Summer Reading for Progressive Kids and their Parents

Ack! Summer! All of a sudden, we have little creatures running around our houses, asking for something to do. Who knew?! More organized parents have their craft supplies fully stocked, a plethora of summer camps planned, or at least a large bottle of gin handy.

Well, I may not be completely organized, but Shawn and I do have resources at the ready and we are oh-so-happy to share. We got the books — a long, long list of progressive books to educate you and your child, as well as get us all ready for the upcoming election.

Ready for a trip to the library?

Here we go…a reading list for progressive kids and their parents.

Duck for President, Doreen Cronin, writer and Betsy Lewin, illustrator
Kids with an eye to the White House will appreciate this tale of what inspires a common duck to run for the presidency and then what he encounters when he gets there. 2 and up.

Grace for President, Kelly DiPucchio, writer and LeUyen Pham, illustrator. When Grace discovers that a woman or an African American has never been president, she is justifiably outraged and decides she’s going to be the one. Her teacher encourages her by putting her up for a class election and very real culture clash ensues. Great for 4 and up.

If I Ran for President, Catherine Stier, author and Lynne Avril, illustrator. Narrated by a multicultural group of six children, this excellent book describes the process of getting elected and then, what the heck to do once you get into the Oval Office.

American Votes: How Our President is Elected, Linda Granfield, writer and Steve Bjorkman, illustrator. My six year old just could NOT believe that he couldn’t vote for Barack Obama (MOMMY, YOU ARE KIDDING ME!!!), but this book helps explain this and other mind-boggling complexities of the electoral process. 5 and up.

Vote, Eileen Christlow, writer and illustrator. Another great book that explains, using the example of a mayoral election, the process of electing our leaders. Believe me, there will be questions come November and we need to be prepared.

And Tango Makes Three, Peter Parnell, author and Justin Richardson, illustrator. When I heard that this book was being banned by some Kansas libraries, I immediately went on-line and ordered a heap to give away for holiday gifts. It tells the touching story of a male penguin couple who adopt a penguin egg and raises the chick as their own. Any age.

Why War is Never A Good Idea, Alice Walker, writer and Stefano Vitale, illustrator. An absolutely beautiful, tear-popping poem by the queen herself inspiring us to redouble our commitment to end this horrible war. When you’re done with this one, sample any of the other fabulous children’s books written by Walker. 4 and up.

Why Daddy is a Democrat and Why Mommy is a Democrat, Jeremy Zilber, writer and Yuliya Firsova, illustrator. No points for subtlety but big ones for humor and for describing many key Democratic values. 3 and up.

The Peace Book, Todd Parr, writer and illustrator. All bow down to the talent of Parr. I’m a believer. Among his many amazing books, this one stands out in describing the perfect and multifaceted concept of peace, i.e., “peace is making new friends,” or “peace is having enough pizza in the world for everybody.” Written for all ages.

With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote, Ann Bausum, writer. This nonfiction book for more mature readers tells the real story of how women won their struggle for the right to vote. 9 and up.

Whoever You Are, Mem Fox, author and Leslie Staub, illustrator. This book for small children uses beautiful pictures and simple phrases to teach kids about how we all have so much more in common than we may think. 3 and up.

So You Want to Be President, Judith St. George, author and David Small, illustrator. For your history buff, this fun book describes the obstacles and opportunities faced by past presidential candidates. 6 and up.

Lu and the Swamp Ghost, James Carville and Patricia McKissick, authors and David Catrow, illustrator. While I’ve been a bit peeved at Carville since he called Bill Richardson “Judas” for endorsing Obama, the book is nonetheless a gem. It tells the story of a Louisiana girl who faces her fears in order to help others. Great for kids 3 and up.

There are many more, which is so great. We’ll post another list later in the summer. In the meantime, happy reading!


One Response

  1. This list is soooo cool. I’m taking it to the Bookstore in the Grove today. Tomorrow I’m taking it to Books & Books and I’m going to ask for all of these titles. Wait, you forgot, My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy. Oh, that’s not for kids.

    Why don’t you guys to do a mom’s reading list?


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