VOTING AND ELECTIONS

The titles listed below provide information about elections and voting in reader-accessible formats. For books, websites, and activities related to women's suffrage, see the birthdate of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12).

 

Bandy, Michael S. & Stein, Eric.  Granddaddy's Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box.
Illus. by James E. Ransome.  Candlewick, 2015.  Gr. 2-5
Michael worked hard on his grandfather's farm, though no one worked harder than granddaddy himself. It was a great day when African Americans were granted the right to vote, and beaming with pride, Granddaddy dressed up in a suit and went to town to cast his ballot. Unfortunately, when he had to admit he could not read, he was sent away. The remainder of the story features Michael determined to vote for him some day. Realistic watercolor illustrations complement an accessible text about the injustices associated with voting rights in the South.

Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta.  Ballots for Belva.  Illus. by Courtney A. Martin.  Abrams, 2008.  Gr. 2-5.
Although women did not yet have the vote, Belva Lockwood ran for president in 1884. She waged a powerful campaign, against all odds, gained respect AND votes. She lost to Grover Cleveland, but made a statement for the potential of women as political figures. Additional information in an author’s note, a timeline of the women’s suffrage movement, a glossary, and bibliography are appended. Colorful paintings depict her determination.

Barnes, Peter W.  Woodrow for President: A Tail of Voting, Campaigns, and Elections.  Illus. by Cheryl Shaw Barnes.  VSP Books, 1999.  Gr. 2-5
Rhyming text explains the process of how Woodrow, a mouse, gets to the White House as he is elected president of the United Mice of America.

Battle-Lavert, Gwendolyn.  Papa’s Mark.  Illus. by Colin Bootman.  Holiday House, 2003.  Gr. 2-5
The 15th Amendment had passed; however, as explained in the author’s note, poll taxes, literacy tests, and other obstacles prevented African Americans from voting. Complemented by lovely oil paintings, this is the story of young Simms who helps his father learn to read and write his name so that he can sign his name instead of an “X” to get his ballot.

Christelow, Eileen.  Vote!  Clarion, 2003.  Gr. 2-5
Issues related to voting and elections, including the actual process, political rallies, debates, fund-raising, and even ballot recounts, are addressed in this highly accessible text in which a woman is running for mayor. Two dogs provide the commentary and the humor (and a few facts, too!). A timeline, glossary, and resource list are appended.

Clanton, Ben.  Vote for Me!  Kids Can, 2012.  Gr. K-3
A blue donkey and red elephant take up their causes in a humorous display of political rhetoric. TV viewers of the endless campaign advertising will find this book amusing, and teachers might use it in discussions of media literacy.

Cronin, Doreen.  Duck for President.  Illus. by Betsy Lewin.  Atheneum, 2008.  Gr. K-3 (reissued with new cover art)
Duck, the schemer from Click Clack Moo, is tired of his mundane chores on the farm and decides he wants to be in charge. He successfully wins the barnyard election and sets his sights higher…to the governorship…and on to the presidency. The result of an excellent campaign, Duck wins. It isn’t long before he discovers that being president is more than he anticipated, and he steps down. Lots of humor in the text and illustrations.

DiPucchio, Kelly.  Grace for President.  Illus. by LeUyen Pham.  Hyperion, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
Dismayed that a woman has never been president, Grace decides to run in a classroom election. Her opponent is formidable, but she wages a campaign and creates a platform. Through the process of the Electoral College, Grace wins. The illustrations feature an enthusiastic multicultural group of children (Grace is African American). The narrative describes the Electoral College on a level that younger children can understand, and an appended note provides more detail.

English, Karen.  Nikki and Deja: Election Madness.  Illus. by Laura Freeman.  Clarion, 2011.
Gr. 3-5
Third grader Deja wants to be student body president and enlists the aid of her best friend Nikki to manage her campaign. Deja's personality becomes a bit overwhelming, however, and she must deal with the consequences of her actions.

Feiffer, Kate.  President Pennybaker.  Illus. by Diane Goode.  Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2008.  Gr. K-3
Overwhelmed by school and chores, Luke Pennybaker decides to run for president on a “Be Fair” platform. With his dog as a running mate, he starts collecting pennies and goes on a nation-wide campaign. Luke wins the election, but being president isn’t quite the experience he thought it would be.

Granfield, Linda.  America Votes: How Our President Is Elected.  Illus. by Steve Bjorkman.  Kids Can Press, 2003.  Gr. 4-6.
An informative text explains the presidential election process, including its history, in a straightforward manner, supplemented by cheerful cartoon-like drawings.

Goodman, Susan E.  See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White House.  Illus. by Elwood H. Smith.  Bloomsbury, 2008.  Gr. 4-8
Humorous illustrations and a clear text provide information about elections from history to present day. Tidbits in sidebars and photographs enhance the presentation.

