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Democracy at Work

Changes are in store for our country with “Democracy at Work,” a new president and vice president taking their oaths of office on Wednesday, January 20th.

To ready readers for the transition, Clover is suggesting books to get kids in the know—a trio of superlative reads, not only timely but interesting and entertaining as well. They’re top picks about our top executives and a special place our nation’s presidents call home.

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

On Inauguration Day, with all of its pomp and circumstance, it’s easy to overlook the fact that our leaders are at heart just ordinary folks. “Joey, the Story of Joe Biden,” by his wife Jill Biden and prolific children’s author Kathleen Krull, drives this point home.

This biography begins when Biden is a boy—a competitive lad from a faith-minded family—a boy with high ideals, the oldest of four children born to working-class parents. Biden liked a challenge and rose to the occasion in the classroom and on athletic fields too. He was clearly marked for success, but Biden had an affliction that dogged him, a stutter that made speaking in front of others difficult, a speech impediment that caused him to be bullied.

Homespun illustrations by Amy June Bates offer a pictorial theme of America in the era in which Biden was raised, perfectly complimenting this touching story about the journey Biden made from Delaware to the White House.

Middle Read

Written in her expressive voice, author Nikki Grimes offers a comprehensive account of our nation’s first female vice president. “Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice” is a picture book of hope, dreams and possibility, the story of a young girl with multicultural roots, raised to value fighting for justice, “…another word for fairness.”

Kamala’s mother was originally from India, her father from Jamaica. The couple fell in love and married in California. “Right away, Kamala was like clay her parents molded for action.” Her parents divorced when Kamala was seven, and though she missed her dad, she lived close to her godmother. Kamala was part of the integration program in California—was bussed to schools with other children of color.

When Kamala was in middle school, the family’s move to Canada wasn’t welcomed, but Kamala adjusted again. As she grew up, she modeled what she learned as a youngster in her career as a lawyer, prosecutor and Senator. Illustrations by Laura Freeman convey the sincerity of Grimes’ moving tale.

Oldest Read

Once a president is sworn in, it’s moving time—off to take up a new residence with his family at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Young readers can learn all about this stately structure in “Exploring the White House: Inside America’s Most Famous Home,” a book chocked full of fascinating facts and antidotes about former presidents, their wives, children and pets, by journalist Kate Andersen Brower.

Once Brower divulges information about The White House’s history, its various rooms, their purposes, and the grounds around the building she moves into telling intimate stories about household help who grew attached and loyal to the presidents they served, the role secret service agents face in keeping the first family safe, dining at the White House, and other chapters that are utterly fascinating.

Though this book is earmarked for young readers it will be enjoyed by adults too making it a fun book to discuss and share with family members of all ages.

Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2021, Community Literacy Foundation. Reprinted with permission.

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