This photo from the Library of Congress shows the delivery of two turkeys to President Herbert Hoover in 1929. According to White House History, the tradition of sending a Thanksgiving turkey to the President goes back many years. John F. Kennedy with the first President to pardon a turkey. A pardon means showing leniency, in other words, he didn't eat it! Pardoning the turkey eventually became an annual event for every President. You might wonder what happened to all those pardoned turkeys? I found out they have gone to several different places including George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Disney World!
There have been a lot of Presidents, more than 40, so there are a lot of oddball traditions and just plain funny stories about their quirky habits. There are even more stories about their pet projects and special accomplishments. Check out some of these books and get to know the behind the scenes stories that probably won't make it on your social studies test!
The Camping Trip That Changed America is the story of an important outdoor adventure when naturalist John Muir took President Theodore Roosevelt camping. Roosevelt was so ready to get lost in the woods he ordered all of his aids away. The two men hiked and camped alone in the redwoods of Yosemite. Muir talked about the geology and the animals and the things he felt endangered them. President Roosevelt watched and listened. When he returned to Washington, he got to work and established the U.S. Forest Service. Their spokesperson is someone you might know – Smokey the Bear!
Did you know there has been only one Presidents of the United States from Indiana? Benjamin Harrison. He was the 23rd President and served from 1889 to 1893. You can tour his home in Indianapolis. The home's website has a really great photo gallery. In Old Whiskers Escapes you can read about how Benjamin Harrison once sprinted down Pennsylvania Avenue (that's the street in front of the White House) after a goat. Sometimes, even the President can't get everyone to cooperate!
Unique often equals funny! All the astonishing accomplishments and silly details fit to print about which President sang with his pet parrot, which one took dancing lessons, which one got a speeding ticket on a horse, which one got stuck in a bathtub, and which one ran down Pennsylvania Avenue (the street in front of the White House) chasing after a goat! Hint: the goat one is the President from Indiana! #indyplkids
The fascinating story of the Borglum family and their hair brained idea to carve the faces of four presidents into the side of mountain, using dynamite no less, that turned that mountain into one of American's iconic tourist stops - Mt. Rushmore.
Unlike the King Bidgood story when the King WON'T get out of the bath, here is the story of President William Howard Taft who COULDN'T get out of the bath!
This is an angle you have maybe never thought of - what were the Presidents like as children? What were their hobbies? What got them into trouble? All grown-ups were 10 once, even Presidents.
The Camping Trip That Changed America is the story of a very important adventure in the great outdoors. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt asked naturalist John Muir to take him camping. Roosevelt was so ready to get lost in the woods he ordered all of his aids away. The two men hiked and camped alone in the redwoods of Yosemite. Muir talked about the geology and the animals and the things he felt endangered them. President Roosevelt watched and listened. When he returned to Washington, President Roosevelt got to work.
In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt established the U.S. Forest Service. Their spokesperson is someone you might know – Smokey the Bear! The books listed below will feature more unique and interesting stories about our presidents, their families and their time in office.
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White House Winners - Provides facts and trivia about the United States presidents, including George Washington's false teeth, James Madison's love of ice cream, Franklin D. Roosevelt's stamp collection, and Lyndon B. Johnson's amphibious car.
Weird But True US Presidents - What's so weird about U.S. presidents? Plenty! Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a great wrestler? That Ulysses S. Grant got a speeding ticket riding his horse--twice! Or that Benjamin Harrison was afraid of electricity? And let's not forget that President McKinley had a pet parrot that whistled 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' duets with him! In this new single-subject Weird But True book, you'll have a blast learning that there's a lot of substance--and weirdness--in every president's past.
Hanging off Jefferson's Nose: Growing up on Mount Rushmore - Lincoln Borglum was a young boy when his father, the great sculptor Gutzon Borglum, suggested to a group of South Dakota businessmen that he should carve the faces of four presidents into a side of a mountain as an attraction for tourists. But Mount Rushmore would never be finished by Gutzon. It would be his son who would complete the fourteen-year task and present America with one of its most iconic symbols.
What to do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove her Father Teddy Crazy! - A brief biography in pictures and simple text of Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt and his first wife.
Hot Dog!: Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic - In June of 1939, British monarchs King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit America, the first visit ever by reigning British royalty. As part of the festivities, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt hosts an all-American picnic that includes hot dogs, a menu item that shocked some people!
What's the Big Deal about First Ladies? - Discusses what made each first lady unique and describes their role, ambitions, and partnerships with their presidential husbands.
Did President Grant Really Get a Ticket for Speeding in a Horse-drawn Carriage? - Discusses facts and myths about American presidents, including if Washington cut down a cherry tree, if Lincoln walked twenty miles to school, and if Taft weighed more than an elephant.
White House Kids: the Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pratfalls of the Presidents' Children - Shares the experiences of growing up in the White House, discusses the good and the bad, and profiles the children that have lived there.
The First Pup: the Real Story of How Bo Got to the White House - Once upon a time, a man named Barack Obama ran for president of the United States. On the night of his victory, he made a very important announcement...his daughters would get a puppy!
Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America - A biography of Lady Bird Johnson who, as the wife of President Lyndon Johnson, reminded citizens about the importance of conserving natural resources and promoted the beautification of cities and highways by planting wildflowers.
First Kids: the True Stories of all the Presidents' Children - First Kids are, and were, kids like any other, they just lived with parents who happened to be busy running the free world. This book will highlight all of the 43 president's children leading into their adulthood.
Presidential Misadventures: Poems that Poke Fun at the Man in Charge - A rollicking collection of presidential poems shares lively facts about the misbehaviors of America's commanders-in-chief.
Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America's Presidents - Presents twenty stories featuring the United States presidents when they were children, including William Taft's dance lessons, Lyndon Johnson's classroom pranks, and Gerald Ford's struggles with dyslexia.
First Mothers - Profiles of the American presidents' mothers reveal their achievements while sharing anecdotes and childhood stories, from Thomas Jefferson's mother's solo management of a plantation to Abraham Lincoln's mother's stint as a wrestler.
The President's Stuck in the Bathtub : Poems about the Presidents - A playful, poetic celebration of lesser-known presidential events and eccentricities reveals such examples as John Quincy Adams' skinny-dipping forays in the Potomac and Herbert Hoover's Chinese-language conversations with his wife, in a volume complemented by footnotes and an additional "Presidential Notes and Quotes" section. 10,000 first printing. Jr Lib Guild Premier.
Rutherford B., Who Was He?: Poems about Our Presidents - Innovative rhymes about America's 19th president while placing his achievements within the context of his time, incorporating short biographical details and presidential quotes.