City Beat: An authority on the presidents at age 5

Arden Hayes is 5. He loves Legos and doing flips onto the living room couch.

He also loves our nation's presidents. He knows all 44 in order and can tell you something about any one of them.

Arden knows a lot about the presidents because he reads a lot. He's been reading since before he turned 2. He recently surprised his parents by reciting the Gettysburg Address word for word.

When I wrote about Arden Hayes in Sunday's paper, some readers wondered how the newspaper came to find out about him.

In fact, Times photographer Mel Melcon was the first person to notice Arden, when Melcon went to the Nixon Library to cover the opening of a new exhibit. Melcon thought the little boy turning heads there that day would make a good story. When he introduced me to Arden, I agreed.

I first met Arden when I visited his pre-kindergarten class in South Pasadena, where he was giving a special presentation, reading poems about James Madison, Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Harrison to the other children.

Arden sometimes refers to the presidents by numbers. His favorite presidents, he says, are 11 and 33. Who are they and why does he like them? Read my whole story here. Don't miss Melcon's photos and video.

And keep reading to see a version of the story -- in photos -- that I sent out on Twitter:


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