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Elections, Voting, and Presidents

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So You Want to be President? book
6.3
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So You Want to be President?
Written by Judith St. George & illustrated by David Small
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
This is one of my favorite “presidential” books to read with children, election year or not. Winner of the 2000 Caldecott Medal, you know these illustrations are going to be good. But the writing is terrific and entertaining here, too. St. George has filled this book with random facts about past presidents (such as, if you want to be president, it may be helpful to be named James… 6 of our presidents were named James!). Can you name the president who didn’t learn to read until he was 14 or write until after he got married??? Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated since 2004, but it’s still a fun and informative read. Ages 7-10.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

This new version of the Caldecott-winning classic by illustrator David Small and author Judith St. George is updated with current facts and new illustrations to include our forty-second president, George W. Bush. There are now three Georges in the catalog of presidential names, a Bush alongside the presidential family tree, and a new face on the endpaper portraiture. Hilariously illustrated by Small, this celebration by St. George shows us the foibles, quirks and humanity of forty-two men who have risen to one of the most powerful positions in the world. Perfect for this election year–and every year!

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Grace Goes to Washington book
6.0
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Grace Goes to Washington
Written by Kelly DiPucchio & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
If you’re looking for a fun way to talk about elections and even the branches of government and balance of power, then DiPuccio and Pham’s Grace series is the way to go! With a Black main character and diverse cast of supporting characters, these books are filled with wonderful messages of making good on promises and using teamwork and cooperation to find compromises that not only make everyone happy, but foster inclusivity.
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Recommend Ages: 6-8

“Who’s in charge here?” When Grace learns about the three branches of the United States government, she and the rest of the student council put the lesson into practice as they debate how to spend the money from a school fund-raiser. Should they buy new sports equipment? Books for the library? Instruments for the music room? The arguments continue as they travel to Washington, DC, for a field trip. Exploring government buildings and national monuments, Grace feels closer than ever to her dream of becoming president someday. But she and her classmates have a lot to learn about what it means to serve the needs of the people, especially when the people want such different things! In this follow-up to New York Times best seller Grace for President, Kelly DiPucchio not only introduces how our government makes decisions, but also shares what it takes to be a true public servant.

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Granddaddy's Turn book
6.0
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Granddaddy's Turn
Written by Michael S Bandy and Eric Stein & illustrated by James E. Ransome
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
Ooh, this one is so good and will be such a great conversation starter in so many ways for your classroom or family. Written in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, this is the story of a young boy accompanying his grandfather to vote for the very first time… Only, he’s not able to vote after all as a result of the imposed “literacy test.” Set prior to 1965 and potentially rife with complexity and struggle, Bandy and Stein have kept this very age-appropriate. Subtle details in Ransome’s illustrations serve as stepping-off points for deeper conversations about the historical context. Be sure to read the backmatter for more information about racial segregation, voting rights, and voter suppression. Ages 6-9, but appropriate slightly younger and powerful older, too.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Based on the true story of one family’s struggle for voting rights in the civil rights-era South, this moving tale shines an emotional spotlight on a dark facet of U.S. history. Life on the farm with Granddaddy is full of hard work, but despite all the chores, Granddaddy always makes time for play, especially fishing trips. Even when there isn’t a bite to catch, he reminds young Michael that it takes patience to get what’s coming to you. One morning, when Granddaddy heads into town in his fancy suit, Michael knows that something very special must be happening–and sure enough, everyone is lined up at the town hall! For the very first time, Granddaddy is allowed to vote, and he couldn’t be more proud. But can Michael be patient when it seems that justice just can’t come soon enough? This powerful and touching true-life story shares one boy’s perspective of growing up in the segregated South, while beautiful illustrations depict the rural setting in tender detail.

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Grace for President book
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Grace for President
Written by Kelly DiPucchio & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
If you’re looking for a fun way to talk about elections and even the branches of government and balance of power, then DiPuccio and Pham’s Grace series is the way to go! With a Black main character and diverse cast of supporting characters, these books are filled with wonderful messages of making good on promises and using teamwork and cooperation to find compromises that not only make everyone happy, but foster inclusivity.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A fresh, fun, and “thought-provoking” New York Times bestseller about the American electoral college and why every vote counts from bestselling and award-winning duo Kelly DiPucchio and LeUyen Pham.

“Where are the girls?”

When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides she wants to be the nation’s first and immediately jumpstarts her political career by running in her school’s mock election! The race is tougher than she expected: her popular opponent declares that he’s the “best man for the job” and seems to have captured the votes of all of the class’s boys. But Grace is more determined than ever. Even if she can’t be the best man for the job, she can certainly try to be the best person!

This timely story not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system but also teaches the value of hard work, courage, independent thought – and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.

