With the election looming, and many adults reading voters' pamphlets and preparing their ballots, kids may be asking questions about how the election process works and what it means. This year there are some wonderful new titles for young readers that inform and educate while still providing an entertaining read. Here are some of my favorites.
The President of the Jungle by André Rodrigues, Larissa Ribeiro, Paula Desgualdo, Pedro Markun
An amusing picture book for older readers that starts out with the king of the jungle—Lion—having some trouble with his subjects. The other jungle animals have had it with Lion's self-interest and decide they want to elect a president of the jungle in the place of their king. Some contenders for the job—Monkey, Snake, and Sloth—throw their hats in the ring, and Lion decides he'll see if he can't win them over anyway. The animals debate, have rallies, chat up their fellow jungle dwellers, and try to prove themselves to be the best candidate. Delightful and educational. Ages: 5-9
Vote For Me! by Ben Clanton
Donkey and Elephant are in a battle to win the vote and will stop at nothing to come out on top. The two trade insults, do some mud-slinging (in this case, literally, not figuratively), make wild promises, and even resort to absurd levels of flattery. But where does this get them? The surprise ending will bring smile to the faces of readers—both kids and adults. Ben Clanton, author of the popular Narwahl and Jelly books, has penned a picture book of political satire that is a great jumping off point for discussions about being respectful of our competitors, and how putting others down is never a winning formula. Ages: 3-7
Citizen Baby: My Vote by Megan E. Bryant and Daniel Prosterman
Even the youngest can get in on the act with this brightly illustrated board book about voting. Each of the sturdy pages takes little ones from the process of studying the issues and learning about the candidates, to registering to vote, then waiting for the results. Even if your candidate doesn't win, doing your part by showing up and making use of your chance to have your vote—and your voice—counted is still a win. And with the next election, you have a chance to do it all over again. Cute and informative. Ages: Baby-3
The Campaign by Leila Sales
Twelve-year-old Maddie Polansky doesn't enjoy school that much, except for her beloved art class. When Maddie learns that the art program may be cut in the next mayoral election she decides she needs to do something about it. Maddie convinces her babysitter, Janet, to run for mayor and Maddie throws herself into managing the campaign. Antics ensue, lessons are learned, and Sales does a great job of showing kids how issues have an impact on their lives, and the value of getting involved. A clever and inspiring novel for middle schoolers. Ages: 8-12
If You Go with Your Goat to Vote by Jan Zauzmer
Jan Zauzmer takes little ones through the different steps of the process, whether it's a bunny and rabbit hopping to the polling station or the small fry and octopus sharing the experience of filling in the bubbles on the ballot, various animal babies and parents share in the experience of voting. At the end, it's a human child and parent who take their turn and the child learns that when they are old enough, they will get to vote, too! As an added bonus there's a sheet of stickers to share. Ages: 2-5
Vote for Our Future! by Margaret McNamara and Micah Player
Bright and engaging, McNamara's picture book effortlessly covers a lot of ground when it comes to elections, how they work, and why it's important to vote. The story centers on an elementary school that closes every two years to become a polling station. Though the students are too young to vote, they want to help create change so they help educate their friends, family, and community on why everyone's vote matters and how to do it, including mail in ballots. Informative and energetic, this book shows kids how they can contribute to the election process. Ages: 4-8
A king of the jungle is deposed, a middle schooler goes on the campaign trail to save the art program at school, and a group of kids help spread the word that voting is an important right, and every vote counts. Six books about the election process that are both informative and fun.