by Maria Salvadore and Reneé Critcher Lyons

Following is a select list of fiction and nonfiction books, as well as online resources, for children and young adults about the White House and its many residents, young and old. Click a category to jump ahead or just scroll down to review the titles in each one.

Books About the White House
Websites About the White House
Websites About Other Presidential Residences
Nonfiction Books About White House Residents
Fiction Books About White House Residents

Books About the White House

Building the White House by Benjamin Proudfit (Garrett Stevens, 2015)
Ages 7-10, Grades 2-4

Focused on fun, as well as history, this book details the 200-year history surrounding the construction and maintenance of the White House.

A Kid’s Guide to the White House by Betty Debman (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1997)
Ages 9-12, grades 4-7

This informal guide to the White House opens with its construction and includes a tour of its public spaces, as well as information about some of its residents (and their pets) current to the year of publication.

A Kid’s Guide to Washington, D.C. (Harcourt, 2008 revision)
Ages 9-12, grades 4-7

Learn more about Washington, D.C., and its many sights, from the White House to its presidential monuments. This lively guide is full of games and trivia sure to engage, whether or not the visit is in person.

Madeline at the White House by John Bemelmans Marciano, (Viking, 2011)
Ages 3-7, Grades Pre-K-2

Written and illustrated by Madeline creator Bemelman’s grandson. In this book, conceptualized by Bemelman himself, Madeline visits Candle, the lonely daughter of the president of the United States.

The President’s House: 1800 to the Present, The Secrets and History of the World’s Most Famous Home by Margaret Truman (Ballantine, 2005 ed.)
Ages 15 to adult, high school +

Novelist and First Daughter, Truman invites readers into the White House by revealing its history in stories filled with both drama and humor. Color- and black-and-white photographs seal the invitation.

The Story of the White House by Kate Waters (Scholastic, 1994)
Ages 5-8, grades K-3

An easy-to-read introduction to the White House and its history, generously illustrated with photographs and historical engravings.

The White House: An Illustrated History by Catherine O. Grace (Scholastic, 2003)
Ages 10-14, grades 4-9

Created in conjunction with the White House Historical Society; contemporary and historical photographs chronicle the history and various functions of the presidential mansion.

The White House by Leonard Everett Fisher (Holiday House, 1989)
Ages 11-13, grades 5-8

Black-and-white photographs of many of its residents as well as various architectural plans bring the official presidential mansion to life. Careful research and use of primary source material allows this to remain useful despite ending with Reagan’s term.

The White House for Kids: A History of a Home, Office, and National Symbol, with 21 Activities  by Katherine L. House (Chicago Review Press, 2014)
Ages 9 and up, Grades 4 and up

Providing narrative on the history and legacy of the White House, this book also delves into both well-known and little-known stories of the very human personalities who have lived therein.

Websites About the White House
The official website for the White House, this rich resource includes information about Presidential activities, biographical information about the presidents and their families, recent events, and much more.
Even if you can’t visit Washington, D.C. to see the White House, you can make a virtual visit through this website sponsored by the White House Historical Association, which was founder by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. This site provides information on the architecture, furnishings, arts, gardens, and residents of the White House.
For those who do come to Washington, D.C., the National Park Service has maps and a brief history of the President’s Park.
Mr. Lincoln’s White House—his difficult life and times before and during the Civil War.

American Presidents: Life Portraits Website
This website was developed by C-Span to complement a television series. Find information about each U.S. President, where they lived, and additional material here on

Websites About Other Presidential Residences

George Washington
Meet George Washington and his family; and learn about his estate on the Potomac River.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams
The National Park Service maintains this website devoted to the home place of both John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Peacefield.

Thomas Jefferson
Mr. Jefferson’s Virginia residence is presented in an interactive website, featuring the “Monticello Classroom.”

James Madison
Visit this website devoted to James and Dolly Madison’s home, Montpelier, situate in Charlottesville, Virginia, to learn more about the residency of the architect of the Bill of Rights.

James Monroe
This website advances the preservation and perpetuation of James Monroe’s residency, Highland, sharing this president’s legacy with the 21st century.

Abraham Lincoln
The National Park Service maintains Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield home. Take a virtual tour.

Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson’s home in Washington, D.C., in a section called Kalorama, where he lived the last three years of his life, can be visited in person or online.

