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.
JACKIE AND THE MONA LISA
Written by Debbie Rovin Murphy
Illustrated by Jen Bricking
Published by Sleeping Bear Press (2022)
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.”
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. https://www.newtownbookshop.com/debbie-rovin-murphy-author-page
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 jbricking.com.
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: https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/12184/diy-placemats/
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!