Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 30, 2020

Book Giveaway: TRUTH AND HONOR: The President Ford Story by Lindsey McDivitt

Lindsey McDevitt has a new picture book, TRUTH AND HONOR: THE PRESIDENT FORD STORY, Illustrated by Matt Faulkner and published by Sleeping Bear Press. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Lindsey and Matt!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When Gerald Ford became president after the turmoil of the early 70s, Americans were ready for an honest, hardworking politician. And that is just what they got with President Ford. He was a man of integrity and honesty, who cared deeply about all Americans. His life, tougher than some and filled with character-building lessons, had prepared him for the job–from his childhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan to his days on the University of Michigan football team and in the Navy to his many years representing the Great Lakes State in congress. In Truth and Honor learn what made Gerald Ford the right man for the job. Backmatter includes a letter from the Ford family and a timeline.

BOOK JOURNEY:

My journey writing Truth and Honor: The President Ford Story was quite different for me in a number of ways. For one, Sleeping Bear Press asked if I was interested in researching and writing this picture book biography. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum staff wanted one on the former president—their staff had seen my book Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story also published by Sleeping Bear Press. Naturally, I was interested, despite knowing only a little about my subject. I’d be working with my terrific editor Sarah Rockett again—from the very beginning.

When Gerald Ford became president in the tumultuous time after Watergate I was in high school in the 1970’s. Like many, my impression of him was of a good honest man. Perhaps a bit clumsy? I recalled Ford’s Presidency as a relief after the lies, scandal and endless anxiety around Richard Nixon’s. But digging into my research I quickly discovered several surprises. For one, Ford’s impressive integrity perhaps triggered the accusations of clumsiness for our most athletic president? A single fall down the wet steps of Air Force One seemed to finally give the press a humorous angle on the former college football player.

Another surprise—Gerald Ford was born Leslie King Junior. His birth father abused his mother, who fled when young Jerry was just sixteen days old. A rough beginning back in 1913 to have no dad and a divorced mother. Jerry’s life overall turned out to be tougher than I’d imagined and it definitely prepared him for his challenges as president.

But Jerry’s step-father Gerald Ford Senior, was “an honorable man, as dependable as the lighthouse shining at Grand Haven Beach.” (I had loads of fun adding similes and metaphors to this book about Michigan’s only president.) Along with his brave mother, Ford’s step-dad instilled important values in Ford Junior, and I included quotes like this, “You are a person of your word…the integrity of your word…is a tremendous possession of great value. Keep it never lose it.”

Ford was 61 when he became President with the very first use of the 25th amendment. The same age I was when writing the book—I’m a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to writing. I also have a particular interest in what people do in later life and how we as writers for kids portray older adults. All stereotypes matter. (Race and age stereotypes actually affect our health and wellbeing.) Here was an adult protagonist, Gerald Ford, who could only accomplish what he did with all that lovely life experience behind him.

It made sense to me to begin by first figuring out just what kind of president Ford had been. I learned that Republican Congressman and President Gerald Ford had genuinely cared about citizens of all colors, voting consistently for civil rights and voting rights legislation, often in opposition to his party. He cared for immigrants too, and refugees from Saigon, as the Vietnam War was ending.

Apparently Gerald Ford was not good at making speeches, but he could laugh at his own poor skills in that regard. However, he provided me with some terrific quotes to highlight his sterling character.

“I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself.”

Here was a president I could write about with enthusiasm! And a president to perhaps inspire adults to discuss America’s true values with kids in an election year. It felt fortuitous to me.

Like many writers, my process included many terrible early drafts. Only this time my editor read quite a few. Embarrassing. But helpful. Especially as there was a deadline. I quickly determined this book would begin with Ford as President, and end with him tackling all the problems piled on that same desk. In between we’d show just how young Jerry’s life prepared him for the challenges of that time.

When researching and writing picture book bios I’m always searching for the things kids can identify with. I’m so glad I included his youthful stuttering as I’ve already learned that meant a lot to one child reader. And of course I had to include the dramatic WW II scene where Jerry almost slide into the sea, and the Ford family dog named “Liberty.” All key elements for beautiful illustrations by Matt Faulkner. (I’d been secretly hoping for Michigan’s award winning illustrator.)

On a more serious note, I think Truth and Honor: The President Ford Story offers an opportunity to talk with young people trying to make sense of American politics now. President Ford took over the presidency at a time our nation needed to heal and regain trust in government.  Writing this book gave me much to think about in this age of turmoil. I’m hoping it may do the same for others.

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.”

President Gerald R. Ford, August 9, 1974.

LINDSEY’S BIO:

Lindsey McDivitt writes fiction and non-fiction for children. Her picture books Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story (2018) and Truth and Honor: The President Ford Story (July 2020) were published by Sleeping Bear Press. A third picture book biography comes out in 2021. Lindsey is passionate about tackling ageism in books for children. She began writing children’s books after many years in health education when she co-edited a book of true stories of hope and healing by stroke survivors. Find Lindsey at www.lindseymcdivitt.com where she reviews picture books with accurate and diverse images of aging and older adults on her blog “A is for Aging.”

MATT’S BIO:

Matt Faulkner’s first work of art was “Portrait of a Dog,” etched into the oak kitchen table when he was five. Fortunately his parents were the forgiving types, and Matt’s art career blossomed.

Matt graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and has done work for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and Forbes Magazine. Matt is also an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. He has illustrated twenty-nine books and written and illustrated seven more since he began his career back in 1985, including Thank You, Sarah (Simon & Schuster), Gaijin: An American Prisoner of War (Disney-Hyperion), and Because I Could Not Stop My Bike. Matt is married to author and librarian Kristen Remenar.

Visit Matt online.

Lindsey, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I discovered a lot of interesting things about President Ford. Matt’s illustrations are beautiful and together with your writing and research they make this book a “must have”. Adults and children to love this book as much as I do.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Congratulations, Lindsey! What a great point about Ford coming in as president as the nation faced a presidency in crisis. So relevant.

    Like

  2. I have to admit that I know very little about President Ford in comparison to many of the other presidents. I can’t wait to learn more about him by reading the book before sharing it with my students.

    Like

  3. No doubt that Gerald Ford is one of the lesser known Presidents. Good idea to bring his story to a younger generation. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1288897239893516288, and pinned an image on Pinterest as well: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772156016557/.
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!

    Like

  4. Congrats, Lindsey and Matt!

    Like

  5. Wow! This book looks amazing. Great job, Lindsey!! The art—fantastic job, Matt!!

    Like

  6. This looks marvelous! Congratulations Lindsey & Matt.

    Like

  7. I learned so much reading this post. Can’t wait to read the whole book and learn more! Thanks for sharing and congratulations!

    I will tweet this and I follow by email. 🙂

    Like


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