My daughter has a penchant for picture book bibliographies.
We recently received another fabulous picture book all about some amazing women, “What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies.”
While reading, my daughter (affectionately known as Ladybug) and I came across “Ladybird Johnson.”
My daughter was fascinated that there was a person in a book with a name so similar to her own nickname.
So, she asked,
“Momma, why is she called Ladybird?”
and down the rabbit hole we went.
We learned that Ladybird Johnson was first dubbed “Ladybird” by her nurse, who called her “purty as a Ladybird” when she was just two years old.
There is some debate as to whether Ladybird refers to a bird or to a coccinellid; called “Ladybugs” in North America, but known as “Ladybirds” elsewhere in the world. A tidbit that delighted by daughter.
The name given to her by her parents was Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson.
Ladybird Johnson is captioned in “What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies.”
The book says, “Ladybird Johnson traveled around the country and spoke out in support of an important law President Johnson signed called the Civil Rights Act, which was designed to make America more fair.”
This small excerpt led to a wonderful conversation with my daughter about civil rights and how gender and ethnic heritage used to play a much bigger role in our country with regard to what you could and couldn’t do.
Ladybird Johnson is also very well known for her efforts to beautify America.
She said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”
These efforts weren’t just about making America prettier, they were some of the very first steps towards
Many of the terms used above weren’t even in use when she started her “beautification efforts,” but Ladybird Johnson was interested in science, not just aesthetics. She was ahead of her time.
Ladybird Johnson accomplished a lot during her lifetime; but a true lifetime passion for “beautification” led her to create the only national non-profit for preserving and re-introducing native wildflowers, tree, shrubs, vines, and grasses.
She co-founded “Ladybird Wildflower Conservation Center.”
Ladybird Wildlife Conservation Center is a native plant botanical garden in Texas actively working to improve the environment.
Here are just a few of the projects we found:
combating invasive species
You can visit Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center – Our Work for an inclusive list of ongoing projects.
“The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.”
— Lady Bird Johnson
Focus on environment where you live.
Start with something simple.
Spring is right around the corner, maybe take a walk with your kids. Show them the wildflowers and tell them a wonderful tale about an amazing woman named Ladybird Johnson.
***If you need a little help with your wildflower identification and determining if they are a native species try one of these two apps:
- What’s that Flower
“Beautification is far more than a matter of cosmetics.” “For me, it describes the whole effort to bring the natural world and the man-made world into harmony; to bring order, usefulness — delight — to our whole environment, and that of course only begins with trees and flowers and landscaping.”
— Lady Bird Johnson
A Little More About Ladybird Johnson:
“Lady Bird” Johnson, our 36th First Lady of the United States, entered the white house during the tumultuous aftermath of Kennedy’s assassination. Her husband, vice president Lyndon B. Johnson became president on November 22, 1963.
Claudia and Lyndon were married for 72 years and had two children; Lynda Bird Johnson and Lucia Baines Johnson. Claudia was 23 years old when she married Lyndon, 50 years old when she entered the white house, and 94 years old when she died.
***Note that the family of four all shared the initials, “LBJ.”
A Little More About “What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies:”
Following in the footsteps of So You Want to Be President?, this first book in a new series features fun, kid-friendly facts about America’s First Ladies and shows young readers just why they’re such a big deal.
Did you know that Mary Todd Lincoln played a huge role in fighting to end slavery? Or that Edith Wilson decoded secret messages from our allies during World War I? Or that Michelle Obama has led a nationwide initiative to promote healthy lifestyles for children?
Or how about fun facts: Did you know that Grace Coolidge had a pet raccoon? Or that Dolley Madison loved oyster ice cream? (And would later have a brand of ice cream named after her!)
In addition to being hostesses, ambassadors, activists, educators, historians and role-models, each first lady put her own stamp on the White House and her husband’s presidency. Filled with fun, kid-friendly facts that bring each First Lady to life on the page, this picture book, written by a member of a former first lady’s staff, shows us just how much our nation’s first ladies, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, have accomplished.
Grab a copy of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies or enter the giveaway below and explore some of these amazing women with your kids!
Which first lady most sparks your family’s interest?
Additional References for Kids:
Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America by Kathi Appelt and Joy Fisher Hein
How to Be a Wildflower: A Field Guide Hardcover by Katie Daisy
Quick Online References for Mom:
******If you’re more of a book person, which I 100% respect and support – there are a vast array of awesome books about Ladybird Johnson – I just haven’t had a chance to read enough of them to recommend one over the others yet. If you have, comment and let me know. Thanks!
Get a copy of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies to enjoy with your family.
Buy the book or enter the win a copy in the giveaway below!