Read Aloud Thursday: President’s Day

So You Want to be President? Revised and Updated Edition

We’re spending this week learning a little about the presidents.  I love Judith St. George and I love David Small as an illustrator. And our first book of the week doesn’t disappoint. It’s a fun look at all the presidents and a great intro for young children. There is a lot of quirky trivia.  (How many presidents were named James? Which had a goat as a pet? Which one played the flute?) But it also has a lot of solid factual information tucked in amongst the silliness.

If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House

This book by Jane O’Connor has a similar feel as So You Want to be President? but it focuses on Presidential family life in general and life in the White House more specifically. It was a little long for David but John got a kick out of reading all the details. It’s another light  introduction to the Presidency for this age group.

George Washington's Teeth

This book by Deborah Chandra and Madeline Comora traces what happened to George Washington’s teeth as they fall out one by one. The book is told in rhyme and the illustrations add to the light-hearted approach. Like the other books mentioned here there is a lot of stealth learning going on at the same time. As the teeth fall out, we follow events in George’s life. The authors based the book on actual letters and diaries and provide a time-line at the end for older kids and adults interested in learning more about our first President’s dental woes.Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington

Anne Rockwell is one of my favorite authors for non-fiction books for young children. This book is quite a bit more in-depth than others I’ve read by her but it also has her trademark ability to take a subject and present it in a clear, interesting and accessible way for even very young kids. I like that this book begins with George Washington as a child and focuses more on those early years than other books I’ve seen about his life. (And no cherry trees!)

Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books

Kay Winters also focuses on a presidential boyhood in this book about Abe Lincoln. Really, with a subtitle of “The Boy Who Loved Books” I knew I was going to like this one. The illustrations are vivid paintings and the text is unusual, a free-verse style. It all works beautifully for a book that is a great introduction to the 16th president.

Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln
This book by Doreen Rappaport is probably best for older elementary kids as it deals more graphically with the topics of slavery and war. The author and the illustrator (Kadir Nelson) are the same team that gave us Martin’s Big Words about Martin Luther King. One of my favorite things about both books is the use of subject’s own words woven into the narrative.

Lincoln and His Boys

This book by Rosemary Wells (yes, the same author as the fabulous Max and Ruby books) is a longer read-aloud. We did it over several days at lunch. Like many chapter books, it kept David’s attention marginally but it was great for John. Both boys could relate to the Lincoln boys who seemed in many ways like them.  In that way, history came alive a bit for both of them. As a parent, I also gained a new appreciation for the man Lincoln was after reading about him as a Dad.

Head on over to Read Aloud Thursday at  Hope Is The Word to see more of what people are reading with their kids.

9 thoughts on “Read Aloud Thursday: President’s Day

  1. We’ve read a few of these — So You Want to be President?, Big George, and Lincoln and his Boys — but the others are new to me. I love your phrase “stealth learning”! Sometimes I think that’s the most effective kind…

  2. We haven’t read a single one of these, and we’ve actually been reading books about presidents this week, too! The only one I’ve ever seen is the first one. Thanks so much for the reviews– now I have a new batch of books to be in the lookout for!

  3. Alice,

    A funny coincidence just happened. I read an email that a woman in my exercise class has published a Children’s book and will be having a book signing at Borders at Tysons Corner on Sunday at 2pm. The book is called “What Does a President Look Like?”. The author is Jane Hampton Cook. Then I read your blog all about books about President’s Day. So I feel the need to pass on the info about the book signing. I am feeling the need to read a kid’s book about the Presidents! Happy President’s Day. I’ll miss celebrating with you.

    • Cool! I’ll have to check that one out. Something tells me though that you won’t be missing celebrating President’s Day all that much. 🙂 Au revoir!

  4. Pingback: Hope Is the Word » Blog Archive » RAT Links 2.17.11

  5. Pingback: Hope Is the Word » Blog Archive » Read Aloud Thursday–Abraham Lincoln

  6. Pingback: Non-Fiction Monday: Abraham Lincoln | Supratentorial

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