Field Trip Guide: Presidential Birthplaces, Houses, and Libraries
For an extensive list of presidential birthplaces, historic homes, libraries, museums, and tombs organized by state, check out this article in the Field Trip Guides page on this website.

Nonfiction Books About White House Residents

Abe Lincoln Goes to Washington 1837-1963 by Cheryl Harness* (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2003)
Ages 8-11, grades 4-6

This picture book biography continues from the author’s Young Abe Lincoln (1998) and explores the later portion of Lincoln’s life. An informal style makes difficult topics clear.

*Harness introduces other U.S. Presidents in biographies for 8 through 11-year-olds, as well as for older readers.

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes (Simon and Schuster, 2012)
Ages 5-8, Grades 1-3

Grimes, a Coretta Scott King medalist, unveils the hope Barack Obama nurtured in his early days and carried forward to his days as leader of the free world.

A Boy Named FDR: How Franklin D. Roosevelt Grew Up to Change America by Kathleen Krull and Steve Johnson (Knopf, 2010)
Ages 6-9, Grades 1-4

Though a “golden boy” from the time of his birth and up to and until he was stricken with polio, FDR’s parents instilled a sense of social consciousness in their son with the mantra “Help the helpless.”

The Buck Stops Here by Alice Provenson (HarperCollins, 1997 edition)
Ages 7-9, grades 2-4

The first forty-one U.S. Presidents are introduced in this appealing, handsomely illustrated, large-format book.

The Camping Trip That Saved America: Teddie Roosevelt, John Muir and Our National Parks by Barb Rosenstock (Dial, 2012)
Ages 6-8, Grades 1-3

President Theodore Roosevelt’s camping trip with John Muir in Yosemite led to the creation of our National Park System. Read about this historic trip in Rosenstock’s excellent picture book text.

Diana’s White House Garden by Elisa Carbone (Viking, 2016)
Ages 5-8, Grades 1-3

Diana Halsted, daughter to one of FDR’s advisors, lived in the White House during WWII.  To “redirect” her boundless energy, the adults in her life swayed her to begin a White House “victory” garden.

Dwight D. Eisenhower by Sarah Hansen (Child’s World, 2008)
Ages 9 and up, Grades 4 and up

WWII General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes our nation’s 34th president.

Eleanor: Quiet No More, by Doreen Rappaport (Hyperion, 2009)
Ages 5-8, Grades 1-3

In this book, Rappaport writes about the intellectual pursuits thatallowed a young and neglected Eleanor Roosevelt to unleash the beauty of her mind and personality.

First Children by Katherine Leiner, illustrated by Katie Keller (Tambourine, 1996)
Ages 9-12, grades 4-7

Meet some of the children and young adults who have lived in the White House. Features engaging (sometimes fictionalized), episodic narrative and scratchboard illustrations interspersed with period illustrations.

First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends by Roy Rowan and Brooke Janis (Algonquin, 1997) Ages 13 to adult; grades 8+

Dogs in the White House have been, as Truman suggested, the best friend a president could have in Washington. Here, hounds bring history into focus in a winning way.

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War by Thomas Allen (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2004)
Ages 9-12, grades 4-8

Espionage played an important role in defeating the British, as is demonstrated in this cleverly-formatted, intriguing book. For older readers (high school to adult) try Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose (Bantam, 2007)

George Washington’s Teeth by Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora, illustrated by Brock Cole (FSG, 2003) Picture book/history; Grades K-3, ages 5-8 (and older)

A larger-than-life historical figure comes to life with verve and humor in this rhyming look at how George Washington’s teeth fared.

If the Walls Could Talk by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Gary Hovland (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2004) Picture book/history; aages 9-12, grades 4-7

Snippets of information about White House residents from George Washington to George W. Bush are presented in this highly illustrated, playful book.

Jack: The Early Years of John F. Kennedy by Ilene Cooper (Puffin, 2013)
Ages 10 and up, Grades 5 and up

Learn about President John F. Kennedy’s early life via engaging narrative, anecdotes, and quotes from family members and childhood friends.

John, Paul, George, & Ben by Lane Smith (Hyperion, 2006)
Ages 9-12, grades 4-7

Four (well, actually five) lads who were very independent and who were destined to become Founding Fathers of a fledgling nation are introduced here with humor in a bit of well-differentiated fiction. Two of them would go on to become U.S. Presidents!

