Democracy is only as strong as its citizens. Teach your children about the importance of fair and free elections with these children's books about voting and elections. These books will share with your kids the crucial role ordinary people play in a society when they exercise their civic responsibility and participate in elections.
This book list contains picture books about voting for preschoolers through grade school as well as nonfiction choices for ages 8 through middle school and on into high school. The list contains themed sections for general election information, voting equality and suffrage.
And don't forget to take your kids with you to vote (or let them watch you fill in your absentee ballot)!
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I always recommend finding books at the library. However, owning books is always a joy. If you shop online you can still support your local, independent bookseller through Bookshop. Find this list on Bookshop here.
General Books about Voting and Elections
With one exception, the general books in this section are picture books for ages 3-8. For more books that teach kids about civic responsibility check out our list of picture books about being a good citizen.
V is for Voting
by Kate Farrell, illustrated by Caitlin Kuhwald
This is a great twist on the standard alphabet book, with an upbeat, positive message. Each letter/word encourages kids to be stand-up citizens and activists in their communities. A diverse cast of characters, including real life figures, speaks directly to the reader and encourages critical thinking along with historical reflections. And I love the ending, "Z is for Zeal. Please bring yours!" Ages 3 and up.
I Voted: Making a Choice Makes a Difference
by Mark Shulman, illustrated by Serge Bloch
Using a class vote for a pet, Schulman takes children on a journey through the election process. He details choice, debate, changing opinions and voting. The text cleverly adapts the pet-voting experience to the wider ramifications of elections and the importance of exercising and preserving voter rights. Ages 4 and up.
Vote for Our Future!
by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Micah Player
This is a fantastic picture book about voting. Facts about elections and the experience of going the the polls is presented in an engaging format and deceptively simple text. The story centers around a group of school children who learn that their school will be used as a polling site on election day. When they understand that they can't vote themselves, that doesn't stop them from educating themselves on the issues, becoming advocates for causes and encouraging adults to vote. Ages 4 and up.
Grace for President
by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
When Grace finds out there has never been a female president, she is determined to change that. While the boy she is up against makes popular promises and counts electoral votes, Grace works hard and steadily to earn her votes and show with her actions that she’s the right girl for the job. The explanation of how electoral votes are cast is skillfully woven into the narrative, making this a great choice for discussions around election time. Ages 4 an up.
Duck for President
by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Your children will remember Duck the agitator from Click Clack Moo. Well, he's back and ready to oust Farmer Brown and run the farm on his own terms. After getting elected, he finds out being in charge isn't as easy as he thought, so he might as well run for an even higher office! Kids will enjoy laughing at Duck's antics and may even ask a few questions about elections. Grown-ups will enjoy the inside jokes. Ages 4 and up.
You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People
by Elizabeth Rusch
Here's a wonderful book about elections, democracy and the importance of advocacy, perfect for middle and high schoolers (and adults, as well, considering the sorry state of affairs). Rusch clearly explains the current electoral process in the United States and details its many challenges. She covers the electoral college, money in politics, gerrymandering, voter suppression, among others. But this is ultimately an encouraging book, as Rusch explains the impact activism can have and shares ways young people can be part of progress and change. Ages 10 and up.
Books about Voting Equality
Teach your kids that equal access to voting is the only way justice can be achieved. These books will share with readers the history of fighting for the right to vote and show them how they can join in.
Equality's Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America
by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Magdalena Mora
I absolutely loved this picture book about voting rights. Diesen and Mora present the history of the fight for voting equality in a wonderfully dynamic visual manner. As the book progresses with the rhythmic narrative, the march of people no longer willing to accept voting disenfranchisement grows larger and larger. An endnote revels the historical figures "hidden" in the march and gives further information. Ages 4 and up.
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
The elderly Lillian climbs a hill to vote for the first time. As she climbs she recalls the history of her family and African-Americans in her country and all it took to get to this point. Teaching your children about the responsibilities of citizenship necessarily includes a discussion about the necessity, and history of, voting rights–both the good and the ugly. Ages 5 and up.
by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, illustrated by James E. Ransome
As our country is turning back the clock on votering rights, it is more crucial than ever that we encourage our children to remember how those rights were hard won. Michael's granddaddy heads out to vote for the first time, but when he gets to the polls and has to admit he can't read, he does not get to vote after all. Years later, when Michael goes to vote, he brings along his granddaddy's photo. I like the way the book emphasized the generational progress, which is a great hook for talking about this subject with your kids. Ages 5 and up.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March
by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, illustrated by PJ Loughran
This is an appealing conversation-style, first person narrative by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest person to march all the way from Selma to Montgomery. Lowery describes her experience being jailed nine times (all before the age of 15) and beaten on Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. It’s an amazing story. Lowery speaks directly to children and tells them they have a voice and can be history makers as well. A final reference to the 2013 Supreme Court decision and assertion that discrimination no longer exists challenges the reader, “Who has the right to vote is still being decided today.” A superb, must-read book. Ages 10 and up.
Lifting as We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box
by Evette Dionne
Dionne tackles voting rights and suffrage by beginning with its origins in the abolitionist movement. This comprehensive nonfiction book details the role Black women played in the fight to end slavery and ensure voting rights and full citizenship, as well as the shameful way white women and men attempted to exclude them from the movement. Dionne includes important documentation, first-person sources and photographs. Informative and engaging. A very important book. Ages 10 and up.
Books about Women's Suffrage
The following books focus on the fight for women's rights at the ballot box. I've tried to focus on helping your young citizens-in-training learn about less famous, but no less important, figures and events. Want your kids to learn even more? Try this book list: Picture books about women in politics and women activists.
Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women's Right to Vote
by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Nancy Zhang
Find it: Bookshop | Amazon |Indiebound
Alice Paul, a suffragette and activist organized a protest outside the White House during Wilson's administration. She led parades, went to jail and even met with the president himself. Her creative tactics helped pave the way for the 19th amendment. Ages 5 and up.
Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles
by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Hadley Hooper
This is a lively picture book about two women, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke, who traveled across the country with a kitten and a typewriter to spread the message that women should have the right to vote. Ages 5 and up.
History Smashers: Women's Right to Vote
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Dylan Meconis
For kids who might be a little history-resistant, Messner's new series, "History Smashers" is a great choices. With easy-to-read text, lots of illustrations and a good dose of humor, Messner makes learning about history fun and entertaining. We all know laughter helps kids retain knowledge, right? Highly recommended. Ages 7 and up.
Finish the Fight
by Veronica Chambers
Finish the Fight is a collection of biographical sketches of women of color and queer women activists compiled by the staff of The New York Times. Missing from many history books, but not from this one, are women across the spectrum, from Native American, Latinx, Asian and African-American backgrounds. Readers will come away with a fuller picture of the fight for voting equality than they might have gotten otherwise. Essential reading. Ages 8 and up.
John Lewis once said something you should teach to your kids, "The right to vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument in a democratic society. We must use it."