The 2020 Presidential election as well as other national, state, and local elections are right around the corner.  Your Kirkwood Public Librarians have read a variety of books on the topic of voting for children ages 3 to 18, and we have included reviews on books that engage in this important civics topic.  

You can visit the list of books on our catalog through this link

 

Young

Fiction
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
Recommended for Preschool to 3rd grade
In this picture book, Doreen Cronin takes us back to the farm with this silly and lighthearted election adventure. Duck runs for Farmer, and then continues his political career as Mayor, Governor, and then President. Repetitive and fun, this book is a fairly nonsensical introduction to what happens when people ( or ducks) want change. This is meant to be silly, not informative, but it is a bit simplistic in its depiction of successful campaigns. Don’t read this expecting to learn any hard facts.
-Madeline Stradal

President of the Jungle by Andre Rodrigues
Recommended for Preschool to 3rd grade
Colorful illustrations, well-loved animals, and concise word choice and definitions help this picture book appeal to the younger elementary crew. It explains a simple popular-vote system, and how to set up rules for an election.
It is not particular to the U.S.- while it does explain voting systems, and has a glossary of terms, it does not explain our electoral college/voting rights.
This book was translated from Portuguese, and though it doesn’t refer to any U.S- specific voting practices, it does give an idea about why elections might exist, and the rights citizens have to demonstrate, vote, and run for office.
-Madeline Stradal

Non-Fiction

Vote by Eileen Christelow
Recommended for Preschool to 5th grade
Good simple picture book to explain the voting process.Lots of good information about why we vote.This book is filled with lots of information about voting in a way that young readers are able to understand. It may be a little simple for 9-11 year olds. Although this is a picture book, it is filled with information about voting that even adults can learn from.
-Kathy Miller

I Voted Making a Choice Makes a Difference by Mark Shulman
Recommend for Preschool to 3rd grade
This picture book features simple text and explanations; at the back of the book it gives steps for voting and simple explanations of how our government works by Executive, Legislative, Judicial as well as State and Local Government
-Kim Linenbroker

What Can A Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris
Recommended for Preschool to 3rd grade
Easily digestible picture book about what it means to be a citizen that is told well through rhythmic text and visual storytelling. Diverse representation of children and realistic visuals of the impact a young child can make made this a positive choice for me. The explanation of who is a citizen is murky- a bear is used as an example of a citizen.
I would highlight the book’s cut paper illustrations, diverse representation, and wide age appeal.
-Chelsea Bedley

Elementary

Fiction

If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier
Recommended for 1st to 3rd grade
A great picture book combining facts with a flowing narrative, making it easy for kids to read and understand the election process beginning to end. Eye-catching illustrations are informative and fun, and make learning these facts a breeze. It is diverse, thoughtful, and age-appropriate.
It leaves us with a cliffhanger- what does the president do once in office?
-Madeline Stradal

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio
Recommended for 1st to 5th grade
A fun, flowing read that explains the election process through Grace, who desperately wants to be class president! Our main character is smart and strong, and sticks to her dreams. This picture book simplifies the electoral college in a way that elementary-aged kids can understand. Plus, it has fun illustrations and likable characters. Look for all the amazing details in the pictures.
You’ll just want more of Grace’s story at the end!
Wonderfully diverse characters and illustrations! In addition, there is in-depth info on the electoral college in the back.
-Madeline Stradal

The Class Election from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
Recommended for 1st to 3rd grade
This is a fun, quick transitional chapter book that has a lot of humor and illustrations. It introduces the idea of elections, and some minor definitions. There are not a lot of hard facts to learn from this book. It won’t explain the election process, and the story is more about how the main character feels about the election, rather than how the election actually works.
Overall, it is sarcastic and funny but not informative.
-Madeline Stradal

Non-Fiction

What is an Election? by Caryn Jenner
Recommended for 1st to 3rd grade
This beginning reader is a basic primer on the concept of voting from the perspective of an American Democracy and the governments around the world.. Language usage in this book is not complicated. There is a nice chapter on how to run your own election
There is not a great deal of depth to the discussion of the right to vote; any readers will likely have more questions that will not be answered in this book.
I would say this is a basic book that should be paired with an additional book that has a stronger focus on any of the topics that are not fleshed out.
-Rachel Johannigmeier

One Votes, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote by Bonnie Worth
Recommended for preschool to 5th grade, with an emphasis on 1st to 3rd grade
The book is very Dr. Seuss-ish but the content gives a good and brief look at voting.
It is brief and a little silly. I don’t really think those are bad things though. It’s like a teaser. If they want to learn more they can. In the back of the book is a glossary of terms and also a list of further reading ideas. I feel this book can be discussed by many ages.
-Julie Hammond

Middle Grades

Fiction

Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans
Recommended for 1st to 6th grade
This picture book for a variety of ages gives historical reference as to why it is important to vote and why it was important to the character. It has good illustrations portraying different time periods. There are some notes by the author in the back about the history and who the book is based on. It definitely can prompt some good conversations.
-Kim Linenbroker

President of Poplar Lane by Margaret Mincks
Recommended for 4th to 7th grade
This chapter book covers the highs and lows of the campaign process in a middle school election between popular student Clover and Mike Strange, who nobody really knows. The book has a great deal of humor and heart, and while there is not a 100 percent focus on the voting process, it does deal with the way candidates campaign, the issues relevant with their community, as well as engaging in the process of creating an amendment for the process of selecting the president of the 7th grade. I thought the story did a good job of exploring the idea of campaigns from the candidates’ perspectives, as well as examining the reasons why someone might run for president. Overall, it is a good book that explores the campaign part of an election with humor and heart.
-Rachel Johannigmeier

