn

    Having read her two previous books, I was excited for this. It is however, the information from her two previous books adapted for children. Great idea, but since it wasn’t anything new I didn’t finish it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Great introduction of life in the White House for kids. I read Brower's book The Residence and this seems to take what she learned from writing that book and adapted it to the younger crowd. I read it to see if it was appropriate for my grandkids agewise. I read it in an evening and I learned a few things. Great introduction of life in the White House for kids. I read Brower's book The Residence and this seems to take what she learned from writing that book and adapted it to the younger crowd. I read it to see if it was appropriate for my grandkids agewise. I read it in an evening and I learned a few things.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lena Abu Hanna

    Though much of the read is enjoyable, a story about Dolley Madison is repeated, and Jackie Kennedy receives more coverage than other first ladies.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    This was a fun book and very informative. I love to read behind the scenes books.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa D

    What a fascinating book! Loved it!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Before reading this book, I was already a fan of Kate Andersen Brower. She has written some great behind the scenes books of Washington DC and its famous inhabitants. I was excited before even opening this book that Brower had put together this more young adult level book about the many jobs and people who keep the White House running - most excited to read it and purchase it for my niece who has an obsession about past Presidents!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  30. 5 out of 5

    aminah khairiyah

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