Check out this podcast episode I did with History Her Way!

My bachelor’s degree is in Elementary Education, and I spent six years in PreK to 4th-grade classrooms. I worked in a preschool during high school and college, and I thought for sure I’d be an elementary teacher.

However, as the story goes, I did not become an elementary teacher. That doesn’t mean some teaching techniques and strategies didn’t follow me to middle school and high school. One of those techniques was reading aloud to my students. Much research states that reading aloud to secondary students has excellent benefits, but my favorite is that it’s fun and lets your students experience the literature. You can do this in person or online!

Here are a few my favorite read-aloud books for AP Government.

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

Use with Unit 5: Electing a President

“Where are the girls?”

When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides she wants to be the nation’s first and immediately jumpstarts her political career by running in her school’s mock election! The race is tougher than she expected: her popular opponent declares that he’s the “best man for the job” and seems to have captured the votes of all of the class’s boys. But Grace is more determined than ever. Even if she can’t be the best man for the job, she can certainly try to be the best person!

This timely story not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system but also teaches the value of hard work, courage, independent thought — and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.”

Detailed in this book are the electoral college and campaign strategies. It is an excellent introduction to talking about the electoral college in Unit 5: Electing a President before heading into the heavier stuff.

Grace Goes To Washington is the follow-up that discusses the three branches of government.

Rutherford B., Who Was He? Poems about Presidents by Marilyn Singer

Use with Unit 2: The Executive Branch

With her gift for unforgettable rhythm and innovative rhyme, Marilyn Singer brings the presidents of the United States to life-from Washington to Obama-and contextualizes them in their time. Illustrations by John Hendrix are full of hilarious wit and refined exuberance, and backmatter enriches the experience with short biographies, quotes by each president, and more.

A fun introduction to the Presidency that you can pick and choose poems to read to students. This can lead to a project that allows students to create their own poems!

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

Use with Unit 3: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.

This can lead to discussion on gender discrimination or to the assignment itself. It has. notes in the back on the Supreme Court cases discussed in the book itself. It would be a lovely addition to a book on Justice O’Connor, but I have yet to find a good children’s book for Justice O’Connor or Justice Marshall.

So you want to be President by Judith St. George

Use with Unit 2: The Executive Branch

“This new version of the Caldecott-winning classic by illustrator David Small and author Judith St. George is updated with current facts and new illustrations to include our forty-second president, George W. Bush. There are now three Georges in the catalog of presidential names, a Bush alongside the presidential family tree, and a new face on the endpaper portraiture.
Hilariously illustrated by Small, this celebration by St. George shows us the foibles, quirks and humanity of forty-two men who have risen to one of the most powerful positions in the world. Perfect for this election year–and every year!”

This is not an exhaustive list, and I am still adding to my library when I find good books. I have others that are pictured above, but I’ve only read them to my daughter or received it as a gift. I had a larger library when I was a middle school teacher, but when I moved to high school, I left them to the teachers on the middle school campus, specifically Duck for President which was my daughter’s favorite as a small girl. While all the books listed are written by women, I’m still looking to diversify my authors (specifically BIPOC or LGBTQIA+) and topics. If you have suggestions, please feel free to contact me!

One thought on “Children’s Literature in AP Government

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