5 Minutes for Books:
From the White House to Your House

In some ways it feels like a large percentage of the population in America is starting to catch on to the fact that we can’t keep eating at McDonald’s and expect to live long and healthy lives. More people are aware of making good food choices and their motivation comes in a thousand forms. Some (like myself) are intrigued by modern day reality shows where severely obese people are being screamed at by thin and fit trainers. (Heh.) Others merely need take a glance at the latest Hollywood images of stick thin (and not very healthy) people.

Then there is the current first lady in the White House who decided to take initiative and replant the White House garden. (You know, right, that she didn’t actually prepare the land herself? But she did take the initiative.) I picked up a copy of A White House Garden Cookbook: Healthy Ideas from the First Family to Your Family at the Book Expo in the Red Rock Press booth. I wasn’t sure what to make of the book from the cover. I’m not generally a fan of the side of politics that is currently being represented in the White House, so I had my fair share of hesitations, but I was curious about the book given the state of our health in America.

I ended up being really surprised by this book and have enjoyed it a lot! First of all, it gives a history of gardens at the White House. (Do you know which president had the first garden planted?) It is also a really cool book in that it provides recipes from past presidential kitchens. Interested in making James Monroe’s White House Gumbo? Thomas Jefferson’s Pea Soup? Or perhaps just the White House recipe for apple pie? I don’t think you can get much more American than that!

A White House Garden Cookbook also includes tips on how to be a healthier eater and includes recipes from community gardens from across America. I found this book to be quite a fascinating and interesting take and think it’s kinda fun to eat local, but to put together recipes that Presidents have eaten. I think this book has a pretty neat concept attached to it.

Now, we can’t really talk about any particular subject around here without involving Sleeping Bear Press in some form or fashion, can we now? For our White House theme of the day, I also picked up a copy of First Dog at the Book Expo, shaking hands with the lovely lady who keeps my family well-supplied with Sleeping Bear Press titles.

This book also has an interesting history all of its own. It was in production before the Obamas announced that they would be adding a canine friend to their family, and it just so happened to work out that the story of Bo Obama could be incorporated into this book at, quite literally, the eleventh hour.

First Dog tells the story of a dog who is looking for a home. He travels all over the world and observes different dogs and various countries and finds out how dogs all over the world are viewed by humans. This book is a great comparison study of how dogs fare and why they make such great friends for people. Of course, at the end of this particular story, this fluffy little dog finds himself in front of a large white house. You can guess at how it ends.

If you’d like to learn more about this particular book, check out the First Dog website.

Now, would you like to win a copy of these two books? Two of you will have the opportunity to win each of these books. In order to win, simply leave a comment below. This contest is (somewhat fitting in this case!) open to U.S. Residents only.

We’ll announce the winners in our July 5 column.

Big thank yous go to Red Rock Press and Sleeping Bear Press for their generosity in offering copies to our readerships here.

The winners of the Klutz Glossy Bands book (that my daughter is still enjoying immensely) are
#2 Mom24@4evermom, #5 Debbie F., #25 Joanne Vanderheite.

Carrie enjoys books, food, and grown-up dogs at a distance. (Puppies, on the other hand, are always welcome up close and personal!) You can find her inside, avoiding gardens but willing to ‘shop local’, over on her own book blog, Reading to Know.


  1. Casey says

    This would be fabulous. My 3 year old liked the segment about fresh veggies by Mrs. Obama on Sesame Street. We have veggie garden too.

  2. says

    I have a side obsession collecting cookbooks. This looks like a good one to have. I would love to read the First Dog to my great granddaughter.

  3. Jen B. says

    I am a newbie vegetarian and have just started getting my vegetables. I’d love to see some recipes from past presidents!

  4. says

    You know, I was feeling that same “iffy” way about the gardening book – but after your description, I agree that it sounds great. I’d love to read it.
    Also, my middle daughter is absolutely nuts about dogs, and I know she would just devour the dog book :)
    Thanks for a fun giveaway!

  5. Agatha says

    I’d love to win the gardening book for my mom who’s an avid gardener and the First Dog book for my son! Thanks for the opportunity!

  6. Kathryn says

    I love using books like First Dog to teach my kindergarteners with ~ a chance to win it would be super! Given my current feelings towards the political climate in our country, I would have passed on the cookbook, but thankfully there are people like you who take the time to look beyond the cover!

  7. From Diapers To Dorms says

    Our foster kiddos would love these books. Thanks for the chance to win them for the kids.

  8. Tomi says

    With farmer’s markets opening everywhere, what a great way to get some fab recipes for all this fresh summer produce.

  9. T.J. says

    I’d love to win these books, though the story of the 1st Dog sounds fictionalized. I’m pretty sure the real First Dog – Bo – never travelled the world before he was adopted by the Obama family. I think he came from a breeder, though he did live with some other family for a brief period.

  10. Jen N says

    I enjoy reading new cookbooks and trying new recipes. This one looks interesting for me and my kids. My daughter would love the First Dog book- how cute!


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