It’s a presidential election year! That means campaign posters, campaign ads, televised debates, and election talk all around! While you may not want to dive into certain public policy topics with your elementary schooler, this can be a great opportunity to introduce kids to the electoral process and to explore the make-up of our United States.
One of my all-time favorite books, which also happens to be election themed, is Kelly Dipucchio’s Grace for President. Imagine a Children’s book that tackles campaign tactics, gender issues, AND the electoral college, while still managing to remain enjoyable. Impressive, right? The story begins as Grace Cambell, a spunky third grader, surveys the poster of past presidents and exclaims, “Where are the girls?!” With an eye for teachable moments, Mrs. Barrington and Mr. Waller lead their students through a third grade election where Grace goes head-to-head against Thomas Cobb. Readers follow Grace and Thomas through campaign season, from posters to speeches, until election day where each of the other third graders represents a state and casts their designated number of electoral votes.
Our 50 United States and Other U.S. Lands and Go, Go America can act as a great follow-up, allowing kids to go on a fact-finding trip across the county (all from the comfort of their favorite cozy chair). Did you know that the very first potato planted in the United States was in New Hampshire in 1719? Or that the Pennsylvania Turnpike was the first high-speed, multilane highway in the country? Neither did I! Along with introducing fun facts, these books feature maps that can help to build geographical awareness.
And finally, my former 2nd-grade-Socks-the-cat-loving self couldn’t resist adding Julia Moberg’s Presidential Pets to the list. Kids will love learning about the wide array of animals that have called the White House home, including dogs, cats, alligators, parrots, and even baby tigers.