Chelsea Clinton swings through San Jose on book tour

Chelsea Clinton made two stops in San Jose on Wednesday as part of a book tour — but the topic for the outspoken former first daughter wasn’t politics.

It was all about animals.

Clinton on Wednesday met with elementary school students before headlining a sold-out book signing at the San Jose Woman’s Club in downtown to promote her new book, Don’t Let Them Disappear.

During the book signing, Clinton spoke to a crowd of about 400 about climate change and how oil drilling, pollution, overfishing and global warming are endangering the world’s animals. She was joined by Gianna Marino, the book’s illustrator from San Francisco.

“It’s really important that we support institutions that are leading conservation efforts and be aware of the places in our country where animals are not treated well,” Clinton said.

Chelsea Clinton signed copies of her new book during one of two stops in San Jose on Wednesday

Clinton called on the crowd to support good zoos and aquariums, before advocating for a ban on the sale of ivory to protect elephants, her favorite animal.

“We have more tigers in captivity in the U.S. than alive in the rest of the world. Clearly, I think it’s important that we distinguish between good high-quality institutions who are doing vital important conservation work,” she said. “Supporting those institutions is hugely important. Natural habitats are increasingly under threat.”

Earlier in the day, first, second and third graders at Los Alamitos Elementary in Almaden got the chance to participate in a Q&A with Clinton.

After talking about what causes animal endangerment for polar bears, elephants and rhinos — animals mentioned in the book — it was the students’ turn for questions.

A third-grader asked Clinton why she became a children’s book author. She had already published books geared towards an older audience. “I started writing picture books when I became a parent,” Clinton responded. “I thought about the books I wanted to share with my kids. When I couldn’t find them, I decided to write them.”

Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinsky have two children, Charlotte and Aidan, and are expecting a third child.

Other questions focused more on the nitty-gritty of the writing process. One student asked if Clinton writes using a pencil, pen or on the computer. The answer? Pen and paper to outline, but writing the story itself on the computer.

Clinton admitted that it had been a long time since she’s used a pencil.

The book stirred a passionate response from one student who asked how to protect the endangered species in the book. “It depends on the animal. If you care about elephants, convince people to stop buying ivory. It’s still legal in California to buy ivory,” said Clinton. “If you want to save polar bears, then we need to stop climate change.”

Another student noted that all of Clinton’s books seemed to share a theme of creating a positive impact on the world. If she could set one rule for the whole world, what would it be?

“Kindness. If we were kind to each other and the planet, that would solve a lot of things,” she said.

Contact Elizabeth Barcelos at ebarcelossj@gmail.com or follow @ebarcelossj on Twitter. Contact Nadia Lopez at nadia@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @n_llopez on Twitter.

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