Kennedy Through the Lens: How Photography and Television Revealed an Extraordinary Leader by Martin Sandler (Walker, 2011)
Ages 11-14, Grades 6-9

Sandler explains how John F. Kennedy used photography and television to advance his political ambitions.

Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Feedman (Clarion, 1987)
Biography; ages 9-adult, grades 4+

In his own words and photographs, Lincoln comes alive for readers.

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary by Candace Fleming (Schwartz and Wade, 2008)
Ages 10 and up, Grades 5 and up

Fleming uses primary sources—photographs, letters, engravings, and period cartoons—to create a “book museum” displaying the life and times of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln.

Lives of Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Katherine Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (Harcourt, 1998)
Collective biography; ages 9-12, grades 4-7

Glimpses of their lives (including some scandalous behavior) humanize White House residents through Bill Clinton in this collective biography.

Mary Lincoln’s Dressmaker: Elizabeth Keckley’s Remarkable Rise from Slave to White House Confidante by Becky Rutberg (Walker, 1995)
Ages 12-15, grades 7-10

Primary sources are used to relate the life of an enslaved woman who achieved freedom to become Mary Todd Lincoln’s highly esteemed dressmaker and friend. For older readers (high school and up), try Behind the Scenes in the Lincoln White House: Memoirs of an African American Seamstress written by Elizabeth Keckley (Dover Publications, 2007).

Master George’s People:  George Washington, His Slaves, and His Revolutionary Transformation by Marfe Delano (National Geographic, 2013)
Ages 10-13, Grades 5 and up

Delano narrates this premiere Founding Father’s inner journey in association with his viewpoint on the horrific institution of slavery.

Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers by Karen Winnick (Boyds Mill, 1996)
Picture book/history; ages 7-9, grades 2-4

Candidate Abraham Lincoln did not have a beard until he received a letter from an 11-year-old girl named Grace Bedell. This highly illustrated peek at an event may help children realize that history is alive and that they are living it now.

Our Country’s Presidents:  All You Need to Know About the Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama by Ann Bausum (National Geographic, 2013)
Ages 10 and up, Grades 5 and up

This book includes not only facts about each president, their struggles and triumphs, but also anecdotes, quotes, election information, and an outstanding index.

Presidents’ Day by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzie Rockwell (HarperCollins, 2007)
Picture story book/facts imbedded; Grades K-3, ages 5-8

With this introduction to the holiday honoring Presidents Washington and Lincoln, young children will come to understand and appreciate why we celebrate this day and the impact of individuals.

Rutherfordton B, Who Was He? by Marilyn Singer (Hyperion, 2013)
Ages 6-8, Grades 1-3

Singer provides a whimsical poem about each of America’s presidents, along with short bios and quotes.

So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small (Philomel, 2004 rev)
Ages 8-13, grades 4-8

Illustrations reminiscent of political cartoons, combined with intriguing information about the presidents, provide a memorable portrait.

Theodore Roosevelt: Champion of the American Spirit by Betsy Harvey Kraft (Clarion, 2003)
Biography; ages 11-14, grades 6-9

From asthmatic childhood to robust adulthood, the determined life—both personal and professional—of Theodore Roosevelt is presented in an authoritative, attractive, and appealing biography.

Thomas Jefferson: A Day at Monticello by Elizabeth Chew (Abrams, 2014)
Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7

Readers will wipe their brow after reading about all of Jefferson’s curiosities and pursuits as they visit the home he lived in during all of his adult years by means of full-page illustrated spreads.

Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher by Jon Meacham (Crown, 2014)
Ages 10-17, Grades 5 and up

An adaptation of an adult non-fiction book, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, this book details Jefferson’s all-consuming passion (despite his many interests):  the survival and success of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock (Calkins Creek, 2013)
Ages 8-11, Grades 3-6

Rosenstock’s book highlights the primary passion thateventually led Jefferson to found the Library of Congress: his love for reading and book collection.

Wackiest White House Pets by Katherine Gibbs Davis, illustrated by David Johnson (Scholastic, 2004)
Ages 7-10, grades 2-5

Lighthearted illustrations combine with an informative but equally witty text to introduce animals—from alligators to sheep—that have lived in and around the White House.

What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven (Atheneum, 2004)
Picture book/biography; ages 8-12, grades 3-7

The stuff of which presidents are made, is presented in illustrations made up of objects that allude to the information provided textually. Readers are encouraged to compare created portraits to official portraits.

