All summer I’ll be sharing books for kids of all ages on topics that will interest them or offer them a new topic to learn about. Most of the time these will be nonfiction books, but sometimes we can learn how to be better people or learn empathy from fictional stories too.
So, I hope you will stay tuned to these posts. They will always have Summer Read-to-Learn in the title and in the tags. It’s so important to prevent that summer slide with our kids, so I hope you can use these books to keep them reading and learning all summer long. See all the posts, HERE.
JACKIE AND THE MONA LISA
By: Debbie Rovin Murphy
Illustrated by: Jen Bricking
Published: March 15, 2022
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was a staunch supporter of the arts. She loved poetry, dance, music, and art. After becoming the First Lady in 1961, she used her influence to make some changes. She noticed that everyone seemed to want to be like her, look like her, and enjoy what she enjoyed. Since she knew she had the people’s attention, she wanted to influence them by first making the White House more interesting. She wanted to make it “a living museum” so that when people visited, they could also learn about our nation’s history. She filled the White House with art and historical treasures.
Jackie didn’t stop there, she also brought artists to the White House including actors, dancers, and musicians. Jackie also wanted to encourage Americans to visit museums, so she had a plan to bring the world’s most famous painting, The Mona Lisa, to the White House. She first had to convince the French President and then the man in charge of France’s art treasures. They agreed, but the French people were not happy. After a few hiccups, The Mona Lisa eventually arrived in America, and Jackie threw a party that was even broadcasted on television for all Americans to see. Eventually, half a million people came to see The Mona Lisa which was exactly what Jackie had hoped. When The Mona Lisa moved to the MET in New York, one million people came to see her. Even after The Mona Lisa left America, people kept going to museums which was exactly Jackie’s plan.
Even though many people remember Jackie for her style, grace, and fashion, she preferred to be known for her accomplishments including sharing her love of art with Americans. The end of the book shares a short biography of Jackie as well as more information about The Mona Lisa and her journey to America.
In this book, kids will learn about the importance of following their passions and not being afraid to try something different. The illustrations in the story are particularly accurate and you can tell both the author and illustrator did their research recreating scenes, clothing, and historical occasions with beauty and accuracy.
Just last week, I visited Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis’ grave in Arlington Cemetery. There is a beautiful view of the Arlington House on the back side and a view of Washington, DC on the front side. If you have a chance to visit, make sure you stop by and pay your respects to an amazing woman and her husband, President John F Kennedy, near the eternal flame.
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 her website, HERE.