This Presidents Day (or any day), sneak history into your everyday life and let your kids to curl up with a great book — and learn about past U.S. commanders-in-chief.
Here are six enriching books that will teach your kids about influential politicians, past and present.
“Who Was Abraham Lincoln?” by Janet Pascal
Grade levels: 3 – 7
Reading about Abraham Lincoln doesn’t just mean learning about one of the country’s most influential leaders. It also means exploring the impact of the Civil War, the abolition of slavery, and Lincoln’s assassination. More than 100 illustrations and maps teach kids all about America’s 16th president. One Amazon reviewer remarked that his son “started reading it” and “hasn't put it down! He just walks around the house saying ‘Hey Dad, did you know … ?’"
“I Wish I Knew That: U.S. Presidents: Cool Stuff You Need to Know” edited by Patricia Halbert
Grade levels: 4 – 6
Why learn about just one president when you can learn about all 44? This book shares fascinating facts about the nation’s leaders, from how they were elected to the pets they owned, languages they spoke, and currency denominations they appear on. The book also includes a chapter about the First Ladies. Your kids will enjoy the vibrant portraits this book paints.
“George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides” by Rosalyn Schanzer
Grade levels: 4 – 7
This riveting account, with its well-researched text and enchanting watercolor cartoons, teaches children the philosophies of the two Georges of the Revolutionary War: King George III and George Washington. Whereas some books only cover one side of the conflict, this one addresses both — and reveals just how much the two leaders had in common. By reading multiple perspectives on the same story, kids will understand that how we remember history often depends on who tells the tale.
“Kennedy’s Last Days: The Assassination That Defined a Generation” by Bill O’Reilly
Grade levels: 5 and up
Your kids can read this book to learn about one of the most impactful moments of the 20th century — and a mystery that was never truly solved. Written by Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, this is an adaptation of his original book on JFK, “Killing Kennedy,” only tailored to a younger audience. “Kennedy’s Last Days” will capture kids with its quick pacing and charismatic characters. To engage readers further, the book includes pictures and art on every page.
“March: Book One” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Grade levels: 8+
For children who love comic books and graphic novels, “March” is a wonderful trilogy centered on Congressman John Lewis (one of the authors of the book) and his involvement in the Civil Rights movement. While the book’s protagonist is not a U.S. president, President Barack Obama is mentioned for having awarded Lewis a Medal of Freedom. The first book covers Lewis’s childhood in Alabama, his transformative conversation with Dr. King, and his participation in nonviolent sit-ins to protest segregation. The illustration of the novel will provide a visual counterpoint to this enthralling narrative about political activism.
“The Big Book of American Trivia” by J. Stephen Lang
(Age and grade level not available.)
Which outdoors-loving president was the first to ride in an automobile? Which president was the first to be born in a hospital? All of this and more is answered in this huge book, which contains more than 3,000 pieces of trivia. Delight the whole family by reading the volume together and learning fascinating trivia about politicians, history, entertainment, people, culture, and additional quirky facts. This book provides great fodder for party games, family gatherings, and vacations.