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Books to Commemorate Presidents Day

Honor U.S. presidents on February 17 by learning more about them in these books.

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Though Presidents Day was originally established in 1885 to remember President George Washington’s birthday, you can honor all of our presidents on the third Monday in February by learning more about them, Washington D.C., and the U.S. government, in these books.

The Next President

by Kate Messner; illustrated by Adam Rex (Chronicle Books, March 24, 2020)

Author Kate Messner writes on Twitter that a few years ago, she was reading about what happened in the year 1970. “[I] noticed that Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were both elected governors of their states that year [reelected, in Reagan’s case]. ‘Ha!’ I thought, ‘They’re both going to be president later and they don’t even know it yet!’” Her book explores the interesting things that future leaders were doing on their way to the presidency.

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Rutherford B. Who Was He?

by Marilyn Singer; illustrated by John Hendrix (Disney Books, 2013)

Learn about a variety of presidents through rhyming, humorous poems filled with little-known facts about them. Available by the same author is Have You Heard About Lady Bird?, which contains poems about our first ladies.

What’s the Big Deal About Elections?

by Ruby Shamir; illustrated by Matt Faulkner (Philomel, 2018)

Kids can find easy-to-understand answers to complicated questions about presidential elections and government in this book, including “Why does government matter?” and “How do you get elected?” It also includes a timeline starting with the colonial period through 1971’s 26th Amendment, which granted citizens 18 and up the right to vote.

Leave It to Abigail!

by Barb Rosenstock; illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Little, Brown, February 4, 2020)

Learn the true story of one of America’s founding mothers—Abigail Adams—who married second president John Adams, and was known for doing things a little differently than other women at the time. Learn how Abigail asked questions, managed a farm and fed hungry soldiers during the Revolutionary War, and served as her husband’s trusted advisor, among other accomplishments that surprised the world.

Brick by Brick

by Charles R. Smith Jr.; illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Amistad, 2012)

Suggested by Denver Public Library children’s librarians, this book depicts a piece of presidential history that’s unknown to many—how both free and enslaved people built the president’s house by hand. Illustrations bring focus to the many individuals who endured hard physical labor while building the White House.

Grace for President

by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Disney Books, 2012)

When Grace learns that the United States has never had a female president, she decides to run herself. She starts by entering her school’s mock election and focuses on being a good person, but finds she’s got some tough competition. Also available is the newly-released companion book, Grace Goes to Washington.

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Photo credits: The Next President: Chronicle Books. Rutherford B. Who Was He? and Grace for President: Disney Publishing Worldwide. What’s the Big Deal About Elections?: Penguin Random House. Leave It to Abigal: Little, Brown. Brick by Brick: HarperCollins.

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