Use Children's Books to Teach About Elections: Ten Books Get Our Vote!
The presidential elections are just around the corner, so teachers may want to check out this list of ten books to help students learn about elections and the election process. Included: Books for students of all ages!
This year's presidential elections offer teachers a unique opportunity to teach youngsters about character, leadership, and the meaning of participatory government. Teachers might use the ten books listed below to help to illuminate those issues. Any of the books would make excellent additions to a school or classroom library; most would be great as "read alouds" or to prompt discussion about the upcoming elections.
Each book is listed and then briefly described. Approximate age ranges are listed too.
The Ballot Box Battle, by Emily Arnold McCully
From Caldecott medalist Emily Arnold McCully comes the inspiring story of Cordelia, a young girl whose relationship with her neighbor, the great suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, inspires her to a remarkable act of courage.
Robin Hill School: Election Day, by Margaret McNamera
It’s Election Day in Mrs. Connor’s class for a new class president. All of the candidates make big promises (gum ball machines, longer school vacations and more). Then, Mrs. Connor asks if anyone else would like to say something, looking right at new student Becky. Becky speaks, saying that she can’t guarantee any of the big promises of her competitors, but she will do her best. It’s a good early reader for talking about election promises.
My Teacher for President, by Kay Winters and Denise Brunkus
What makes a good president? Oliver knows, and he thinks it’s a lot of the same things that make a good teacher. So, the boy writes a letter to his local newspaper explaining why his teacher should be president. It’s a cute and easy to understand book that shows the comparisons in illustrations and words.
Duck for President, by Doreen Cronin
This award-winning follow up to Click, Clack, Moo follows Duck from pond to farmer to governor to presidency. It’s great for early readers since it introduces elections in a very basic and fun way.
See How They Run, by Susan E. Goodman
This book takes election facts covering topics such as the electoral college, political parties and campaigning and presents them in an easy-to-understand, lighter format for kids without diluting the information.
Class President, by Johanna Hurwitz
Julio works to get his good friend Lucas elected class president. Their opponent is Cricket, whose ambition is to be the first female president of the United States. It turns out that Julio shows a natural talent for leadership.
The Day Gogo Went to Vote, by Elinor Batezat Sisulu
In this 1999 Parents' Choice Gold Award winner, young Thembi accompanies her 100-year-old great-grandmother to the polling place in the first all-race elections in South Africa. Infirm and housebound, Gogo is determined to vote and does so with a little help from her community. This story can help younger children understand the importance of the electoral process through its depiction of one woman anxious to vote for the first time in her life.
The Kid Who Ran for President, by Dan Gutman
Twelve-year-old Judson Moon is running for president of the United States! "I must have kissed a zillion babies, said a zillion hellos, shaken a zillion hands," he says. Enough to make him president? Read and find out!
NEATE to the Rescue! by Deborah Newton Chocolate and Wade Hudson
Ages 10 and up
This is the first in a planned series of fiction books dealing with young people's experiences growing up in an urban setting. NEATE is an acronym for Naimah, Elizabeth, Anthony, Tayesha, and Eddie -- five African American middle school friends. When the city council elections turn into a bitter struggle between Naimah's mother, who is up for reelection, and her opponent, an advocate of re-zoning community districts, which would affect African Americans' voting power, Naimah and her pals get involved in the campaign.
Presidential Elections: And Other Cool Facts, by Sylvan A. Sobel, illustrated by Jill Wood
This brand-new book is informative and fun to read. Fascinating facts abound; the book, includes the birthplaces of all the presidents, the story of the presidential election that a major newspaper got wrong, and lots more. For more information, please see the Education World Books in Education article Elections and Our Government -- In Words a Third Grader Can Understand!
Lauren P. Gattilia
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