The Great White House Breakout by Helen Thomas and Chip Bok
May 12, 2011 in Bok Chip, Books With Social Studies Content, Creative Writing activities, Elementary Educators, Making Personal Connections, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Research Ideas, Shared Writing, Writing Skills Tags: Chip Bok, picture books about politics, picture books about the president, picture books for social studies
*Picture book, fiction for preschoolers through 2nd graders (although there’s something for older kids, too)
*Young boy as main character
*Rating: The Great White House Breakout is a clever book with wonderful illustrations and a storyline to get kids and adults talking about the President of the U.S.–in a good way!
Short, short summary: Sam lives at the White House with his mom, the President and his dad, the First Guy. His cat, Warren, and a rat, Leonard, live there, too. It’s hard to have fun because Sam and his friends have to stay inside and the Secret Service are always there. So, Sam, Leonard, and Warren design an escape plan and discover the adventures of Washington, D.C. Of course, now the president’s son is missing, so people are looking for him. And of course, Sam starts to miss his mom, too. A heartwarming and fun book with lots of Washington D.C. scenery.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Write a letter to the current president at the White House. You will get a letter back and maybe even some goodies–such as a picture of the first pet–to go along with it. In the letter, ask students or your child to tell about this book you read and encourage them to ask questions about being the president or the White House. They can also learn the most famous address in the United States by addressing their own envelopes.
2. Study what there is to do in Washington, D.C. Use The Great White House Breakout as a starting point and then ask students to do some of their own research. Students can work together in pairs to make a Washington, D.C. tourist brochure or even a “Plan for Sam, Leonard, and Warren.”
3. Ask students to imagine they live in the White House and write (or draw pictures if that’s more age appropriate) about their activities. They can be as creative as Sam or just realistically tell what they would like to do!