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Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote book
6.0
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Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote
Written by Kirsten Gillibrand & illustrated by Maira Kalman
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
From the endpapers to the introductory story to the spreads, this one is just delightful! Senator Gillibrand has struck a terrific balance of well-known women’s rights heroes such as Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth, but she also includes women I personally had never heard of, such as Jovita Idár and Lucy Burns. The “Quick Walk Through American History: Exploring How Women Have Shaped Our Nation” also includes important contributions by women in a variety of fields across centuries, from Phillis Wheatley to Maya Lin and many, many more in between. Ages 6-9.
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Recommend Ages: 6-9

From United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand comes an inspiring picture book about ten suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was inspired by her own great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother to be bold and brave–to stand up and fight for what she believes in. But who inspired them? The long chain of women before them who spoke out for what’s right–women who taught each generation that followed how to be bold and brave.

Here are the stories of ten leaders who strove to win the right to vote for American women–a journey that took more than seventy years of passionate commitment. From well-known figures, such as Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth to lesser known women such as Alice Paul and Mary Church Terrell, these are heroes who dreamed big and never gave up. Senator Gillibrand highlights an important and pithy lesson from each woman’s life–from “dare to be different” to “fight together.”

On the eve of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women suffrage, Bold & Brave looks both backward and forward. It introduces children to strong women who have raised their voices on behalf of justice–and inspires them to raise their own voices to build our future.

With gorgeous illustrations by renowned artist Maira Kalman, this is a book that will inspire and uplift, a book to be cherished and shared.

The suffragists included are: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Jovita Idár, Alice Paul, Inez Milholland, Ida B. Wells, Lucy Burns, and Mary Church Terrell.

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  • If You Go with Your Goat to Vote - Children's Lit Love -

    Y’all, this new release is so clever! Perfect for those youngest audiences trying to learn wrap their minds around what will happen on election day, Zaumer cleverly uses 13 animal families to walk children through the whole day. From studying the ballot before leaving to vote to staying up late to see the results nad everything in between, this book covers it all. And with incredibly punny language, too. Though much may go over kids’ heads, adults will giggle reading about octopuses who ink in bubbles and porcupines who wait on pins and needles for results. Ages 2-5.

  • Elizabeth Leads the Way - Children's Lit Love -

    This has been one of my favorites since my classroom days. Opening with “What would you do if someone told you you can’t be what you want to be because you are a girl?” this is the story of Elizabeth Cady, a pioneer in the fight for women’s rights, beginning with women’s right to vote. She even ran for Congress more than 50 years before women were allowed to vote! Be sure to read the Author’s Note for fascinating information about Stanton’s life. Ages 6-10, but appropriate younger, too.

  • Sofia Valdez, Future Prez - Children's Lit Love -

    From the creators of Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist comes Sofia Valdez, a young go-getter who dreams of making her town a better place. How many times are children told that they can’t do something simply because of their age? This happens to Sofia, too, but rather than let others’ responses hold her back, she moves forward with a determination to create a better community. Doors are shut to her and people dismiss her, but she perseveres and reaches her goal (with the support of the loving community that is so important in resilience). Also featured on both our courage and resilience booklists. Ages 5-8, but also fun younger. (Fans of Sofia should also check out the newly released chapter book Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote, an engaging and extremely informative book about a vote for a class pet).

  • If I Were President - Children's Lit Love -

    Though this was published more than 20 years ago, If I Were President covers a very diverse cast of children all imagining what it would be like to be president. From the silly (being able to go bowling without leaving your house!) to the serious (being in charge of all the armed forces), your kids eyes will be opened to all that comes with the job of President! Ages 4-8.

The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents book
5.0
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The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents
Written by Kate Messner and Adam Rex
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
A neat companion to So You Want to Be President?, The Next President highlights the lives of our presidents through Trump before they were presidents. Readers learn what some presidents were doing during their childhood when Washington was inaugurated, that Herbert Hoover was managing a gold-mining operation in Australia in 1897, when William McKinley moved into the White House, and that when he was a boy, Dwight D. Eisenhower worked at his father’s creamery after school. Messner asserts that statistically speaking, there are probably 10 future presidents alive right now… What might they be doing? Ages 8-12.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

An inspiring and informative book for kids about the past and future of America’s presidents.

Who will be the NEXT president? Could it be you? When George Washington became the first president of the United States, there were nine future presidents already alive in America, doing things like practicing law or studying medicine.

When JFK became the thirty-fifth president, there were 10 future presidents already alive in America, doing things like hosting TV shows and learning the saxophone.

And right now—today!—there are at least 10 future presidents alive in America. They could be playing basketball, like Barack Obama, or helping in the garden, like Dwight D. Eisenhower. They could be solving math problems or reading books. They could be making art—or already making change.

