Booklist: Electoral Process for the Little Ones in Your Life

Suffice it to say, I'm thrilled that Election Day is finally upon us. For months I've been listening to our children debate about who they would vote for with little actual understanding of what the heck they were talking about...let alone what's actually going on in the electoral process and presidential politics. Somehow I expect that the next few months will bring more questions about what the President actually does and lots more pretend government. To try and educate them a bit we checked out a few books to share and here are the five that we liked the best, ordered by age-appropriateness.

Duck for President: We all enjoyed the tale of Duck; it was engaging for my three year old while still making some good points to my Kindergardener. It frames election information in the story of duck who somehow manages to run for Mayor, Governor, and finally President. He decides that each job is just too much work, but the course of the story conveys a good deal of information about what elections are at various levels of government. Super cute, too!

Madam President:
Rather than focusing on the electoral side, this story focuses on the role of President by telling the story of a little girl imagining her day as future President. She issues an executive order to order her breakfast, while vetoing her school's hot lunch offerings. Throw in a few Secret Service agents and the need to handle a crisis (her bedroom), and it really introduces the idea of what our President does.

Grace for President: While Duck and Madam President were suitable for the preschool set, Grace addresses the idea of elections more directly and is better for school-aged kids. When Grace discovers that there have been no female Presidents she instigates a school-wide election and enters herself. The book addresses some solid social issues as well as elucidating the workings of campaigns and elections. Of course, I still had to explain why there haven't been any female presidents!

If I Ran for President and If I Were President: These are also most appropriate for school-aged kids. Rather than presenting the information in a story format, each provides its information in a narrative about campaigns and elections (the first), and the roles and responsibilities of the President (the latter). The information is presented very simply and was easy for my Kindergardener to understand, although some of the finer points would elicit more discussion from older school-aged kids. All in all, each was very worthwhile.
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