Today’s children are destined to become tomorrow’s leaders, and although election season is behind us, there is no better time to help your child understand the dynamics of our political world than now. Children’s literature provides a safe, imaginative space for young minds to learn about complex issues, including politics.
Here are ten books about our government, policies, and leaders, for children of all ages, that can help get the conversation started:
by Doreen Cronin
Preschoolers who dream of becoming president one day will love this picture book from Doreen Cronin. Duck is not too pleased with how things are going on the farm, so he campaigns and beats the farmer by a landslide in the barnyard election. But leading the farm is a lot of work, so Duck decides to run for governor. He finds overseeing the state equally as tiring. When he finally ends up in the White House, he realizes that being president isn’t as joyful as he thought it would be. Politics requires quacks of effort and time. Much more than he ever imagined. Does he stick it out or go back to the pond?
Leading the farm is a lot of work, so Duck decides to run for governor. He finds overseeing the state equally as tiring. When he finally ends up in the White House, he realizes that being president isn’t as joyful as he thought it would be. Politics requires quacks of effort and time. Much more than he ever imagined. Does he stick it out or go back to the pond?
by Joan Holub
Little ones can learn all about the United States presidents with this fun and collaborative board book featuring memorable rhymes and caricatures. Across its colorful pages are ten of America’s most memorable commanders-in-chief including George Washington and John Adams, among others. As one reviewer said, “Thanks to this appealing primer, the presidents have quickly entered the family lexicon. This was a fantastic way to explain what was happening, talk about the structure and functions of our government, and introduce them to abstract concepts like history, representation, accountability, public service, legacy, duty, and respecting differences.”
As one reviewer said, “Thanks to this appealing primer, the presidents have quickly entered the family lexicon. This was a fantastic way to explain what was happening, talk about the structure and functions of our government, and introduce them to abstract concepts like history, representation, accountability, public service, legacy, duty, and respecting differences.”
by Innosanto Nagara
“A is for Activist” is the perfect little board book with a powerful message about activism, environmental justice, equality, and civil rights. The book is ideal for parents to explore and share their values with their children. Full of vibrant illustrations and witty prose, “A is for Activist” will spark a sense of civic pride in young readers.
by Dr. Seuss
“The Butter Battle Book” was first published in 1984, during the latter part of the Cold War of the mid-1980s. In true form, Dr. Seuss tackles a universal and evergreen social issue, in this case, intolerance, and spins it into fun, enlightening terms that every kid can understand. He details the plight between the Yooks and the Zooks, as tension mounts between the feuding sides. Can they amicably settle their “governmental” differences without destroying the world?
by Lynne Cheney
Written by Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Richard Cheney, “America: A Patriotic Primer” celebrates the individuals, events, and principals that framed our great nation. Each entry features a letter of the alphabet along with a featured person, place, or concept such as “T is for Tolerance” and “U is for United States.” Ink, watercolor washes, and colored-pencil illustrations will capture a child’s attention as they learn a variety of important historical lessons.
by Barack Obama
“In characteristically measured prose, the 44th President introduces 13 American icons and heroes as exemplars of personal virtues, from Georgia O’Keeffe (creativity) and Jackie Robinson (courage) to Helen Keller (strength) and Cesar Chavez (inspiration),” says School Library Journal. Written as a tribute to his daughters, President Barack Obama pens a poignant, heartfelt letter of praise and recognition—inspiring all children to think how they can make a positive contribution to society.
by Debbie Levy
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an important political figure who symbolizes the words “justice” and “truth.” “I Dissent” serves as a great introduction to our Supreme Court, highlighting the journey and accomplishments of Justice Ginsburg – one of only four women ever appointed to the highest court in our nation. “The writing is appropriately succinct for its intended audience and is nicely complemented by Baddeley’s richly illustrated cartoonish drawings. The use of colorful and bold typography to highlight words such as protest, object, dissent, disagree, and agree injects life into the work,” says School Library Journal.
by the Smithsonian Institution
Brought to life by the Smithsonian Institution,” here is a fun and insightful look at every U.S. president to date. Fully updated for 2017, “The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia” peeks at the lives, hobbies, careers, homes, deaths, and everything in between of our nation’s highest officeholders – from the quintessential Washington to the controversial Trump. The tidbits on each president will surprise, humor, and enlighten any reader.
With an introduction written by Caroline Kennedy and an afterword by David Eisenhower, this handy pocket guide to the U.S. Constitution breaks down our country’s most important document into clear, understandable terms. A suitable read for both middle and high-school aged children.
by George Orwell
The only book on the list meant specifically for older teens and young adults, “1984,” written in 1948, was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. “Newspeak, doublethink, thoughtcrime – in ‘1984’ Orwell created a whole vocabulary of words concerning totalitarian control that have since passed into our common vocabulary. More importantly, he has portrayed a chillingly credible dystopia,” says one Amazon Reviewer.
Which books about politics have you read with your child? Share in the comments!
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