South Dakota has a special place to celebrate Presidents’ Day–Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills! And one of the four presidents on the giant sculpture has a connection to the Dakotas.
When this president-to-be was a young man, he came to Dakota Territory for a hunting trip and invested in a cattle ranch in what is now western North Dakota. Not long afterwards, both his wife and his mother died, and he moved out to the ranch and became a full-time rancher for several years. He actually had two ranches, and you can see that area now in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.
Although he didn’t live in South Dakota, he does have one more South Dakota connection. He signed the bill creating Wind Cave National Park, also in the Black Hills.
So in honor of Presidents’ Day, I have one more picture book for you. To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by C.F. Payne. (Disney-Hyperion Books, 2013) is a beautiful and very well-done picture book biography.
I’ve long been inspired by Roosevelt’s tenacity, especially as a child when he read voraciously and worked so hard to gain his health. Rappaport covers Roosevelt’s childhood and tells about his love of collecting animals. She tells how his parents even had to warn guests to check for his snakes in their water pitchers! Roosevelt had a way with words, and Rappaport uses many of his quotes to help tell his story.
How did you celebrate Presidents’ Day? Have you ever been to Wind Cave, Mount Rushmore, or the Theodore Roosevelt National Park?
In honor of Presidents’ Day, check out these five picture books about some of our presidents:
John, Paul, George & Ben by Lane Smith (Disney-Hyperion Books, 2006)—very funny look at George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, as well as John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Benjamin Franklin.
Camping With the President by Ginger Wadsworth and illustrated by Karen Dugan (Calkins Creek, 2009)—about a camping trip President Theodore Roosevelt took with John Muir.
Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the True Story of an American Feud by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain and illustrated by Larry Day (Dutton Children’s Books, 2011)—about Jefferson’s and Adam’s friendship and how they worked together to found our nation, and how their differing opinions led them to not talking for many years, and then the renewal of their friendship.
George Washington’s Teeth by Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora and illustrated by Brock Cole (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003)—At the same time Washington was fighting for and building his nation, he also fought a losing battle with his teeth.
Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Layne Johnson (Calkins Creek, 2008)—showcases Washington’s constant farming experiments and innovations at Mount Vernon.