Krosoczka, Jarrett J.  Max for President.  Knopf, 2004.  Gr. K-2
In this introduction to the process of how campaigns work, Max and Kelly both run for class president. They put up posters, distribute buttons, and make promises. In the end, Kelly wins and chooses Max for her vice president. Cheery illustrations with lots of red, white, and blue.

Krull, Kathleen.  A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull.  Illus. by Jane Dyer. Walker, 2004.  Gr. 3-6
An advocate for women’s rights and the first woman to run for president (in 1872), this picture book biography of Victoria Woodhull paints a fascinating picture of her life (without some of the more scandalous episodes). Realistic watercolor illustrations reflect the spirit of the times.

Moss, Marissa.  Vote 4 Amelia.  Simon & Schuster, 2007.  Gr. 4-6
In her journal, middle school student Amelia records her thoughts and feelings about running for student-body secretary. The race isn’t always pleasant, and Amelia learns some valuable lessons about what can be the unfortunate side of elections. Clever cartoon drawings illustrate the journal entries.

Parish, Herman.  Amelia Bedelia 4 Mayor.  Illus. by Lynn Sweat.  HarperCollins, 1999.  Gr. 1-3
The popular, literal-minded maid “runs” for mayor is this entry into the series when her employer complains that the mayor never follows through on his promises. Lots of plays on word, typical of Amelia, as she “throws her hat in the ring” and wages a campaign.

Parish, Herman.  Amelia Bedelia's First Vote.  Illus. by Lynne Avril.  Greenwillow, 2012.  Gr. K-2
Amelia Bedelia is a first grader in this new picture book series based on the beloved character and about to encounter her first school election. And, is she ever excited!! There is the usual confusion of words and phrases, but readers will learn something about the voting process.

Smith, Lane.  Madam President.  Hyperion, 2008.  Gr. K-3
Hilarious illustrations enhance this story of a little girl who dreams what her day would be like if she were president. Readers will appreciate how her sense of power and influence would change her life at home and at school.

Sobel, Syl.  Presidential Elections: And Other Cool Facts.  Barron’s, 2001. Gr. 4-8
Information about electing the president, including campaigns and the electoral college, is presented in a reader-friendly format. Trivia about presidents in history are sprinkled throughout.

Stier, Catherine.  If I Ran for President.  Illus. by Lynne Avril.  Albert Whitman, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
Six children explain different aspects of the election process as if they were running for president. Cartoon-like illustrations reinforce the concepts.

Teague, Mark.  LaRue for Mayor: Letters from the Campaign Trail.  Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
When hard-nosed mayoral candidate Bugwort promises to crack down on free-roaming dogs, Ike decides to run for mayor himself. Through letters to Mrs. LaRue, newspaper accounts, and over-sized illustrations that depict Ike’s antics, readers learn about his campaign. As luck would have it, Ike rescues Bugwort when he collapses at a political rally and saves the day for all the dogs.

Wells, Rosemary.  Otto Runs for President.  Scholastic, 2008.  Gr. K-2
It’s time for elections at Barkadelphia School, and two popular dogs with lots of money are wooing voters using less than scrupulous means. Ordinary dog Otto, on the other paw, asks the students what THEY want for a better school and ultimately wins by a landslide.

Winter, Jonah.  Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Illus. by Shane W. Evans.  Schwartz & Wade, 2015.  Gr. 2-5
Winning the right to vote and protecting that right is underscored in this book about 100-year-old Lillian who climbs a steep hill to cast her ballot. On her way up, she remembers her slave ancestors, her great-grandfather who couldn't pay the poll tax, the impossible literacy tests, the marches to Selma, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Powerful mixed-media illustrations cast Lillian in vibrant colors against a backdrop of muted grays and blues. An author's note provides historical information.

Winters, Kay.  My Teacher for President.  Illus. by Denise Brunkus.  Dutton, 2004.  Gr. K-3
Oliver compares the many qualities that make a good teacher with the kinds of experiences needed to be president. The illustrations provide the humor for his reasoning. Not really a book about voting or elections, but has potential for discussing what makes a good president from a child’s point of view.

Wong, Janet.  Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year.  CreateSpace Independent Publ., 2012.  Gr. 3-6
Twenty poems explore a variety of topics related to our country's system of elections to public office. Writing prompts and a discussion guide are included. An author's note encourages readers to maintain an awareness of the world around them.

Worth, Bonnie.  One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote. (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library).
Illus. by Aristides Ruiz & Joe Mathieu.  Random House, 2016.  Gr. K-3
In simple rhyme, the text introduces readers to the practice of voting. The primary focus is on presidential elections with information on how political parties work and reasons why elections are set up as they are. A glossary is appended. This book is an easy way to teach our electoral process to young children with a familiar character as spokesperson (er…spokescat).

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