The Books

Thomas Jefferson and the Return of the Magic Hat is the third in the series, The President and Me, featuring modern-day kids who travel back and forth in time and meet the presidents!

What’s it about? After almost six months in Maryland, fifth-grader Oliver still misses his friends back in New Jersey. But things start to change one day, when his neighbor—and possible new friend—Sam lends Oliver a magic hat that takes him back to the 18th- and 19th-century world of Thomas Jefferson. Oliver and his sisters—Cassie, the nice one, and Ruby, the annoying one—end up learning more about Jefferson than they’d expected. And Oliver finds that his new neighborhood might not be so terrible after all. This new adventure brings back previous characters Sam, Ava, J.P. (blink and you might miss them, though!), and of course the cantankerous talking hat itself.

What have readers said about it? “Talented writer Deborah Kalb has crafted another delightful book in a series that expertly weaves historical facts into engaging stories of friendship and family. As a University of Virginia grad, I particularly enjoyed this book in which our third president — and designer of UVA’s academic village— is featured. I highly recommend this series as a vehicle to captivate and inform children about our country’s founders. Brava, Deborah!“ —Maria Leonard Olsen, attorney and author of Mommy, Why’s Your Skin So Brown and 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life

“Through the eyes of a brilliant and awkward fifth grade boy, his sisters and friends, author Deborah Kalb takes us on a wild romp through Mr. Jefferson’s world. Along the way, young readers will meet Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Madison Hemings; wonder how the writer who declared that ‘all men are created equal’ kept slaves, among whom were his own descendants; and marvel at the magic of a tricorn hat with the power to grant its wearer the ability to travel through time to learn history firsthand. Great fun!” —Robin Stevens Payes, author of Edge of Yesterday and Da Vinci’s Way


John Adams and the Magic Bobblehead is the second in the series, The President and Me, featuring modern-day kids who travel back and forth in time and meet the presidents!

What’s it about? Adventure, history, and the drama of family life intertwine in this engrossing tale of a fifth-grade girl struggling to find her place after her mom remarries and she finds herself stuck with a younger stepbrother. Find out what happens when Ava and her newly blended family take a trip to Boston, where she buys a magic bobblehead and is unexpectedly transported to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As Ava and her stepbrother, J. P., travel back and forth with John and Abigail Adams and their children, from Massachusetts, to Philadelphia, to the White House, to France, she learns about history, friendship, and how to deal with new situations, including her recently blended family. This sequel to The President and Me: George Washington and the Magic Hat features some of the same characters.

What have readers said about it? “Deborah Kalb has written a dizzying, exhilarating romp through history with John Adams as a spirited bobblehead  – yes, the same John who adores his independent Abigail, hates being stuffed in a toybox and always has grand ideas about the future of his country. A perfect choice to spark an interest in important Americans who usually seem far-removed and boring.” –Karen Leggett Abouraya, author of Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books

“A spirited talking souvenir, in the shape of a John Adams bobblehead, makes for a whimsical time machine in this fun tale of ten-year-old Ava and her eight-year-old stepbrother J.P. Like the figurine’s bobbling head, Deborah Kalb’s narrative moves between the 18th century and the present day. The story captures Ava’s struggles to become part of a blended family, at the same time she experiences first-hand what life was like for Adams and his family as the United States struggled to be born. Until the conflicts of those two worlds merge, and Ava’s feelings for her new brother transcends time.” –J.H. Diehl, author of Tiny Infinities


George Washington and the Magic Hat is the first in the series, The President and Me.

What’s it about? Adventure, history, and the drama of school life intertwine in this engrossing tale of a fifth-grade boy struggling to find his place after his best friend abandons him. Find out what happens when Sam’s class takes a trip to Mount Vernon, where he accidentally buys a bossy three-cornered hat that sweeps him off to the eighteenth century and a warm friendship with George and Martha Washington. As Sam travels back and forth between his present-day life and incredible adventures with George Washington, he learns about history, himself, and the nature of friendship and families.

What have readers said about it? “A surprising story about friendship–and growing up–that will touch your heart, make you laugh, and keep you turning the pages. An amazing (and fun-filled) introduction to George Washington and his life and times, to boot. For fans of time travel, history buffs, and all who love good story-telling.”–Kem Knapp Sawyer, author of DK Biography: Abigail Adams.

“Funny, engaging, and historically intriguing, this book delightfully weaves together magic, sports, history, and the challenges of friendships into a fast-paced and entertaining read. Deborah Kalb has written a book that kids will find playful and relevant, and that grownups will want to borrow.”–Jill Vialet, founder and CEO of Playworks and author of Recess Rules


Deborah Kalb

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