Non-Fiction

Understanding Your Role in Elections by Jessica Gunderson
Recommended for 4th to 5th grade
An unbiased, quick read, this book will give older elementary students a run-down on our political parties, voting system, and history of voter’s rights without overloading them with
information. A glossary and list of critical thinking questions will help to digest all the facts. Expect more questions after you read! This book moves quickly, and will definitely leave some curious for more. A great base for understanding U.S politics and parties with graphics and historical photos.
-Madeline Stradal

The Electoral College by Phil Corso
Recommended for 4th to 12th grade
This book gives an explanation of how voting is done in the United States. This book explains what the electoral college is and why we use it instead of electing by popular vote. Some examples of when the electoral college did not work and what happens next are included. I found it very easy to understand and didn’t see any downside.
-Sandy Steinman

You Call This Democracy? How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People by Elizabeth Rusch
Recommended for 4th to 8th grade
This non-fiction book discusses a variety of issues related to policy and laws that hinder the voting process through a non-partisan lens. In fact, the book is incredibly detailed in presenting the concerns that arise with support from both sides of the political parties. Each chapter explains the topic, provides bi-partisan examples, and then provides resources and ideas on how to improve the issues related to the topic. All of the ideas are quite easy to enact upon, and the author does an excellent job of going over the flaws in the system without blaming specific people or parties. The infographics in the book are also well done and the color scheme will draw the reader’s eye. Finally, the book explains things very clearly and makes complicated topics real for the reader. All quotes and facts are cited in the back of the book, and the author acknowledges that the book is the most updated it can be from the time it was published (2020). If you are looking for an excellent book for yourself or someone you know, consider this book an excellent guide to the issues and steps citizens can take to actively engage in change.
-Rachel Johannigmeier

Young Adult

Fiction

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
Recommended for 6th to 12th grade
This novel not only discusses the importance of voting, but it does so from the perspective of two black teens who share experiences with racism and disenfranchisement. It also contains a sweet romance and an internet famous cat. Plus, it is a quick read with short chapters, which I think will appeal to reluctant readers. Honestly, I cannot think of any downsides to this book. It was really good! If you know of anyone who is on the fence about voting, hand them this book. It makes a clear case for its importance.
-Shannon McLean

Non-Fiction

Give Us the Vote by Susan Goldman Rubin
Recommended for 4th-9th grade
This book examines the fight for the right to vote for everyone not originally included in the constitution.It explains flaws in the voting system.It covers why it is important to vote. One downside is that the book is not in not chronological order. This book is best for older children. It covers violence and how some politicians did everything in their power to suppress an individual’s right to vote.
-Kathy Miller

Thank You For Voting (Young Reader’s Edition) by Erin Geiger Smith
Recommended for 6th to 12th grade
The best quality about Thank You for Voting (Young Reader’s Edition) is in its short chapters that are broken down into subsections which make this an easy book to pick up and set down in what is a busy and oftentimes politically complicated year. All while maintaining a non-partisan, but pro-voter stance, this book aims to teach the reader not only valuable history and context for voting with fun facts and definitions for political jargon, but it also advocates for critical media literacy with the use of insightful critical thinking questions to help citizens become stronger, independent, and informed voters. Perhaps the best aspect about this nonfiction title is that it was published in 2020, so the information inside is relevant and timely with the 2020 Presidential Election (because yes, it does cover the coronavirus)
While it was nice to see historical coverage of voting rights for a wide array of groups (women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and young people), it should be noted that the section discussing women’s suffrage was the same length as all the other sections combined. While this flaw should not be overlooked, it should also be noted that at the time of publishing, the women’s suffrage movement was celebrating its 100 year anniversary. Although this text does an overall decent job at remaining non-partisan throughout giving positive and negative examples of both political parties, analytical readers will notice that on average the examples given for groups that are fighting against voter suppression or advocating to get people to the polls fall into a more liberal or democratic stance. It’s hard to say if this is fully a result of author bias or just a greater existence of liberal groups in the United States pushing to ease voting barriers.
Overall, this text was easy to read and made for either a great introductory text for young people learning about voting and their civil rights or a quick refresher for adults who may not have the time to delve into the lengthier texts adult nonfiction tends to produce. Whether it is for a presidential race or local elections, go out and be a voter!
-Shanon Barton

Drawing the vote: an illustrated guide to voting in America by Tommy Jenkins, Kati Lacker (illustrator)
Recommended for 6th to 12th grade
A little history, a little political science and a little contemporary guide, this graphic novel tells the story of voting in a simple and engaging way. They art really helps with a set of complex topics that are touched upon but leave you wanting more. The focus here is on the value of voting as the core of democracy. It takes some time to read and understand the more complex topics.
There are 4 copies of this in the consortium but it is also always available on Hoopla.
-Christa Herreweghe

Election Manipulation by John Allen
Recommended for 5th to 12th grade
This book provides a warning about different ways the election can be manipulated. It features a really good explanation of how easy it is to hack into campaign networks and some examples of recent hacking. It also discusses how easily fake news can be spread on social media with some examples.I think this book gives good examples of how the voting process is sometimes manipulated and how the future of elections might change to have better security.
-Sandy Steinman

To continue discussion on the topic of voting, these electronic resources offer questions and information to serve as a guide and knowledge base:
Let’s Vote! Talking to Children About Voting
PBS Election Collection
Website for You Call This Democracy Book
Young Voters Guide to Social Media and the News

Once again, if you are interested in requesting books through our curbside service or checking out books online, you can visit the full list of books on our catalog via this link

Rachel Johannigmeier is the Youth Services Manager for the Kirkwood Public Library.  She has been a part of the library since May 2017.  She enjoys reading graphic novels, watching movies, and hanging out with dogs.  Her favorite creators include Margaret Atwood, Libba Bray, Sinclair Lewis, Philip Pullman and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.