Callista Gingrich says kids (and adults) need look no further than an illustrated elephant for lessons on dealing with the current fractured, polarized political world.
The wife of former Speaker and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has just penned the newest book in her Ellis the Elephant series, “From Sea to Shining Sea,” about the Lewis and Clark expedition.
“I think in reading some of these stories about our nation’s history, kids can understand that we’ve been through troubled times before, and we’ve always managed to rally, to gain opportunity for a better future through those difficult times,” Gingrich tells ITK.
Geared toward 4- to 8-year-olds, the fourth volume in the series starring the time-traveling pachyderm Ellis is meant to “serve as an introduction to the key political moments that have shaped our nation,” Gingrich says.
Gingrich, 48, says many kids aren’t learning “the basics” of American history, contending, “Instead, they’re learning revisionist or politically correct history.”
She cites an example of a false narrative that’s been repeated: “The American Revolution was a white male effort led by rich men. Well, we know that wasn’t true, but some people may argue this case. … It’s important that our kids have an accurate portrayal at an early age of our American history.”
But the perfectly coiffed political spouse — a choir singer and French horn player — tells ITK that, despite having the animal that represents the Republican Party for a main character, her Ellis the Elephant books aren’t political.
“These books are about patriotism and our nation’s humble beginnings. They’re not meant to be Republican books or conservative books, but rather pro-American books,” she says.
So will Ellis one day get another animal friend? Perhaps Doris the Donkey?
Gingrich laughs and replies, “Anything is possible.”
However, something that’s increasingly implausible, according to Gingrich, is her husband making another White House run. She said in a recent interview that preparing for any presidential bid wasn’t “currently on [the] plate.”
When asked what the toughest part about hitting the campaign trail, Gingrich told us, “I think you put yourself out there and you try to offer up better alternatives for a better future. With that comes a lot of criticism. And you just need to be focused on the positive issues of the day and just block out the negative. And some days that’s harder than others.”