Presidents’ Day is a day to celebrate the accomplishments that our presidents have made throughout history and to learn about the lives of these historical figures. Discover lesser-known stories about well-known presidents and learn more about how the creation of our government affects us today with these great books for readers of all ages!
Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words
Written by Donna Janell Bowman
Illustrated by S. D. Schindler
Abraham Lincoln was known for his sense of humor. But in 1842, early in his adult life, it nearly got him into trouble. He had to use his imagination to save his career―and maybe even his life. When Lincoln became frustrated with the actions of James Shield, a political rival, he came up with a plan. It was silly. It was clever. And it was a great big mistake! Lincoln, his future wife, and a friend of hers wrote a series of fictional letters to the editor, complaining about Shields. But when Shields took offense, he challenged Lincoln to a duel.
Focusing on a lesser-known event in the life of one of the most revered presidents in U.S. history, author Donna Janell Bowman shows readers that even someone like Abraham Lincoln can make mistakes and learn from them. Read an excerpt here. For more information about the creation of this picture book biography and how to use it in the classroom, check out the author Q&A and teacher’s guide.
The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today
Written by Cynthia Levinson & Sanford Levinson
Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the U.S. Constitution. This timely and thoughtful exploration of the Constitution take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced―then they offer possible solutions. Think Electoral College, gerrymandering, even the Senate. Many of us take these features in our system for granted. But they came about through haggling in an overheated room in 1787, and we’re still experiencing the ramifications.
From the award-winning team, Cynthia Levinson, children’s book author, and Sanford Levinson, constitutional law scholar, Fault Lines in the Constitution will encourage exploration and discussion from young and old readers alike.Read an excerpt here. For ideas of how to continue reader engagement and further discussion of today’s political issues, check out the discussion guide as well as the authors’ blog, where they post about very current events and how they connect to the creation of the Constitution and the content of their book. Also check out our Q&A with the authors to learn more about the creation of the Fault Lines in the Constitution.
Mr. President Goes to School
Written by Rick Walton
illustrated by Brad Sneed
When the president of the United States has a frustrating day, he decides to go back to where he learned the most important lessons of all. Sneaking out of the White House, he hurries to the local school and enrolls in Mrs. Appletree’s class. There, Mr. President spins on the merry-go-round, and practices saying “please” and taking turns. But when he returns to the White House, he is greeted by panic and two angry world leaders. Fortunately, Mr. President recalls what he learned in Mrs. Appletree’s class, and he comes up with just the right approach to avoid an international crisis.
Children will delight in this laugh-out-loud story and its over-the-top take on conflict resolution. Check out the teacher’s guide for classroom activity ideas.
First Dog Fala
Written by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
Illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery
In 1940, Scottish terrier Fala came to live with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House. The little dog played in the grass outside the Oval Office, attended important meetings with the president’s advisors, and even dined with the president. But as America was drawn into the conflict of a world war, life at the White House changed. Fala accompanied the president across the country and around the world, waiting with him for the return of American servicemen and an end to a terrible war.
This picture book offers young readers a glimpse into American history and the life of a U.S. president through the story of a loyal dog with an indomitable spirit and the nation and president who loved him.
Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt!
Written by Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
The 26th president of the United States was a strong and clever man who could handle almost everything—except his eldest child, Alice. Alice Roosevelt was an independent, outspoken young woman during a time when women were supposed to be conventional and reserved. Whether it was riding a pig, keeping a pet snake, or driving a car—and speeding!—Alice did what she wanted. When her father told her she had to obey his rules while she lived under his roof, Alice decided to spend her time on top of the roof!
This factual and affectionate look at the free spirit who caught the attention of a nation shows Alice’s antics along with her father’s achievements, all while demonstrating the tender bond between them.
We hope you enjoy these wonderful stories, and feel free to share your favorite books in honor of Presidents’ Day!