The 2020 Election on Tuesday, November 3 is likely a big topic at your dinner table right now. When teaching preschool, it delighted me to rake leaves with two-and-three-year-olds, hearing about their favorite candidates.
My children think jack-o-lanterns at doorsteps mean it’s time again to plant yard signs. I took them canvassing in strollers. We walked hand-in-hand to the library to pick out storybooks about American History. Duck for President and George Washington’s Wooden Teeth gave me a way to share my patriotism with my children without filling them with worry when they were too young to take up our adult concerns.
I loved my kids’ political questions back when they were little, “Mama, what does Congress really do?” I answered carefully because they weren’t actually asking for the details. Now, I love our kitchen-counter conversations with my soon-to-be fourteen and eighteen-year-old sons, forming their own opinions.
When we “talked politics” over the years, our discussions rose up out of stories, growing from simple board books to profound chapter books, written for teens and worthy of bookclub attention.
Here are a few of our favorite titles, including one that my son and I will read this year in our own little USA bookclub.
Election 2020 Kids Booklist
PRE-K TO AGE 7
One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote
Using simple rhyme, The Cat in the Hat teaches the basic principles of democracy. How political parties formed. Why we hold Election Day in early November, and other interesting facts about voting, many details even grown-ups might not know.
Lillian’s Right to Vote
Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, recalling her family’s history. A lyrical, poignant account of one woman’s fierce determination to make her voice heard.
Esther Hoskins Forbes
1944 Newbery Medal winner about a fourteen-year-old apprentice silversmith who lives through the defining events of the American Revolution. Johnny Tremain participated in The Boston Tea Party, the Sons of Liberty, and the first shots fired at Lexington in an engaging page-turner that brings to life our nation’s birth.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom
Lynda Blackmon Lowery
The youngest person at the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery tells her story. She shows how young adults can, indeed, be heroes. She describes her eleven arrests and jail sentences for peaceful protesting before age 15. Her memoir shows nonviolent action looks like, and how she felt while changing American history.