Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to government. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about government.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about government, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like I Am Abraham Lincoln to popular sellers like Lillian’s Right to Vote to some of our favorite hidden gems like Abe’s Honest Words.
We hope this list of kids books about government can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Granddaddy's Turn - 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.
Free for You and Me: What Our First Amendment Means - It’s a free country! But what does that mean? Find out the five liberties protected by the First Amendment. Vivid examples from history and everyday life demonstrate the meaning of freedom of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights to assemble peacefully and to petition the government.
Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb - A timely picture book biography about Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, who sought the Democratic nomination to be the president of the United States. Shirley Chisholm famously said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” This dynamic biography illuminates how Chisholm was a doer, an active and vocal participant in our nation’s democracy, and a force to be reckoned with. Now young readers will learn about her early years, her time in Congress, her presidential bid and how her actions left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire, uplift, and instruct.
Champions of Change - Stories of powerhouse women who pushed for justice in politics, medicine, art, music, religion, tribal leadership, and more. In fighting to pass the 19th Amendment, brave suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Emmeline B. Wells fought to end laws and take down barriers that prevented them from voting. Champions of Change introduces young readers not only to Anthony and Wells, but also to a diverse group of firsts and freedom-fighters in America’s fight for equality, such as: Zitkala-Sa, co-founder of the National Council of American Indians Martha Hughes Cannon, America’s first female senator Hanna Kaaepa, an advocate for Hawaiian women’s rights Barbara Toomer, who was jailed 35 times for protests that led to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities act and the women of the Kanab City Council, one of the first all-female city councils in the country. This timely collection of mini biographies highlights 25 champions for justice, includes colorful portraitures of each, and presents actual photos of the individuals as well as a quick reference glossary. Naomi Watkins, Ph.D. is an educational consultant, women’s advocate, and community builder. A former middle school English teacher, she specializes in curriculum development and school district consulting. She has been published in international journals such as the The Reading Teacher, Journal of Children’s Literature, TESOL Journal, and Middle School Journal. Katherine Kitterman is the historical director for Better Days 2020, an organization that explores stories of women who shaped Utah’s history. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in American History at American University in Washington, D.C., where she has worked to bring history to life at the Smithsonian Institution, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Woodrow Wilson House. Brooke Smart is an illustrator based in Sandy, Utah, with a BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University. Her illustration clients include the New York Times, Gathre, Better Days 2020, Bravery Magazine, and private commissions. Brook recently won honorable mention in the 2016 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Portfolio Showcase in New York City.
If You're Going to a March - “If you’re going to a march, you’re going to want a sign”—and this cheerful, introductory handbook. Inspired by author Martha Freeman’s own experiences, it addresses many of the questions kids might have: What should I wear? How will I get there? Where can I go to the bathroom? Is it okay to dance? (It is!). All the while the text focuses on our Constitutional right as Americans to assemble . . . whatever our political point of view.
Who Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg? - You’ve probably seen her on t-shirts, mugs, and even tattoos, well, now that famous face graces the cover of our latest Who Is? title. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is famous for her stylish collars (called jabots) and her commanding dissents. This opera-loving New Yorker has always spoken her mind; as a young lawyer, RBG advocated for gender equality and women’s rights when few others did. She gained attention for the cases she won when arguing in front of the Supreme Court, before taking her place on the bench in 1993. Author Patricia Brennan Demuth answers all the question about what makes RBG so notorious and irreplaceable
Our Future - This book profiles ten young activists who are taking on the key issues of our time. These young people from across the globe are raising awareness about what matters to them most. An eleven-year-old boy in Texas kneels with his football teammates during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. A thirteen-year-old girl from the Tla’amin First Nation in British Columbia speaks at the United Nations to raise awareness of water pollution. These activists don’t let their youth stop them from being heard on issues ranging from racism and cyberbullying to gun violence and animal protection.
Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace - As a young girl in Kenya, Wangari was taught to respect nature. She grew up loving the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her—from the giant mugumo trees her people, the Kikuyu, revered to the tiny tadpoles that swam in the river. Although most Kenyan girls were not educated, Wangari, curious and hardworking, was allowed to go to school. There, her mind sprouted like a seed. She excelled at science and went on to study in the United States. After returning home, Wangari blazed a trail across Kenya, using her knowledge and compassion to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land, one tree at a time.
Notorious RBG Young Readers' Edition: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg - The New York Times bestselling biography Notorious RBG—whose concept originated with a Tumblr page of the same name—is now available in a vibrant, full-color young readers’ edition. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become an icon to millions. Her tireless fight for equality and women’s rights has inspired not only great strides in the workforce but has impacted the law of the land. And now, perfect for a younger generation, comes an accessible biography of this fierce woman, detailing her searing dissents and powerful jurisprudence. This entertaining and insightful young readers’ edition mixes pop culture, humor, and expert analysis for a remarkable account of the indomitable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Heroine. Trailblazer. Pioneer.
Everyone Gets a Say - From Jill Twiss and EG Keller, the #1 New York Times bestselling team behind Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo and The Someone New, comes a new picture book about voting, just in time for the 2020 election season! Pudding the snail and his friends can’t seem to agree on anything. Whatever Jitterbug the chipmunk wants, Geezer the goose does not. Whatever Toast the butterfly wants, Duffles and Nudge the otters are absolutely against. And if somehow Toast and Duffles and Jitterbug and Nudge all agree on something, then Geezer is not having it. So when Toast suggests they need a leader, the friends try to figure out the best way to pick someone to be in charge. Should that someone be the fastest? The fluffiest? The squishiest? Or can Pudding show his friends that there just might be a way where everyone gets a say? In this follow-up to The Someone New, Jill Twiss and EG Keller cleverly underscore the importance of speaking up and using your voice.
Go Vote, Baby! - A fun, sturdy novelty board book with 13 sliding doors! Toddlers will love casting their vote as they “slide-and-vote” in everyday situations like striped or polka dot socks in the morning, vanilla or chocolate ice cream at snack time, and many more exciting choices every kid faces throughout the day. This sturdy board book is a great way to encourage toddlers to always cast their votes, despite how ordinary or tiny the decision may seem!
I Voted: Making a Choice Makes a Difference - 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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