Morning Joe: Callista Gingrich Writes Children’s Book on American History
October 2, 2012
Mika Brzezinski: Joining us now is Callista Gingrich. She’s the president of Gingrich Productions and author of the new children’s book “Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride.” Her second book featuring Ellis the Elephant. Also at the table we have editor of the Financial Times Julian Tett, Mike Barnicle, and Steve Rattnerstill with us as well. I would consider this a counterintuitive line up. What do you think? I like it. This is what we do. Callista, welcome.
Callista Gingrich: Thank you. It’s a good mix.
Brzezinski: Have you been on “Morning Joe” before?
Gingrich: Never. This is my first time. Thank you for having me.
Brzezinski: You’ll have fun. Thank you. I love this. I’ll read this my niece, Aurora. Who is in Sweden. Tell us about your book.
Gingrich: This book is “Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride,” featuring Ellis the Elephant. I have written two books. The first is “Sweet Land of Liberty.” I have written these books because I feel it’s important because we share the greatness of America with our children. In “Sweet Land of Liberty” Ellis discovers the pivotal moments of our nation’s history, so he can truly appreciate who we are. In my new book, “Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride,” Ellis discovers Colonial America as he learns about how we began as a nation.
Brzezinski: Do you do readings to children? Have you gone across the country? Does Newt go with you?
Gingrich: Yes, I do the readings. I spent a large part of last year going to schools and libraries and hospitals and sharing the book with children.
Brzezinski: How do the children respond?
Gingrich: The children love Ellis, and they love learning about America. I’m always reminded when I go to these schools and libraries how smart our kids are and how eager they are to learn. The more they learn about America, the more they love America.
Steve Rattner: Do you find it curious at all that as you do these books, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever, but it’s not taught enough or not well enough in our schools and especially our high schools.
Gingrich: That’s right. Unfortunately many of our students are not learning American history. That’s inspiration for these books as well. They are meant to be an introduction, so we can begin to give our children the tools to appreciate the greatness of our nation.
Julian Tett: I have two girls myself who are 6 and 8. So I’m part of your target market. Things like the American Girl history series are incredibly effective at trying to convey the fundamental stories and make children excited about American history. So that’s terrific. Is there an iPad version? Every kid wants to know these days.
Gingrich: There is not an app yet, but Ellis is available on i-readers. It’s an important book in that it will introduce colonial America to kids. This part of our history is vital and often unknown to many children. It’s really the period where our characteristics of being American were shaped and that’s why it’s so important.
Brzezinski: Alex just told me that Ellis the Elephant tweets. Isthat possible?
Gingrich: Yes, Newt will tweet about Ellis. Ellis doesn’t actually tweet. He’s pretty 21st century though.
Brzezinski: What’s it been like? I love the books and I’m glad you came on to talk about it. We have seen you on the campaign trail and we haven’t actually heard from you that much. What has that been like for you watching your husband go through the process of running for president, the primary process, and even perhaps criticism he might have received, maybe even from this show at times. From your perspective, what was it like?
Gingrich: It was an exhilarating process and it was one we were really blessed to be a part of. As we traveled across America, it was clear that the American people are generous and open. Whether or not they agree with you politically, American people are very good people. I think most of us are still optimistic about the future of our country.
Brzezinski: People have strong feelings, and it came out in the primaries especially about your husband’s points of view, his history in politics. He’s been called a lot of names – a lot of great things as well. He’s accomplished great things. What do you think the biggest misperception is about him? As his wife and listening to it from your perspective?
Gingrich: Newt has prepared his whole life to be of service to our country. People can be critical. Sometimes he’s a bit forward, but he is who he is,
whether or not you agree with him politically, he’s a strong character on our national stage.
Rattner: We heard from Ann Romney a couple weeks ago. She’s just a terrific human being. I’ve known her for a while. She was semi-upset or seeming upset at some of the criticisms heaped upon her husband. How difficult is it for you or for any other spouse in politics to sit there, not only during debates and during the campaign, but to sit there and listen to some of the things that are said about your husband? Without jumping off the chair and saying, hey,wait a minute.
Gingrich: It’s part of the political process. You have to just be ready for the criticism and you have to focus on the positive. That’s the only way you can function. Campaigns are overwhelming experiences, and you have to be tough.
Mike Barnicle: So would you like to see Newt stay in the political arena or are you looking forward to a private life?
Gingrich: Well right now, it’s all about Ellis the Elephant, but anything is possible.
Tett: I think far more people will talk about Ellis the Elephant than the economy.
Brzezinski: The book is “Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride.” Callista Gingrich, thank you very much. I will read this to my niece. We look forward to having you back on the program some time. Maybe we’ll let Newt Gingrich back on the show as well. Next time maybe I’ll get a better grade at Newt U. I still can’t believe it, a B+.
Gingrich: Thank you.