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Election Day Will Soon Be Here
Election Day will soon be here. Even though they can’t vote yet, it’s important to talk to kids about the importance of voting and how elections work. Here are some good books to get the conversation started. And don’t forget to vote on November 8th!
Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein (Ages 6-9)
A well-told story from the point of view of a man who experienced the excitement of his grandfather voting for the first time during the Civil Rights era. They both dress up in their Sunday best and bring their camera to document the occasion. When the grandfather is ultimately turned away from voting for failing a “literacy test”, his grandson promises one day to vote for him. The occasion stays with the young boy until he is able to honor his grandfather by keeping his promise.
Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff (Ages 5-9)
100 years ago, a little yellow car with two women and a kitten set out across the country to get women the right to vote. Based on a true story, this book is charming and sweet. It tells the story of Alice Burke and Nell Richardson who drove across the United States to bring attention to the women’s suffrage movement. Along the way, they visit different states, the kitten becomes a cat, and they get lost but always find their way. The author pieced together their story from news accounts.
Heart on Fire by Ann Malaspina (Ages 5-9)
A historical story about Susan B. Anthony’s attempt to vote in 1872 and her trial for voting without the having the lawful right to vote. Women were not allowed to vote, which the book calls “Outrageous. Unbelievable. True.” Anthony felt the newly passed 14th Amendment gave her the right to vote as a citizen so she registers to vote. On November 5, 1872, she casts her ballot for President along with 15 other women. On November 18, 1872, Anthony, the women who voted, and the men who let her register and vote were arrested by federal marshals. The book tells the story of Anthony voting and her trial as well as giving a history of the 19th Amendment and the female suffrage movement.
Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak (Ages 2-6)
This is a fun story kids from Czajak’s Monster series (Monster Needs a Costume, Monster Needs His Sleep) that offers opportunities to talk about the Constitution and who can run for President and who can vote for President. Monster is excited to cast his vote but doesn’t know that the 26th Amendment says he can’t vote because he isn’t 18 yet. So he decides to run for President. Planks in his platform include extending summer and making sweets available to everyone. A pie in every pot! When Monster’s ideas aren’t catching on with voters, he gets discouraged. Ultimately Monster learns the Constitution won’t let him run for President until he is 35. He is not sad because he has found an issue he can be passionate about.
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin (Ages 6-8)
Even ducks have presidential aspirations. When Duck gets tired of doing chores on the farm, he holds an election and beats out Farmer Brown to be the Man …. err … Duck in Charge. He still has to do chores on the farm, so he decides to run for Governor. He wins that election too. But he decides that isn’t fun either, so he runs for President. Kids will enjoy seeing Duck campaign for his elections. Adults will enjoy his campaign slogans and recounting of ballots for every election.
Vote for Me by Ben Clanton (Ages 4-8)
Donkey and Elephant want you to vote for them and to really, really not vote for the other one. Donkey has a redonkulously awesome list of reasons why you should vote for him, which leads to actual mud-slinging, name calling, and hurt feelings. They finally agree to be friends only to realize they both have competition in the form of a third party mouse. Clanton’s text and illustrations make this a fun read for both adults and kids.
Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio (Ages 7-10)
Grace is upset when she learns in school that there has never been a woman President. Her teacher proposes a class president election between Grace’s class and another teacher’s class with all the students casting a vote for who they want to win. Each student represents a state and has the number of Electoral College votes that their state has. Grace campaigns hard, but there are more boys than girls – will she lose the election to her boy opponent?
President Pennybaker by Kate Feiffer (Ages 4-8)
Luke Pennybaker runs for President in an effort to make life fair with his dog Lily as his running mate. When asked if he was a Democrat or Republican, Luke replied that he was a member of the Birthday Party. He campaigned for painting the White House orange and wins by a landslide. But Luke feels the pressure of the Oval Office (it isn’t fair!) so he goes back home. Kids will enjoy learning who took his place as President.