When John and Caroline Lived in the White House by Laurie Coulter (Hyperion, 2000)
Ages 9-12, grades 4-7

The first children to inhabit the White House in many years are presented in photographs and other primary source material for a riveting portrait of the Kennedy family.

White House Ghosts: Presidents and their Speechwriters by Robert Schlesinger (Simon & Schuster, 2008)
High school/adult

This highly readable history presents a fascinating, anecdotal look at the words of presidents—their own and those of their speechwriters.

Young Abe Lincoln:  The Frontier Days by Cheryl Harness (National Geographic, 2008)
Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7

In the expert style associated with National Geographic books, Harness describes the early frontier days of Abraham Lincoln and the trials thatshaped the fortitude required of the president who led the nation through the troubled times of the Civil War.

Fiction Books About White House Residents

Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook, 2012)
Ages 5-9, Grades K-4

When a schoolgirl, Quincy, gets lost from her tour group while visiting the White House, she ends up talking to Abraham Lincoln’s ghost!

A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar by Candace Fleming, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Farrar, 1999)
Picture book/historical fiction; ages 7-11, grades 2-5

The residents of Cheshire, Massachusetts, decided to provide President Thomas Jefferson with a better cheese to serve to his White House guests. An author’s note differentiates fact from fiction in this funny and mostly true tale.

A Christmas Tree in the White House by Gary Hines, illustrated by Alexandra Wallner (Holt, 2001)
Picture book/historical fiction; Ages 5-8, grades K-3

How Theodore Roosevelt’s children managed to get a real tree into the White House—against their father’s wishes. A good-natured tale based on Roosevelt’s beliefs and actual events.

First Daughter: White House Rules by Mitali Perkins (Dutton, 2008)
Fiction; ages 12-14, grades 7-9

Sameera, adopted daughter of a U.S. President, continues to adjust to her new life in the White House—as she confronts very contemporary issues.

George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Paul Galdone (Putnam, 1984)
Fiction/facts imbedded; ages 9-12, grades 4-6

A contemporary boy named George W. Allen tries to find out what the country’s first president ate for breakfast and along the way learns a great deal about the details of his life,

The Ghost, the White House and Me by Judith St. George (Holiday House, 2007)
Fiction; ages 9-12, grades 4-6

After their mother’s inauguration, KayKay and Annie move into the White House, where they learn that Abraham Lincoln may be a resident ghost.

Look Out, Washington, DC (Polk Street Special) by Patricia Reilly Giff (Yearling, 1995)
Fiction; ages 7-9, grades 2-4

Join Ms Rooney and her Polk Street class as they visit Washington, D.C., and see all of its sights—including the White House.

Murder in the White House by Margaret Truman (Fawcett, 2001 ed)
Ages 14 to adult, grades 9 up

The daughter of former President Harry S Truman uses her personal knowledge of the White House to add to her Capital Crimes series.

A Spy in the White House by Ron Roy, illustrated by Tim Bush (Random House, 2004)
Fiction/series; ages 7-10, grades 2-5

When KC’s mom marries the U.S. president, KC and her friend, Marshall, solve the mystery of a spy in KC’s new home.

Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major (based on the play by Tom Isbell) by Ronald Kidd, illustrated by Ard Hoyt (Aladdin, 2008)
Ages 7-10, grades 3-5

Archie Roosevelt is a typical kid whose father just happens to be the president of the United States. Archie and his siblings find a mystery and a treasure map that they follow throughout the White House.

Thanksgiving in the White House by Gary Hines, illustrated by Alexandra Wallner (Holt, 2003)
Ages 6-9, grades 1-3

Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday when Lincoln was president and it is because of young Tad Lincoln that a turkey is “pardoned” each year.

White House Ghosts by Cheryl Harness (Simon & Schuster, 1998)
Fiction/historical; ages 9-12, grades 4-7

Sara is pleased to meet the ghost of George Washington who takes her on a different (but informative) tour of the White House, introducing her to other presidential ghosts.

Wilky the White House Cockroach by Howie Schneider (Putnam, 2006)
Picture story book; ages 5-8, grades K-3

When Wilky, a cockroach with wanderlust, evades even the White House exterminator, he is declared an official resident in this slapstick picture book for younger readers.

What to Do About Alice: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! By Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic, 2008)
Age 7-10, grades 2-5

Alice, the independent daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, lived in the White House with a particular joie de vivre shown here in lighthearted illustrations and fun-filled text. An author’s note provides additional information about Alice.