8 recently released children's books highlight the election process, past presidents, other political figures
Posted November 2, 2016
Updated November 3, 2016
With Election Day a week away, political discussion is filling the airwaves, newspapers, social media websites and even children’s books.
Here is a list of eight recently released children’s books that discuss the election process, past presidents and other well-known political figures.
Young children may have heard of the president of the United States, but do they know what exactly he does?
“P is for President” is a well-written, informative picture book that gives an overview of what the president does and what it takes to fill the job. It is sprinkled with important facts, such as a president must be at least 35 years old, be a U.S. citizen and is elected for a four-year term. Other fun facts along the way include occupations of former presidents and animals that they have brought as pets to live in the White House. The book also briefly explains the process of electing a president.
With its bright illustrations and phrasing that makes the concepts easy for children to understand, this book provides a great introduction for children of what it means to be president of the United States.
“YOUR PRESIDENTIAL FANTASY DREAM TEAM,” by Daniel O’Brien, illustrated by Winston Rowntree, Crown Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 272 pages (nf) (ages 10 and up)
Forget superheroes — in “Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team,” it’s former presidents that save the day.
“Whether you’re forming an action team to defend the planet or just putting together a group of presidents to pull off some kind of grand scheme, every good team needs Brains, Brawn, a Loose Cannon, a Moral Compass and a Roosevelt,” the introduction to the book states.
Thirty-nine different chapters cover each of the deceased former presidents of the United States and include a summary of key facts, such as presidential term, political party, family information and a fun fact, as well as a detailed account of what each man accomplished during his presidency. The chapters end with an “Official Fantasy Dream Team Rating,” indicating whether that president would be a good pick for Brains, Brawn, a Loose Cannon, a Moral Compass or a Roosevelt.
Author/illustrator Daniel O’Brien writes in an engaging style that makes history fun for young readers.
“This Little President” is a board book primer aimed at giving children an introduction into a few of the men who have held the title of president.
With bright illustrations and rhyming prose, young readers will learn about presidents such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. Each spread highlights a few things that the president was known for and a fact, such as Lincoln was the tallest president and Grant made Christmas a federal holiday.
Though many board books are aimed at children ages 3 and younger, the information in this book makes it more appropriate for preschool-aged children.
Isabella knows how to debate. After all, she’s learned from the best: She knows all about the first female mayor, the first female Supreme Court judge, the first Cabinet member and more.
As Isabella waits for the time of an exciting event to arrive, she takes on the roles of several female trailblazers in U.S. government, including Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first female governor; Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court.
Although the references to the historical women in the story are cursory, a timeline at the back of the book includes additional information about each woman and her milestone achievement, as well as additional information about the history of women in politics in the United States.
Who says a dog can’t be president of the United States?
One little boy named Hunter is nominating his dog, Buddy, as the next president. After all, Buddy loves to be outside, helps others, is a born leader and promises to unite dogs and people “like no president has before.”
While the book doesn’t do much to teach kids about how the election process actually works, this is a fun read that will surely get them to consider the “what if.” But it’s Hans Wilhelm’s bright and zany watercolor illustrations that really elevate this offering.
Every president of the United States has faced his fair share of challenges, both personal and national. But according to the introduction to Suzanne Tripp Jurmain’s “Nice Work, Franklin!” President Franklin D. Roosevelt “coped with two of the biggest, meanest, toughest challenges ever”: his paralysis and the Great Depression.
Jurmain gives readers a taste of Roosevelt's ambition in the face of adversity, and Larry Day’s illustrations, created with Wolff pencil and watercolor with gouache, take readers into his life.
The book briefly covers FDR’s early life and continues through his first term, but an author’s note at the end gives additional insight into the rest of his time in office. It is written in celebration of both his life and his political policies, but the most prevalent message encourages readers to keep trying and keep working no matter what.
“SNOOPY FOR PRESIDENT!” by Charles Schulz, adapted by Maggie Testa, illustrated by Scott Jeralds, Simon Spotlight, $3.99 (f) (ages 3-7)
Both Pigpen and Linus have decided to run for class president, but when each decides to take a picture with Snoopy to attract voters, Snoopy hatches an idea of his own: He’s going to run for class president too. And in true Lucy fashion, Lucy is doing everything she can to make sure her favorite candidate — her little brother Linus — is going to win.
Charles Schulz’s well-known and beloved characters make this picture book instantly likable for both parents and children.
According to “I Dissent” by Debbie Levy, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has “made a big difference … one disagreement at a time.”
The book details much of Ginsburg’s life, from the accomplishments she has achieved, including being one of only nine women in her law school class, to the obstacles she has overcome, including her mother dying just days before her high school graduation.
Levy writes from a perspective that is obviously in favor of Ginsburg’s decisions, but regardless of whether one agrees with Ginsburg, the picture book shows how she has undoubtedly had an impact on the nation. Several important life lessons and values are also highlighted in the book, such as being kind to those who disagree with you and fighting for what you believe in, and Elizabeth Baddeley’s illustrations bring the story to life.