Kids Books about Voting, Elections & Washington DC

This week's book list is a collection of great reads for kids about voting, service to our country and our capital city, Washington DC.

Every four years, we have the opportunity to introduce our kids to how the political system works in our country. And while I'm not at all thrilled with any of the candidates this year, I still feel that it's important for the next generation to understand the how's and why's of Election Day.

This can easily be done without actually discussing politics too -- Books are the perfect way to kick-start a discussion and introduce ideas such as voting, the party system, the various layers of our government and how it all fits together.


 

 

Books about Voting, Elections and Washington DC

One of the best ways to introduce a somewhat complicated topic is by using children's books -- for younger kids, picture books about school elections or voting fiascos help to bridge this unfamiliar topic. For older kids (ages 10 and up), nonfiction books that explain the topic or chapter books that weave in political themes will be a welcome way to start a discussion.

Let's face it, the whole election process and party system is confusing (and irritating) to most Americans so I'm sure it's well out of the reach of a child's understanding.  There are so many words and topics related to our electoral system that aren't addressed in schools so much of the learning will happen at home.

But when a topic can be introduced through a story from a picture or chapter book, these important topics suddenly become accessible and more relevant to your child.  The following books are perfect for your library list or story time session in the coming weeks and each includes affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Younger kids will enjoy this detailed but not overwhelming look at our government's structure and voting system in One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library).  I love this series because it takes a familiar figure (the Cat) and weaves in a less familiar topic in small, digestible pieces.  The symbols and history involved in the political structure of our country are explained in a fun and colorful way -- too bad the debates weren't as enjoyable as this book ;)

 

    

Another great way to introduce the concept of elections is using picture books that show voting happens in many areas of society.  In Grace for President, kids will learn how a school election process might look and why candidates are excited to run for office.  

And Duck for President is a humorous look at what happens when Duck (who is tired of doing his chores) runs for the main office on the farm.  Kids will laugh out loud at the lessons learned in this story.

 

This is an awesome book to use to introduce the US Constitution to kids ages 8 and older! We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States has colorful illustrations that quickly bring those BIG words to life in a way that is better understood for kids.  And the funny drawings will be enjoyed by both adults and children as you read.

 

Did you ever think you might be raising a future president?!  It's totally true -- one of our kids will become president one day, right :)  So You Want to Be President?: The Revised and Updated Edition takes readers on a journey through the first 42 of our presidents with funny facts, quips and little known details about each man.  Kids will quickly see the diverse backgrounds and experiences of these great leaders.

 

I always like to include an Early Reader in our book lists when I can -- In Election Day (part of the Robin Hill School series), it's time to elect a new class president.  Each candidate will make a speech about what they intend to do to make the school day better -- and the promises are hilarious!  No homework, a candy machine -- totally discussion-worthy material here!

 

         

Election time is also a wonderful opportunity to introduce kids to our capital city!  Both Journey Around Washington D.C. from A to Z and N Is for Our Nation's Capital: A Washington DC Alphabet are excellent books that take you on an armchair trip through the famous buildings and sites of Washington DC.  These books are super cool in that you can read the main text to young children or read all the details with older kids.  They are also perfect traveling companions if you are planning a trip to DC with your family!

 

There are some really great chapter books that can be read aloud to kids of all ages, or will be enjoyed by kids who read to themselves.  These books engage kids in the story while also weaving in some historical ideas.  And kids will ask questions too -- which is exactly what you want!  Kids that are interested enough to ask questions are receptive to a discussion.

 

Capture the Flag is an engaging mystery that revolves around the theft of a national treasure! 

Any child will connect with at least one of the characters (Anna, Jose & Henry).  And the concept is just so dead-on; whenever I travel with my kids, they are always making new friends and finding things they have in common! While the kids are combing the airport for evidence, the adults are caught up in their own world of politics, media and misrepresentation.  One of the best lines from the book that summarizes the story for me:

"Let's see....three kids sneaking into the baggage-handling department of an airport without an adult going with them or even knowing where they are. Oh! And there's a big guy with a tattoo around here somewhere who may be trying to kill the next president....Can't imagine why you think it's risky."

What kid wouldn't want to learn how this story turns out!  The book also has many opportunities for conversation starters -- how is the media involved in our political system, what historical groups influenced our country, and the concept of 'innocent until proven guilty' are just a few great topics that can be introduced.

 

Each of the books in this series is a mystery revolving around a location in Washington DC. In Capital Mysteries 14: Turkey Trouble on the National Mall, your kids will learn some cool facts and historical stories about the country as they read the books.  Turkey Trouble is great for this time of the year (with Thanksgiving being so close too) and many kids may not be aware of the tradition of the President pardoning a turkey.  My daughter is devouring this series quicker than she eats pie at Thanksgiving :-)  I highly recommend this series to any family planning to visit our Nation's capital. 

These books offer a fun way to learn about some of the traditions and history of our country!  See all the titles in the Capital Mysteries series.  Ronald Roy also writes the popular A to Z Mystery Series that kids adore!!  If you're kids have read those, they will LOVE the Capital Mysteries.

 

This book series combines history, geography and on-the-edge-of-your-seat reading into fun mysteries for kids!  Carole Marsh does an excellent job of weaving humor and education into her fictional stories.

Each book takes place in a famous location -- The Counterfeit Constitution Mystery (Real Kids, Real Places) (Real Kids! Real Places! is set in Washington DC.  There's a problem with the Constitution and the two main character are kids (Christina & Grant) are on the case! Your kids will also enjoy learning some fun facts about the Constitution at the Carol Marsh Mystery website!

 

Explore More Election Day Fun:

In addition to books, there are also some other great resources that help kids learn more about the workings of the government.  Of course, taking your kids with you when you vote is a must! Let them become familiar with this as kids and they are more likely to continue the behavior as teens and young adults.

 

Schoolhouse Rock!: Election Collection

Parents might remember some of these fun videos from when they were younger.  Schoolhouse Rock takes historical events and creates catchy educational songs to go along with them.  This series is the reason many kids know the 'Preamble to the Constitution' or 'How a Bill Becomes a Law'.

In addition to history, the series also covers math, grammar, environmental issues and cultural information. See all the Schoolhouse Rock titles.

Another awesome resource is the Kids DISCOVER Election packet which includes 5 magazines covering Washington DC, our country's history and how America works (it's 20% off this month and perfect for kids ages 7 - 15 years for home or classroom reading!)

Ben's Guide to the US Government

This is an amazing online resource for kids and families wanting to learn more about our government.  The website shares tons of age-specific information about our laws, symbols, citizenship and the election process.  There are also fun games and activities to explore too!

Helping kids to understand our country and how it works is great thing to do!  I feel that it's one of our civic duties - to educate the next generation.

 

Sometimes the processes we use appear complicated to children so it's important to explain things in a way they will understand.  For example, young kids won't be able to comprehend the terms 'democratic' and 'republican', but they can understand that different groups of people like different things.  Explain it in terms of how they and their friends choose to different activities to do at school or during recess. 

The most important thing to convey to kids is an understanding of what we as citizens believe is important - freedom of choice, freedom to vote, respect for those who serve our country and the 'rules' we live and govern by {the Constitution and the Bill of Rights}.

 

Be a good example for our kids: get out and vote!

 

thanksgiving-books-kids

More Activities for November:

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27 FREE Thanksgiving Games & Activities

 

 
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