September 17, 2020
Talking with young children about voting and elections can open doors to conversations about fairness, democracy, citizenship and participation. As children grow, it is critical to help them understand how government works, the importance of civic participation and how voting is a key way to make your voice and your opinions heard. These picture books, some fiction and some non-fiction, provide discussion starters about voting, equity, gender, race, representation and voting.
Equality's Call (Ages 4-8) The U.S. founders declared that consent of the governed was a key part of their plan for the new nation. But for many years, only white men who had money were allowed to vote. This inspiring history of voting rights looks back at the activists who answered equality’s call, working tirelessly to secure the right for all to vote. It also looks forward to the future and the work that still needs to be done.
Grace for President (Ages 4-8) When Grace’s teacher reveals that the U.S. has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. She immediately starts off her political career as a candidate in the school’s mock election. But soon she realizes that she has entered a tough race. Her popular opponent claims to be the “best man for the job” and seems to have captured all the male votes. Grace decides the only thing to do is concentrate on being the best person for the job.
Lillian's Right to Vote (Ages 5-9) As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old Black woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky—she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery. This book recalls the battle for civil rights in an account of one woman’s fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard.
She Was the First! The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm (Ages 6-10) As a young child and a college student, Shirley Chisholm was a leader. In 1964, Shirley took her voice and leadership to politics, becoming the first Black woman elected to the NYS Assembly, and in 1968, the first Black woman elected to Congress. Then in 1972, she became the first Black woman to seek the presidency of the United States. She pushed for laws that helped women, children, students, poor people, farmworkers, Native people, and others who were often ignored.
The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems (Ages 9-12) The election of Barack Obama, the first Black President of the United States, marked a pivotal point in the history of our nation. Millions of people around the world have been inspired by Mr. Obama's historic victory and his personal story of determination and success. This book honors the diversity that President Obama symbolizes through poems that are multicultural in scope and style.
V is for Voting (Ages 4-8) Using each letter of the alphabet, this book is an engaging introduction to the principles of democracy. It is a playful, poetic, and powerful primer about the importance of voting, participation and activism. There includes back matter with important and thoughtful information.
What Can a Citizen Do? (Ages 4-8) Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but connected actions by different young people, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community—and observe a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be. For young readers, this book explores what it means to be a citizen and the positive role they can play in society.