The best books on first ladies

2 authors have picked their favorite books about First Ladies of the USA and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of First Ladies Fact Book: The Childhoods, Courtships, Marriages, Campaigns, Accomplishments, and Legacies of Every First Lady

First Ladies Fact Book: The Childhoods, Courtships, Marriages, Campaigns, Accomplishments, and Legacies of Every First Lady

By Bill Harris, Laura Ross,

Why this book?

This is a great resource if you’re just wanting to brush up on your First Ladies trivia or if you’re needing a starting point in your research. It contains photos, quotes, and delicious details. Although it’s more of a book for grown-ups, it can be used to explore First Ladies further with your child after reading a picture book.

From the list:

The best children’s books about fabulous First Ladies

Book cover of Swedish Tango: A Novel

Swedish Tango: A Novel

By Alyson Richman,

Why this book?

The former movie star “was now in a country where no one even knew his name.” The cry of every refugee, the eerie sense of being transparent, dispensable, irrelevant emerges powerfully from Alyson Richman’s intricately plotted and touching narrative: a fictional tale of World War Two refugees from Finland and France and asylum-seekers from Pinochet’s Chile whose new lives cross in Sweden.
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Book cover of Becoming

Becoming

By Michelle Obama,

Why this book?

I grew up in Washington, DC with a front row view of politics. As a child and adult, I went to the East and West Wings of the White House many times as a personal guest of the people who lived and worked there. However, Michelle Obama’s book was the first time I understood what it truly feels like to live in the White House and to be the most powerful, most scrutinized “trailing spouse” ever. As I read her words, I felt like I knew her – a brilliant, grounded businesswoman, wife, and mother with an unexpected and extraordinary…

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The best books to make you love being a woman

Book cover of Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers

Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers

By Michelle Obama,

Why this book?

I greatly admire Michelle Obama and thought I knew her story. I didn’t. In this version of her memoir Becoming, adapted for young readers and full of engaging photos, she shares how her father’s multiple sclerosis marked her life: she was a young child when he first needed a cane, a freshman in college when he needed two, and a young professional in love with a man named Barack Obama when her father died. Though he never wanted his multiple sclerosis to limit his children’s lives—and it didn’t—her father’s illness may also explain Michelle Obama’s remarkable strength in the…

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Book cover of The Younger Wife

The Younger Wife

By Sally Hepworth,

Why this book?

When Stephen announces he’s getting remarried, his adult daughters aren’t happy with the news. His fiancé is too young, she’s a gold digger, and let’s not forget the fact he's still legally married to their mother, his first wife, now in a care facility for dementia. But Stephen doesn’t see it as a problem; he’s already initiated the divorce. Sally Hepworth is a genius at developing compelling, well-rounded characters, ones with real secrets and problems you root for them to solve. And marriages don’t get much more messed up than this one.

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Book cover of Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters

Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters

By Justin G. Turner, Linda Levitt Turner, Mary Todd Lincoln

Why this book?

Without talking to someone in person, the next best thing we can do is to read his or her letters. This volume collects over 600 written by Mary Lincoln, spanning the time from her days as a marriageable young belle in the raw frontier capital of Springfield, Illinois, to her lonely final years, when she was plagued by grief and ill-health. We see Mary at her most imperious, her most vulnerable, her most charming—and always, at her most human. To me, one letter epitomizes Mary: that to a milliner in which Mary, all but prostrate from the recent death of…
From the list:

The best nonfiction about First Lady Mary Lincoln

Book cover of Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment

By Parker Curry, Jessica Curry, Brittany Jackson (illustrator)

Why this book?

This picture book truly shows the importance of art and how it can empower kids when they see themselves in art. This is one reason why I like writing picture books! Art can speak volumes when the viewer connects, and this story of an African American child named Parker seeing Michele Obama as a queen in her portrait is so beautiful in many ways. You’ll be inspired to bring your child to an art museum.

From the list:

The best children’s books about fabulous First Ladies

Book cover of The Sackett Brand: The Sacketts

The Sackett Brand: The Sacketts

By Louis L'Amour,

Why this book?

Louis L'Amour mastered the art of the adventure story. A story where we root for the hero to succeed and live their exuberance with them when they do. In 1965, he published The Sacket Brand, a western about a man and his new bride traveling to their first home together. Ambushed, badly injured, hungry, cold, and desperate, we live his experience of being hunted by enemies while uncovering the mystery of why it's all happening.

When he finally discovers the truth, we cheer as he, in turn, forces his enemies to run from him. Honor, integrity, stubborn principle. Persistence…

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The best books about clever heroes risking everything to protect others

Book cover of First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies

First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies

By Kate Andersen Brower,

Why this book?

The First Lady of the United States is a challenging role that has been navigated by an incredibly wide array of women over the years. Brower has interviewed many of them, and the insights she gives readers into their day-to-day lives—at turns uplifting and heartbreaking—make for an incredibly relatable and inspiring book. This is as behind-the-White House-scenes as you can get. From Jaqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama, Brower offers an incredibly intimate look at this often misunderstood role in American politics.

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Book cover of Pretend I'm Not Here: How I Worked with Three Newspaper Icons, One Powerful First Lady, and Still Managed to Dig Myself Out of the Washington Swamp

Pretend I'm Not Here: How I Worked with Three Newspaper Icons, One Powerful First Lady, and Still Managed to Dig Myself Out of the Washington Swamp

By Barbara Feinman Todd,

Why this book?

Barbara Feinman Todd is a top-level Washington ghostwriter and journalist. In this memoir, she gives a shocking, and entertaining insight into her relationships with clients such as Hillary Clinton, as well as explaining the dynamics of political journalism at the very highest level. When she accidentally confides one of Hillary’s secrets to an editor, whose discretion she thought she could trust, her professional world is blown apart.

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