• A breezy, kid-friendly survey of American history and American presidents
• Great for teachers, librarians, and other educators
• Kate Messner’s nonfiction picture books have been lauded by critics and received a variety of awards.

For young readers and students who loved The New Big Book of Presidents, Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare, and Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents.

A helpful addition to curriculums of 5th- to 8th-grade students studying U.S. History and civics and the federal government.

• For readers ages 8–12
• U.S. history for kids
• Students, librarians, teachers
• 5th–8th-grade kids

From award-winning author Kate Messner and New York Times bestselling artist Adam Rex comes a timely and compelling compendium about the U.S. presidents—before they were presidents.

Kate Messner is an award-winning author whose many books for kids have been selected as Best Books by the New York Times, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family.

Adam Rex is the author and illustrator of many beloved picture books and novels, including Nothing Rhymes with Orange and the New York Times bestseller Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. He has worked with the likes of Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, Jeff Kinney, and Neil Gaiman. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles book
5.0
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Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles
Written by Mara Rockliff & illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
Women were granted the right to vote 100 years ago, in 1920. Four years before that, though, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke left New York City to drive 10,000 miles to talk to people about allowing women to vote. Bright, whimsical, and inspiring, this is one to read to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women being able to vote. Ages 5-8.
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Recommend Ages: 5-8

The author of Mesmerized delivers another fascinating glimpse into history, this time the story of two brave suffragists on a trek across America to spread the word: Votes for Women! In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City in a little yellow car, embarking on a bumpy, muddy, unmapped journey ten thousand miles long. They took with them a teeny typewriter, a tiny sewing machine, a wee black kitten, and a message for Americans all across the country: Votes for Women! The women’s suffrage movement was in full swing, and Nell and Alice would not let anything keep them from spreading the word about equal voting rights for women. Braving blizzards, deserts, and naysayers–not to mention a whole lot of tires stuck in the mud–the two courageous friends made their way through the cities and towns of America to further their cause. One hundred years after Nell and Alice set off on their trip, Mara Rockliff revives their spirit in a lively and whimsical picture book, with exuberant illustrations by Hadley Hooper bringing their inspiring historical trek to life.

I Voted: Making a Choice Makes a Difference book
5.0
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I Voted: Making a Choice Makes a Difference
Written by Mark Shulman & illustrated by Serge Bloch
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
Shulman equates how children make choices every single day to the voting process, and reminds children that sometimes they’re the only one voting and they get what they want, but other times a group is voting and the results go the other way. He then lets children know that adults go through the same process to vote for local, state, and nationwide representation and laws. Shulman includes detailed back matter about voting, how our democracy works (including the 3 branches of government), and what children can do to be involed on Election Day. Ages 4-8.
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Recommend Ages: 4-8

With the next presidential election upon us, this witty, nonpartisan book will help explain the concept of voting to the youngest readers.

I Voted explains the concept of choosing, individually, and as a group, from making a simple choice: “Which do you like better, apples or oranges?”, to selecting a class pet, to even more complicated decisions, like electing community representatives.

You may not always get want you want, but there are strategies to better your odds!

Serge Bloch’s effortless and charming illustrations paired with Mark Shulman’s funny and timely text create a perfect resource for discussing current events with your children.

Backmatter includes information about the United States electoral process.

A Junior Library Guild Selection!

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Lillian's Right to Vote book
5.0
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Lillian's Right to Vote
Written by Jonah Winter & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
Meet Lillian, who is 100 years old in 1965. Her great grandparents were slaves, but thanks to the 15th Amendment, her great grandfather can vote in 1870. The joy didn’t last long for her family, though, because her grandfather wasn’t able to pay the poll tax when he tried to vote, her uncle couldn’t answer the voting “test” questions, her mother was chased away from registering to vote by an angry mob… But now it’s 1965, and Lillian is ready to vote. Walk with her to the polls as she reflects on all she, her family, and her friends have experienced in her 100 years. Be sure to check out the Author’s Note. Ages 5-9, though I’d skew to the older end of this range and higher due to length and content.
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Recommend Ages: 5-9

A 50th anniversary tribute to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 finds an elderly woman reflecting on her family’s history, from the passage of the 15th Amendment through her participation in the protest march from Selma to Montgomery.

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Equality's Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America book
5.0
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Equality's Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America
Written by Deborah Diesen
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
With a repeated refrain of “A right isn’t right / Till it’s granted to all,” Equality’s Call walks young audiences through a brief, age-appropriate history of voting rights in America, layering in group by group of voters as they gained the right to vote. Diesen also connects the right to vote today to the hard work that went to get us here, a touching point for readers young and old to remember. Ages 3-8.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Learn all about the history of voting rights in the United States--from our nation's founding to the present day--in this powerful picture book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Pout-Pout Fish.
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