No matter which side of the aisle you are on, the 2016 elections will have everyone talking! Students will likely have questions about what is going on. Luckily there are some great books out there to explain the political process in a light-hearted, bi-partisan way. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites—guaranteed to inform and entertain without picking sides!

Duck for President by Doreen Cronin (Grades P-3, Lexile AD680)

Duck is tired of doing chores and working hard on the farm. He decides that he could do a much better job at running things than Farmer Brown, so he decides the farm should have an election. After winning the vote, Duck discovers that being in charge of a farm is even harder than doing chores. He decides to run for governor to change things! Things continue to escalate until Duck is elected President of the United States—which also turns out to be very hard work! Duck learns that being in charge isn’t all about telling other people what to do and taking it easy. Try using Duck for President as a fun read aloud option to kick off a unit on the political process.

Duck for President

If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier (Grades 1-4, Lexile NC910)

A diverse group of six children discuss what they would do if they ran for President of the United States. The first candidate considers whether being President would truly be what’s best for the country, for his family and for himself. Another candidate discusses what political parties are and the role of primary elections in the political process. From speaking with donors to debating opponents, these kids have a lot to teach others about elections! This informational read aloud is a must-have during election years!

If I Ran for President

President Squid by Aaron Reynolds (Grades K-3, Level N, Lexile 100)

Squid knows he has what it takes to be President! He’s even made a list: 1) wears a tie—check! 2) have a big house—check! 3) is famous—check! 4) does all the talking—check! 5) is the boss—double check! He’s great at bossing the other fish around! Eventually Squid learns that there is more to being president than neckwear and bossiness, like helping others and making good decisions. This humorous picture book is a great one to read aloud to a class that is learning about what it takes to be a good leader or even President. Pair President Squid with What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven (Grades 1-5, Lexile AD980) for a humorous look at what qualities good Presidents have.

President Squid What Presidents Are Made Of


See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White House by Susan E. Goodman (Grades 2-7, Level U)

See How They Run includes history and information about numerous aspects of presidential elections. Updated in 2012, this title includes a variety of historic and contemporary events. Readers will learn why an elephant and donkey came to represent the Republican and Democrat parties—both of which were originally meant as insults! Goodman uses many historic examples to show the evolution of politics and public opinion, including the 2008 debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: not too long ago African Americans and women were not even allowed to vote, let along run for President! This title is a great resource to include in classroom libraries. The short chapters make it easy to digest, and it may prove to be a useful resource when answering impromptu questions from students during the 2016 election.

See How They Run

Vote! by Eileen Christelow (Grades K-5, Level P, Lexile 420)

The town is electing a new mayor and students can learn all about the political process from this informative picture book. Two dogs follow along as their owner creates her campaign, debates her opponent, meets with voters and raises money. Readers learn what voting is and why it’s important, as well as some history about voting rights in the United States. This book also includes numerous examples of townsfolk disagreeing, yet remaining civil during the election—something many adults may benefit from seeing, too! While the election in this book is for town mayor, the information is easily transferrable to other types of elections. With numerous graphic panels, a timeline of voting rights and links to additional resources, Vote! is a great title to include in independent reading libraries, especially during election years.