Perfect Picture Book Friday: JACKIE AND THE MONA LISA Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. Today’s featured book is very meaningful to me. It focuses on an event that took place in February of 1962. I had turned fifteen and was caught up in wanting my hair to look just right and my clothes to be so stylish. And who better to model myself after than the attractive young First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy. I remember the television special where she took us on a tour of the White House. JACKIE AND THE MONA LISA is the story of how that tour came to be. The book launched on March 15th and you can order a SIGNED copy here. And thanks to the generous publisher, Sleeping Bear Books, there is also a copy up for grabs as a giveaway – make sure you leave a comment on this post, share on your social media, and tag someone who would definitely enjoy reading this book.


Written by Debbie Rovin Murphy

Illustrated by Jen Bricking

Published by Sleeping Bear Press (2022)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Art appreciation, First Ladies, White House tour

Synopsis: From Amazon
Jackie Kennedy loved the arts. And America loved Jackie Kennedy. The first lady knew she had the country’s attention–what would she do with it? Encourage Americans to appreciate art, of course! She turned the White House into a historical site filled with some of America’s most treasured artifacts and pieces of art. She brought Shakespearean theater to the White House and ballerinas to the South Lawn. And most epically, she brought the Mona Lisa to the states (much to the chagrin of many Parisians) to encourage Americans to visit museums–and it worked! An inspiring story about one of the nation’s most influential first ladies.

Why I love this book:
1. I think it is so important to keep alive the appreciation for the arts and culture – and for children today to see how one person did make a difference.
2. The well-written text puts us right there – and shows us how this very influential First Lady used her influence for the good.
3. The illustrations are fabulous – they take the reader right back to the 60s in such an accurate and authentic way.

And guess what? Author Debbie Rovin Murphy stopped by to share a little bit about how this book came to be. Welcome, Debbie!

DEBBIE:  “Thank you so much for featuring Jackie and the Mona Lisa on your blog!  Writing Jackie was such a fulfilling experience. Part of the fun of writing about history is “the Hunt” for research and interesting anecdotes and facts. I have always been fascinated by historic stories that have “fallen through the cracks.”  I read my weekly email from Smithsonian Institute Magazine looking for interesting articles and I watch shows like CBS Sunday Morning whose shows feature some really fascinating stories for little-known historic events that DESERVE to be known. When I learned that the Mona Lisa had been in the United States, I couldn’t believe it!  But, to also find out how Jackie Kennedy (whom I’ve always admired) was the reason this happened and all the behind-the-scenes work that went on to make it possible, I knew that made for a great story. So many people I’ve talked to about this had never known about this happening and yet it was a huge event when it happened in the 1960s. As a teacher, I love to teach these historical nuggets because I believe kids grow to love history through the “small stories” that then lead them to explore the bigger events of the past.” 

Text by Debbie Rovin Murphy – Art by Jen Bricking

Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Debbie! And now I’m going to share a little bit about you and your wonderful illustrator and how readers can connect with both of you and find out more about your book!

Debbie Rovin Murphy is a children’s book writer, teacher (of more than 25 years), and mother to two grown sons. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Jen Bricking is a children’s book illustrator and a concept artist for video games. She likes to explore the Pacific Northwest and beyond. She lives in Seattle, Washington. Learn more about Jen at


Check out a short part of the tour of the White House with Jackie Kennedy in this clip from YouTube

Jacqueline Kennedy’s restoration of the White House and focus on art created an impressive backdrop for state dinners where leaders from all over the world were entertained. Why not add a little art to your family dinners with these placements created by your children.

Go here to find directions for creating a placemat from your child’s art:

And that about wraps it up for this post. Please make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of JACKIE AND THE MONA LISA. If you share the post on social media (and I hope you do) don’t forget to tag a friend or two who might enjoy this book.

Next post will be on Sunday, March 20th – the first day of Spring – and the announcement of the winners of #50PreciousWords!

30 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: JACKIE AND THE MONA LISA Plus Giveaway

  1. Being born in the 60s, I’m a big fan of the history. I really enjoyed the YouTube clip. I didn’t know the Mona Lisa was shown at the White House, so I’m looking forward to reading Jackie And the Mona Lisa! Thank you, Vivian, for sharing your connection and Debbie for sharing your process and your lovely book! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always admired Jackie Kennedy’s dedication to the arts, especially as I walk into the now-beautiful Grand Central Station, where Jackie led the charge to save and restore. Thank you, Vivian, for this review, activities and author interview. I look forward to reading Debbie Rovin Murphy’s book and enjoying Jen Bricking’s illustrations!


  3. Thanks for sharing. I haven’t read the book yet so I’m not sure this is in it but it’s also interesting to note that Jackie later on in life became a book editor in New York City, for Viking Press, and then at Doubleday. Can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations, Jackie and Jen! The book sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to read it. The Mona Lisa inspired a PB story of mine, so I’m very interested!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post brought back so many memories, Vivian! I am also a child of the 60’s and remember watching the White House Tour. I enjoyed learning this little nugget of history and look forward to reading the book!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I knew Jackie did a lot of restoration of the White House and Grand Central Station, so I’m not surprised about her work with artists. I love that Debbie got the idea for her book from CBS Sunday Morning — which I watch religiously. Jackie Kennedy did so much. Can’t believe the Mona Lisa came to the states. Jackie knew her art and history. Gorgeous book. Enjoyed listening to the video.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post Vivian! I loved Debbie’s comment that – “kids grow to love history through the “small stories” that then lead them to explore the bigger events of the past.” – I’m going to have to find this book. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An interesting nugget, indeed! I had to travel to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, LOL. Good for Jackie Kennedy! I watched the video about the White House dining room, and I was wondering if the inscription above the fireplace had to be covered over during the last administration so as not to horrify the ghost of John Adams.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OMG! Debbie, good for you! My life has revolved around all things Jackie. I was 13 when she came to the White House.We all wanted to look like her! In fact, we wore mantillas on our heads to church–and we weren’t even Catholic! I was glued to the TV for her White House Tour and sadly during the horrible tragedy of losing her husband. I think I’ve read most of the adult version books of her life and that of the Kennedys. In fact I am now reading yet another biography of JFK. My friend and I made a map of all the addresses where Jack and Jackie lived and then we walked the streets of Georgetown to see the homes in person. And there is that beautiful Kennedy Library in Boston! So, I’d love to have a copy of Debbie’s book!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I appreciate Jackie Kennedy’s love of art, and enjoyed the video! Sounds like such a lovely book, and can’t wait to read it. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I loved Jackie! She was such a lady, and had a way with connecting with everyday people. I remember the white house tour – but had forgotten about her love of art. Sounds like a wonderful book.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is such an interesting event that I knew nothing about. Jackie Kennedy was an amazing First Lady. Thank you for sharing this story in a picture book, Debbie and congratulation to both you and Jen. It looks wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love stories about first families and their efforts outside of politics. Our library box would benefit from this addition. Thank you for the reminder with this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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