Callista Shares Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride on The Dana Loesch Radio Show
The Dana Show
October 8, 2012
Loesch: I love this time of year. One of the reasons I love this time of year is because it provides an excellent opportunity to help my kids and your kids to study Colonial history, the founding of our country, the story behind Thanksgiving. Last year, Sweet Land of Liberty was a great book by Callista Gingrich. I loved this book. We had Callista on the show right when Sweet Land of Liberty came out. My seven year read this book. He loved this book. I’m really excited about this new book she has, Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride. And Callista Gingrich is on the line with us now. Good afternoon to you.
Gingrich: Hi Dana, thanks for having me.
Loesch: Of course. I loved the last book that you had. I love this series you have going on because this is a great way to teach kids about not just the back story of how our country came to be, but also what it took the spirit, the aesthetic that it took to build this country. Your latest book Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride really goes into the background of all the 13 colonies and the founding of America using Ellis the Elephant through his perspective. Tell us a little bit about your latest book and how kids are reacting to it.
Gingrich: First of all, I write these books because I love our country and I believe America is an exceptional nation. I think it is more important now than ever that our kids understand what makes our country so special. In Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride, Ellis the Elephant discovers how America began as he learns about Colonial America. From Jamestown to the Pilgrims in Massachusetts to the purchase of Manhattan, Ellis learns about the unique attributes of each colony and how our brave settlers began to build our nation.
Loesch: Like I said, I love the previous book you had, Sweet Land of Liberty, and this one I can’t wait to check it out as well. We home school and this comes along at the perfect time because we every year, around Thanksgiving, learn about what it took from our ancestors when they found this country. You also tackle some really important subjects, but subjects that are really difficult to explain to kids in this book as well. I mean you get into slavery, and some of the conflict with native Americans too. Was that difficult for you to approach with this audience?
Gingrich: Well, you have to approach the subject matter realistically. If we want to keep our country great, our children have to understand where we’ve come from, and colonial America is a major and often unknown part of our history. So it is vitally important that children understand how our country began and how our characteristics and traits were formed in the colonial period.
Loesch: Now in the last book you had, Sweet Land of Liberty, there was an eagle on each page. Do you have something like that in this book?
Gingrich: Indeed, the eagle is back. Everywhere Ellis goes the eagle goes with him. The eagle is there as a symbol of American freedom.
Loesch: My seven year old loved looking for that when we read that book. I enjoy books of this topic for kids this age because it’s kind of a big concept, when you think about it, the founding of America, and one of the things you did really well in your last book, and I know in this book as well, is you really highlight America exceptionalism. That is what made this country. That motivation, that drive, to create something from nothing, to scratch out an existence from new land and create a land where we can enjoy freedom. It’s a big concept to teach kids. To me it seems a lot more difficult to write a book for children than it is for adults. Do you find the same thing to be true?
Gingrich: It can challenging because a children’s book is shorter first of all. Often children’s books are written in rhyme, so that is a secondary challenge, but it has been a whole lot of fun. I’ve had a great time doing it. Unfortunately, many of our students right now our not learning our American history, so I’ve written these books to help them get an introduction or a start to learning the real story behind our American history. If you look at some of our surveys out today you find that the majority of fourth graders can’t identify places like Jamestown as our first English settlement. Many fourth graders don’t know why the pilgrims left England and fewer than a third of all eighth graders know why the colonists fought England during the Revolutionary war. So we have a lot of catching up to do, and we really owe it to our young people to help them learn what it means to be American.
Loesch: Do you have any plans to expand this from books and maybe have it go into DVDs or other learning implements. I think this is a great curriculum supplement.
Gingrich: Thanks, Dana. We are interested in that, but right now we are writing stories about Ellis the Elephant and we would like him to march through the various chapters of our history.
Loesch: I am so excited about this book, and this is a great idea. And of course it comes at the perfect time. It really introduces kids on the journey of how America was founded and all of the ingredients that go into making a country, exceptionalism, hard work, things that are downgraded today, so you need that offset. Because you know in pop culture, and even with our own president, this sort of American exceptionalism you celebrate in this book isn’t really spoken of so highly in Washington, DC nowadays.
Gingrich: You’re right. The colonists were great role models. They embodied many of the values and traits we like in our presidents and leaders today. Values like hard work, perseverance, resourcefulness. These were the traits that enabled our colonists to survive, thrive and build this great nation.
Loesch: This is a great book, and I can’t wait to read it. Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride. Callista Gingrich. And Mrs. Gingrich can you give us your website as well?
Gingrich: Yes, it is gingrichproductions.com. The book is available online and at bookstores across the nation.
Loesch: Well we look forward to seeing it. Thank you for joining us.
Gingrich: Thank you.