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Hail to the Chief

It's election time! Read about the history of voting, presidential trivia, or a duck who thinks he should be in charge, in this month's list of recommended books for kids ages 0-9. They all pay tribute to our unique democratic system. So, grab a book, get involved, and don't forget to vote!
Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

America Votes: How Our President Is Elected

By: Linda Granfield, Steve Bjorkman
Illustrated by: Steve Bjorkman
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Elections are anything but dull, and participation is very important in a democracy. Just consider what it must be like in places where citizens can’t vote! This playful introduction to presidential elections provides a brief history of voting in the U.S. (including the "chad story") and encourages young people to get involved.

Duck for President

By: Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin
Illustrated by: Betsy Lewin
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Do you think things would be better if you were in charge? Duck thinks he can do a better job than Farmer Brown, but once in power he soon tires of the duties and responsibilities of leadership. So he decides maybe he's better off writing his autobiography – which he does on a typewriter that clever readers will recognize from another book by this talented team.

George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen By Both Sides

By: Rosalyn Schanzer
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The Georges most prominent in early America — England's George III and America’s George Washington — had much in common even though their politics put them on opposite sides of the issue of independence as well as the Atlantic. Serious information about the men, their struggles, and the times in which they lived is conveyed in an engaging format and light touch that tells of the birth of the United States.

If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House

By: Jane O'Connor, Gary Hovland
Illustrated by: Gary Hovland
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The "beautiful 200-year-old mansion on 18 acres of land right in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C.," is better known as the White House. It's where most, though not all, U.S. presidents have lived. Fun and fast, this lighthearted look at the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is presented in sound bites and illustrations reminiscent of political cartoons.

John, Paul, George and Ben

By: Lane Smith
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Fact and fiction, old and new styles of illustration, wit and seriousness combine in this pithy, lighthearted look at four luminaries in American history. Only mature readers will appreciate the title's name play but are sure to chuckle at the take on John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington and Ben Franklin. Fact is clearly differentiated from fun at book's end.

Max for President!

By: Jarrett Krosoczka
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

It's election time, and both Max and Kelly are running for class president. They busily make campaign signs and buttons and develop their platform. There can only be one winner, though, so someone is bound to be disappointed. All ends well, though, in this satisfying and recognizable story.

Smart About the Presidents

By: Jon Buller
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ms. Brandt's class gets an assignment to write about all of the U.S. presidents. Basic information about who can be the president and what the job really entails is followed by a one-page overview of each president. Several blank pages and a space to fill in information at the end of George W. Bush's term will keep this book, which has the informal look of a child's journal, current beyond this year's election.

So, You Want to Be President?

By: Judith St. George
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Anyone can be president, whether fat (William Howard Taft) or tiny (James Madison), relatively young (Teddy Roosevelt at 42) or old (Ronald Reagan at 69). Hobbies, sports, virtues, and vices all get a tongue-in-cheek airing in this fascinating collection of presidential trivia.

Vote!

By: Eileen Christelow
Illustrated by: Eileen Christelow
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The history of voting in the United States is presented using a town's mayoral election as the framework. Even the town dogs have their say in the whimsical, cartoon-like illustrations which provide additional information for the reader.

What Presidents Are Made Of

By: Hanoch Piven
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What are presidents made of? These collage portraits take this question quite literally. Theodore Roosevelt is made of "endless energy," created with wire and a light bulb, while Ronald Reagan's picture uses the jellybeans he was so fond of. This unusual book concludes with an official portrait of all the presidents and their dates in office.

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