8 Children’s Books About Civic Engagement Jump-start a conversation about the presidency, democracy and good citizenship before next week's election

8 Children's Books about Civic Engagement
Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

Election Day is almost here, and children in the DC area—everywhere, really—can feel the excitement (and tension) in the air. After a year of uncertainties, kids may have a lot of questions and even some worry about what’s to come on Nov. 3.

To help parents start engaging, age-appropriate conversations about democracy, the early literacy nonprofit Reading Partners has curated a list of children’s books about civic engagement as part of its #RiseUpForReading2020 campaign. Here are 8 books you’ll want to read to your kids before—and after—next week’s election.

‘Grace for President’

By Kelly DiPucchio

Grace is shocked to learn that there has never been a woman president, so she decides to think locally and enter her school’s election. Through Grace, children learn about responsible campaigning practices, election conventions, the Electoral College and voting. Spoiler alert: Grace wins!

‘Duck for President’

By Doreen Cronin

Fans of “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” will enjoy catching up with their friends from Famer Brown’s farm. Duck wants to make a change on the farm, so he runs for elected office after elected office until he becomes president. Once in charge, Duck gains a true appreciation for how much work goes into being a leader.

‘What’s the Big Deal About Elections’

By Rubi Shamir

This informational text shares fun and important facts about elections in a way kids can understand. This book covers everything why elections are held on certain days, when different types of people became able to vote, how political parties are formed and more.

‘Lillian’s Right to Vote’

By Jonah Winter

A celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, this book recalls the policies and discrimination that prevented African Americans from voting until that point. The story is told through 100-year-old Lillian as she walks to the ballot box to cast her vote for the very first time.

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‘If I Ran for President’

By Catherine Stier

It’s not easy getting to the Oval Office. This book explores what it takes to become president, including the importance of understanding of the challenges facing the country and all of its people. Children will learn the vocabulary of the election process and gain an appreciation of the president’s enormous responsibility.

‘When You Grow Up to Vote’

By Eleanor Roosevelt

In this classic from 1932, the former first lady describes the roles of our elected officials, explains each citizen’s role in a democracy and discusses why voting is so important. The book has been updated with illustrations to make it more inclusive.

‘What Can a Citizen Do?’

By Dave Eggers

Learning how to be a good citizen is a skill that will stay with kids for the rest of their lives. This illustrated book explores why we each have a responsibility to be active and involved in our communities. Readers will be inspired to join a cause, speak up for what’s right or write letters in an effort to change the world.

‘Bold and Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote’

By Kirsten Gillibrand

Children will learn about ten American women who worked tirelessly for women’s rights from a sitting United Senator who is blazing a path for today’s girls to hold seats in the highest positions in government. This book focuses on the work of bold, brave activists and suffragists across history and looks optimistically to the future.


About Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie is a DC mother of four, attorney, photographer and writer.

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