I’ve updated my elections picture book list for 2020. Some of these reviews are my original reviews from 2012 because they capture the feelings about the book so much better than if I re-wrote the book reviews. I hope these picture books about elections help you prepare for the election as well as discuss it after the fact. Sometimes books like these are even more beneficial after the event, like the election once preschoolers have witnessed their family vote, watch the outcome, and talk about it at home. Here are some great picture books about elections and presidents for preschool.
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Picture Books About Elections and Presidents – Updated for 2020
Sofia Valdez Future Prez by Andrea Beatty is a great story about how people get involved in politics because they see a problem that needs fixing. Sophia Valdez has a problem she wants to fix and finds a way to do it. I love how the author uses zippy rhyming text to tell a great story and explain how the political process works. The focus on bettering your community is on target too!
George Washington’s Teeth
by Deborah Chandra and Madeline Comora is a funny telling of how George Washington got those famous false teeth. I like so much about this book and what my son did too is it also tells the story of the Revolutionary War. I think this book’s brilliant thing is it shows that George Washington wasn’t the superhero that he is often portrayed as. This makes him, his story, and American history in general way more accessible to young kids. I can’t ignore the really fantastic tertiary lesson about dental hygiene as well.
Duck for President
Doreen Cronin is probably the first book most teachers will mention when you ask for a picture book about elections. It’s a great book about a duck who overthrows his farmer and ends up moving up in politics until he is elected President. With each step on the political ladder, Duck realizes that he doesn’t like the job and wants something better, only to discover that with each move up, the workload increases too. I love that that teaches readers that being a leader isn’t about being the bossy one but rather having the most responsibility. My son got that immediately, and it opened a good dialog about what he thought being President really is like. I also love the book because only the adults will appreciate a good dose of humor.
Grace for President
by Kelly DiPucchio is fantastic. The very best part of this book is on the first page when the main character, a little girl named Grace, exclaims, ” Where are the girls?” in response to her teacher hanging up a poster of all the presidents. If I wasn’t in a tent in the backyard while reading this with my son, I would have stood up and given Grace a standing ovation. I can’t wait to read this to my daughter in a few years. I love how shocked she is, and I was really happy that my son was surprised as well. Grace decides to run for president in the mock election for her grade at school and be the change. My love for this book doesn’t end with the wonderful example of basic feminism because next up, the author tackles something oh so tricky; The Electoral College. The author does a great job explaining what can be a very confusing system used for American presidential elections, and I bet more than a few parents reading this to their kids will get something out of it too. The story of Grace and her own campaign is sweet, but the brilliance of this story is the complex lessons broken down so well for a young audience.
V is for Voting by Kate Farrell is a progressive alphabet book that uses every letter of the alphabet to encourage and empower future voters. While this book is in the format of an alphabet book, I’d reserve it for 5 or older in group settings because the words require explanation and are too good not to stop and talk about, which would be too long for most younger kids. Totally doable one on one, but not for groups. I love this book.
Amelia Bedelia’s First Vote
by Herman Parish wasn’t my favorite book about elections, but my son really liked it. Amelia Bedelia is smaller and younger in this picture book than the easy reader books you may know her from but still taking everything literally, which kids just love. The story is a simple one about a class that gets to establish a new school rule, but first, they must decide on a new rule. Amelia Bedelia’s teacher takes suggestions from the class, and then the next day, they vote, but it’s a tie! My favorite part of the book is when a child who is homesick sends in an absentee vote via a phone call, and in the end, the children decide to have homework-free Wednesdays.
What Presidents Are Made Of
by Hanoch Piven is a simple book that brings together a collection of presidential anecdotes that will probably make you laugh more than your kids but trust me, they’ll still enjoy it. It humanizes iconic figures we know and makes readers curious to learn even more about these great men. The collage-style illustrations are fun and quite funny as well.
Presidents’ Day by Anne Rockwell is a perfect introduction to presidents, some of their major accomplishments, and some major points in American history. The story follows a class putting on a play, and we learn about some of the most significant presidents as the children do. Even if President’s Day is months away, you can use this book while learning about money, linking the various presidents on coins and bills, or for Independence day too! Very cute and age-appropriate for older preschoolers.
by Lane Smith is a sweet story about a little girl who equates her life and daily routine with that of the President. My favorite part of the book was when it’s explained that a president must choose a cabinet. Her cabinet is comprised of some real positions like Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense and some not like Secretary of Fantasy and Secretary of Pizza. While reading it with my son, I had him guess real or not. The book also introduced my 5-year-old to the word veto, which was fun for about 2 minutes. He’s since learned in our family I am the one with veto power. I really like this book because it breaks down what the President does into a child’s daily life and the best way to get kids interested in something is to make them relate to it.
Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote by Tanya Lee Stone made me teary-eyed. If you aren’t familiar with Elizabeth Cady Staton, grab this book because not only will it catch you up on the life of this women’s rights activist, it will also let you feel her sense of justice and determination. I wrote down the quote, “I wasn’t interested in easy.” which was in reference to her father saying she should have been born a boy so she would fit in better but is a great quote for anything and anyone. Sadly in the years since I first read this book, I have learned more about this suffragette and her racist views. I have decided to use books like this to talk about the need for intersectionality and start that discussion with kids. “She fought for women to vote, but it was white middle-class women she was fighting for. Who should she have been fighting for?”
Otto Runs For President
by Rosemary Wells is a story I think most any adult can relate to in one way or another. It’s the story of a school election that is less about the issues and more about popularity and fancy campaigns. That is until Otto decides to run. The message is very clear that elections should not be about being popular or buying votes with favors but about listening to your voters and trying to make the word ( or school) a better place. That is what Otto does, and unlike many of the school elections I voted in, popularity doesn’t win out.
Mr. President Goes to School by Rick Walton is such a cute book that we really enjoyed. The book is not so much about the school as it is about how complicated adult problems can get, and you can imagine how big they get for the President of The United States. First of all, I have to say I loved that when we started reading it, my son said, “The President should be Black.” I love that my son has no idea that there was a time when people didn’t think that could or should happen. Okay, proud moment aside, the story follows Mr. President. He escapes his duties trying to make peace between Eastern European leaders and heads back to his old kindergarten class to remember what it’s all about. Of course, he ends up going back and using all the things he learned in kindergarten to make peace between the two leaders. I mean, who can start a war with someone they’ve done the hokey pokey with? I like the message, and the book is cute and can be a great tool to show kids how lucky they are they get to go to kindergarten; even the President wishes he could go back!