10 Great Children’s Books to Teach Your Kids About Voting, Civics, and Democracy

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Even in a year like 2019, when there is no presidential or mid-term election, there is plenty of voting going on. There are gubernatorial elections, mayoral elections, and aldermanic elections across the United States.

The problem is too few young people between 18 and 29 years old vote in these off-year elections. You can begin to change that in the future with your own children by selecting some bedtime reading about the importance of voting. Here are 10 great children’s books to teach your kids about elections, civics and democracy.

Whose Boat Is This Boat? Comments That Don’t Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane

By Donald J. Trump (by Accident), Illustrations by Andro Buneta and John Henry

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This book was created by the staff of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and is based on an idea by Emmy Blotnick. It strings together nonsensical, unempathetic comments by President Trump when he spoke to a group of people who had been battered by Hurricane Florence. The book will provide ample evidence to your children that more people should have voted in the 2016 Presidential Election.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

Written by Jill Twiss, Illustrated by EG Keller

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Great comedic TV shows think alike. In this book, backed by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the story of Vice-President Mike Pence’s rabbit, Marlon Bundo, takes an ironic turn when we discover that Marlon has fallen in love with another bunny who happens to be a boy. The book’s dedication says it all: “For every bunny who has ever felt different.”

Voting With a Porpoise

Written by Russell Glass and Sean Callahan, Illustrated by Daniel Howarth

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This is my favorite, of course. In our book, a group of dolphins (and one porpoise named Petey) no longer can find enough fish in their reef, so they must decide whether to stay or go. They argue about the decision, until Petey comes up with a brilliant idea. This book is a great way to teach young kids about elections and the value of making their voices heard.

What Can a Citizen Do?

Written by Dave Eggers, Illustrated by Shawn Harris

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Dave Eggers first came into the public eye with his memoir, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.” With this book, Eggers urges young people to use their power as citizens. The School Library Journal summed up this book very well: “This must-have book distills the fundamentals of citizenship into easy-to-digest concepts and emphasizes the importance of caring for others, accepting differences, and taking action to initiate positive change.” (Note that Eggers also wrote the charming “Her Right Foot,” which reminds us that immigration built the nation).

Duck for President

Written by Doreen Cronin, Illustrated by Betsy Lewin

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This is a funny book by the team that wrote “Click, Clack, Moo.” In my opinion, it would be better to have a duck as president than the quack we have in there now.

Lillian’s Right To Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Written by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

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Written for the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, this compelling book tells the tale of an elderly African-American woman, who recalls her family being blocked from voting, protesting in Selma, and finally gaining the hard-fought right to vote. Kirkus Reviews celebrated this book: “A much-needed picture book that will enlighten a new generation about battles won and a timely call to uphold these victories in the present.”

Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote

Written by Kirsten Gillibrand, Illustrated by Maira Kalman

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It may surprise your children that women didn’t have the right to vote until 1920, almost 100 years ago. In this book, presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tells the stories of 10 suffragists who fought for the right for women to vote in the United States. Those profiled include Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Alice Paul.

One Vote, Two Vote, I Vote, You Vote

Written by Bonnie Worth, Illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

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Everybody loves a good Seussian rhyme scheme. Your kids sure do. This book borrows Theodor Geisel’s Cat in the Hat to explore, in a delightful way, the concepts of voting, democracy, and Election Day.

Start Now, You Can Make a Difference

Written by Chelsea Clinton

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This book is a much-needed primer on how to get involved. Clinton offers tips on how children can, well, “make a difference” by helping protect endangered animals, by defusing bullying, and by bringing together the power of communities.

It Takes a Village Picture Book

Written by Hillary Clinton, Illustrated by Marla Frazee

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Like mother, like daughter. Like Chelsea, Hillary also wrote a children’s book. This one is based on her 2006 book, and it delivers a similar message about how working together is how we get things done.

That’s my list. Tell us what’s on yours.

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