It's just a short five days until Barack Obama is sworn in as our 44th president. But here at the Scholastic, we're already celebrating the achievements of all the past presidents and the artistic talents of kids all across the country.
Last fall, as election fever swept the nation, Scholastic Book Clubs (you know, those fliers you get in school that you can order books from) held the first-ever "Picture a President Drawing Contest." And kids responded in overwhelming numbers.
Over 12,000 portraits were submitted. There were portraits of the big famous ones — the Washingtons, Lincolns, Roosevelts — as well as the oft forgotten ones — Chester A. Arthur, James Buchanan, William Henry Harrison, and Rutherford B. Hayes.
The grand prize winner, Helena Bundy, 10, from California, drew a charcoal picture of Woodrow Wilson. Why did she pick him? She wanted to draw a president that didn't have facial hair (no beards or mustaches for Helena)! Ten other presidential drawings were chosen as runners-up.
Not only were there a ton of pictures, but they were all amazingly good. So good in fact, that Scholastic put the portraits on display in our lobby, where they'll be showcased until March 1st. Plus, the Inaugural Fest in Washington DC (which opens on this Friday, January 16th and closes on January 24th) will have the same display at their festivities! Helena's winning portrait and all the runners-ups are there, along with additional portraits of all 44 presidents.
Since most of you won't be able to see the display in person, we have it for you online here:
Amazing, right? I can't believe how great that Clinton portrait is. Which makes me wonder who I would have chosen to draw if I were eligible (and if I could draw more than a stick figure) . . .
I don't have a favorite president per se. If forced to choose, I would probably say Kennedy. And James K. Polk pops into my head as the only president who has a They Might Be Giants tribute song. But I don't really know.
What about you — who's your favorite president? Which president do you admire most and why?
— Carly H., STACKS Staffer