Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride: America is An Exceptional Nation
October 18, 2012
Harsanyi : Hi I’m David Harsanyi from Human Events. Happy to be here with Callista Gingrich, author of Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride, a new children’s book. Thank you for being here.
Gingrich: Thank you for having me.
Harsanyi: Tell us a little bit about why you wrote the book.
Gingrich: I wrote this book because I love America, and I believe our country is truly an exceptional nation. I think it is more important now than ever that our children understand why we are such a special nation.
Harsanyi: It’s a history book in a sense, right?
Gingrich: It is.
Harsanyi: I have two young girls, and I sometimes find it hard to find books that teach them history. Books that are accessible to that age. And moreover ones that aren’t sort of imbued with some left-wing message about the country. So did you think about that when you wrote it?
Gingrich: Yes. There are few books for 4-8 year olds about our American history. In this book, Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride, Ellis the Elephant, the main character in the book, discovers how our country began as he looks at our thirteen original colonies. Colonial America is a vitally important time in our history. It’s a time that is large and often unknown. It’s a time when our characteristics and traits as Americans were shaped. And it is so important for our children to understand how we were shaped as a nation.
Harsanyi: Absolutely. I actually learned a few things about our colonies reading this book. It’s interesting because it’s not too heavy for kids, but it doesn’t dumb history down, as you often see. I also noticed in the back you can research a little more on each colony.
Gingrich: There’s a fabulous resource section in the back of the book, which gives parents and teachers a little more information and a little more detail about the history, as well as places people may want to visit.
Harsanyi: Did you learn anything writing this book?
Gingrich: I learned a lot of things. One of the things that surprised me was in the colony of New Hampshire there was a rule that every village with 50 or more people would have its own school. So they placed a very high value on education early on in the colony.
Harsanyi: Absolutely. You’ve been traveling around the country to share this book. I’ve seen you on TV and in various places. What is the reaction generally from people?
Gingrich: Kids love Ellis the Elephant, and they love history. I spent the past year traveling and reading my first book, Sweet Land of Liberty, to kids in libraries, and schools, and hospitals, and I was always reminded that kids are smart and they are eager to learn. The more they learn about America, the more they love America.
Unfortunately many of our schools are not teaching American history. Rather they are teaching a revisionist, or politically correct version of our history. As we look at recent studies, it’s very sobering. A majority of fourth graders can’t identify Jamestown as our first English settlement. Most fourth graders don’t know why the pilgrims left England and fewer than a third of eighth graders know why the colonies fought England during the Revolutionary War. So we have a lot of catching up to do, and we owe it to our kids to give them tools, so they know what it means to be American.
Harsanyi: Very true, and you actually don’t have to go to children. You see interviews with adults sometimes, and they don’t understanding about history, especially the founding history. So this is maybe helpful for them as well.
Now when kids read things like this it spurs their interest in learning more history. Do you plan on following this up with another book?
Gingrich: Well, Ellis is very interested in learning about the American Revolution, so that’s where we would like to take the series.
Harsanyi: Well, thank you for being here. It’s a great book, and everyone should grab a copy at their local book store or Amazon.
Gingrich: Thanks, David.