In this edition of INTERVUE, Lauren Cash gives us a deeper look into New York Times bestselling author Callista Gingrich’s From Sea to Shining Sea. It is the 4th volume of her bestselling children’s book series, Ellis the Elephant. In this edition, Ellis explores the journey of Lewis and Clark and the earliest years in United States history.
What is From Sea to Shining Sea about?
From Sea to Shining Sea is the 4th Volume in my Ellis the Elephant series and this is a series that offers a guided tour of American history for 4-8 year olds. In my new book, From Sea to Shining Sea, Ellis the Elephant discovers a growing nation and the great expedition of Lewis and Clark.
Why is this book important for young readers?
This was the most important expedition in our nation’s history. It was a voyage of danger and discovery from St. Louis to the Pacific that ultimately inspired many Americans to go west. It also accomplished several things- the expedition explored maps, the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, and it established an American presence in the West before the British and other Europeans could claim it. It also makes great contributions to science; discovering new forms of plant and animal life.
It is so important that our children learn about this incredible expedition and how our nation grew from those original 13 colonies across a continent.
Why do you write these books?
I write these books because I love America and I believe America is truly an exceptional nation. I think it is more important now than ever that our children understand what makes this country so special and to do that, they need an understanding of our American history. Unfortunately today, many of our children are failing to learn our American history, including our Founding principles and values. They are instead learning politically correct history.
As a result, they aren’t learning the basics about our nation. As we look at recent surveys, they are really quite sobering. Today, just 20% of 4th graders, 17% of 8th graders, and 12% of 12th graders are at grade level proficiency in American history. So we’ve got some work to do and we owe it to our kids to give them the tools they need at a very early age so they can begin to appreciate the greatness of this nation.
How did you choose the specific historic events for this book?
The series is a chronological series and in this book I wanted to focus around the Louisiana Purchase and the expedition of Lewis and Clark. I wanted to really highlight the key moments centered on these two events. I especially wanted to feature moments that kids would find most interesting such as crossing the Great Plains with Sacagawea, encountering dangerous animals like the grizzly bear, digging dugout canoes, and finally reaching the Pacific Ocean. Amazing moments that are a rich part of our history.
What was the most important event that occurred during the time period you cover in From Sea to Shining Sea?
I really think that Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was the most important event of this period. It was a historic landfill between the United States and France, in which the US acquired over 800,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. This literally doubles the size of the United States for the bargain price of 15 million dollars. This territory was so large that President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark in the core of discovery to explore it. Our country was never the same after the Louisiana Purchase so it was a very important part of our history.
Why is the Lewis and Clark Expedition so important?
This was really the most important expedition in the history of our country. It was a voyage of danger and discovery that inspired many Americans to travel west. It is really a critical moment in history that kids need to be aware of.
What are the character traits the explorers exhibited?
The explorers were really trail blazers and they were unafraid to venture into the unknown. They exhibited traits such as courage, resourcefulness and determination.
How did the Native American tribes help Lewis and Clark on their expedition?
Native Americans helped explorers throughout the expedition. The explorers encountered nearly 50 Native American tribes and had good relations with the vast majority of them. The Mandan tribe, for example, offers hospitality and support to the explorers in the winter of 1805 when they were in modern day North Dakota. Shoshone provided horses for the expedition to get across the Rocky Mountains. Most importantly, Sacagawea was part of the corn discovery. She was a young Shoshone woman who acted as a translator between the corn and the Native American tribe. Her presence along with her husband and infant son really communicated the peacefulness of the expedition. Clearly, Native Americans played a major role in the success of the expedition.
I would like to add that these books are really about patriotism and our nation’s humble beginnings. They are not meant to be Republican books or Conservative books but rather pro American books. I really hope that they appeal to many families as a celebration of our patriotism and of our nation.
Both Newt & Gingrich will be doing two book signings in the Metro Area
Saturday, December 13, 2014
12:00 pm EST
Sugar House Spa and Salon
111 N Alfred Street
Mrs. Gingrich will host a book signing at Sugar House Spa and Salon in Alexandria, Virginia. She will sign copies of her new children’s book From Sea to Shining Sea, featuring Ellis the Elephant.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
3:00 pm EST
The Shops at Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy
Mount Vernon, Virginia
Speaker and Mrs. Gingrich will host a book signing at The Shops at Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Mrs. Gingrich will sign copies of her new children’s book From Sea to Shining Sea, featuring Ellis the Elephant. Speaker Gingrich will sign copies of his new policy book, Breakout.