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Cast Your Ballot for These Great Books

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Everyone’s sights are on the upcoming election, be they man, woman, bee or beast. So your pal Clover is abuzz with “Cast Your Ballot” selections, stellar books about presidents and the process of winning the right to rule. Even if American history isn’t your bag, you’re sure to enjoy this trio of reads with super storylines and fascinating facts. Enjoy!

The Community Literacy Foundation, with support from it's sponsors, provides these books to 37 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Youngest Read

The legislative process gets simplified and oozes with clever antics in “The President of the Jungle,” by André Rodrigues, Larissa Ribeiro, Paula Desgualdo and Pedro Markun. This picture book presents wild animals with some wild ideas about what they want in a leader.

Naturally, Lion is King of the Jungle but when the big cat reroutes the river to make a swimming pool in his front yard trouble ensues. The animals band together for a peaceful demonstration to protest Lion’s move. Despite the protest, Lion doesn’t back down, so the animals have an election, hoping to oust Tiger out of office. Snake, Monkey and Sloth challenge Lion by throwing their hats in the ring.

When the votes are counted, an unlikely dark horse wins—a candidate that learned a lot in the election process and makes contributions to the jungle that please everyone. Here’s an endearing glimpse into how our country elects its officials, a 5-Roar Read for sure!

Middle Read

All hail “The Next President, the Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents,” by Kate Messner. This flag-waver offers fun presidential facts and antidotes beginning with President George Washington right through the Presidency of Donald Trump.

It begins with Adam Rex’s brilliant spread set in a museum, visitors of different ages and races looking at presidential portraits. With the turn of a page, we see a portrait of President George Washington, a number one button on his lapel.

“When George Washington became the first president of the United States, there were NINE future presidents already alive in America. Four of them were working alongside Washington in the nation’s new capital.”

On the facing page we meet them, Rex’s realistic illustration depicting the men talking and pondering paperwork: John Adams, President 2, Thomas Jefferson, President 3, James Madison, President 4 and James Monroe, President 5.

The book continues focusing on various years, with “Snapshots” of presidents in action, prior to their election and during.

This compilation humanizes our leaders, leaving readers to ponder “…where is the next president?’ The final illustration depicts young people “growing up,” who just might “(grow) into the job.”

Oldest Read

Starting seventh grade isn’t a milestone 12-year-old Maddie relishes in “The Campaign,” a story by Leila Sales about how individuals can make a difference in their communities no matter their age.

Maddie is creative and doesn’t have a stable of friends, a clique of girls in her class dubbing her weird and hurting her feelings. Fortunately Daniel, her classmate, is there for her—and who can forget Janet, her 23-year-old college-grad babysitter/companion, Maddie’s champion for years.

Maddie not only struggles socially, some school subjects make her break out in a sweat, but she shines in art and adores her teacher Mr. Xian, the “Art-Guy.” When he tells her his job might be on the line because the current mayor of their town is retiring, and the only candidate running wants to discontinue fine arts classes in schools in Lawrenceville, Maddie is shocked and disheartened.

But this spitfire’s angst doesn’t last. Maddie encourages her longtime friend Janet to run against Lucinda Burghart, and mounts a grassroots campaign with great heart, persuasiveness and tenacity.

Along the way, Maddie learns valuable lessons the author shares with young readers about the election process and a philosophy about our chosen leaders we’d all be wise to embrace. Line art gives this winner even greater appeal.

Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2020, Community Literacy Foundation. Reprinted with permission.

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