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11 Books to Read for Presidents’ Day

Join us in observance of Presidents’ Day with the following titles from Astra Books for Young Readers. The books in this collection will educate young readers on historical facts about our nation’s presidents as well as provide fun election stories.

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by John O’Brien – Barb Rosenstock’s rhythmic words and John O’Brien’s whimsical illustrations capture Thomas Jefferson’s passion for the written word as well as little-known details about book collecting. Author and artist worked closely with experts to create the first picture book on Jefferson’s love of reading, writing, and books. 

Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette by Selene Castrovilla, illustrated Drazen Kozjan – Young fans of the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton” will enjoy this narrative nonfiction picture book story about the important friendship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary War. Revolutionary Friends presents the human side of history, revealing the bond between two famous Revolutionary figures.

Ambushed!: The Assassination Plot Against President Garfield by Gail Jarrow – In this page-turner, award-winning author Gail Jarrow delves into the fascinating story of the relationship between James Abram Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, and Charles Guiteau, who shot Garfield in July 1881. Jarrow relates the gruesome details of Garfield’s slow and agonizing death and reveals medical mistakes made in the aftermath of Garfield’s assassination, including the faulty diagnoses and outdated treatments that led to the president’s demise.

Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation by Peggy Thomas, illustrated by Stacy Innerst – This is Thomas Jefferson as he’s never been seen before! In this meticulously researched picture book for older readers, author Peggy Thomas uncovers Jefferson’s passion for agriculture and his country. And Stacy Innerst’s incredibly original illustrations offer the right balance of reverence and whimsy.

Camping with the President by Ginger Wadsworth, illustrated by Karen Dugan – Imagine a U.S. president on a camping trip. It seems unlikely today, but in May 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt dismissed his Secret Service men to go camping with John Muir, the world-famous naturalist. For three glorious nights and four days in California’s Yosemite National Park, the two men talked about birds, giant sequoia trees, glaciers, as well as the importance of preserving wilderness for future generations. Author Ginger Wadsworth and illustrator Karen Dugan carefully researched this true story, a CRA Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Silver Honor Book, relying on primary documents and working closely with experts in the field.

Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Sarah Green – Cleverly framed as a boxing match, this book provides a fascinating and compelling look at an important moment in American history. When Woodrow Wilson was elected President, he didn’t know that he would be participating in one of the greatest fights of the century: the battle for women’s right to vote. The formidable Alice Paul led the women’s suffrage movement and saw President Wilson’s election as an opportunity to win the vote for women. Sarah Green’s bright, detailed illustrations perfectly accompany award-winning author Barb Rosenstock’s captivating narrative.

Lincoln Clears a Path: Abraham Lincoln’s Agricultural Legacy by Peggy Thomas, illustrated by Stacy Innerst – Author Peggy Thomas uncovers Abraham Lincoln’s passion for agriculture and his country while illustrator Stacy Innerst cleverly provides a clear look as President Lincoln strives for positive change. He cleared a path to better farming, improved transportation, accessible education, and most importantly, freedom.

Pete for President! by Daisy Alberto, illustrated by Blanche Sims – Pete and Joey are best friends, until they run for class president and discover that it takes more than speeches and posters and promises to win an election. The popular Social Studies Connects series links history, geography, civics, and economics to kids’ daily lives.

Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas, illustrated by Layne Johnson – Besides being a general and the first president of the United States, did you know that George Washington was also a farmer? Here’s a look at the president as he’s rarely seen. As he worked to make the new country independent, he also struggled to create a self-sufficient farm at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Excerpts from Washington’s writings are featured throughout this nonfiction picture book, which also includes a timeline, resource section, as well as essays on Washington at Mount Vernon and his thoughts on slavery. Both the author and illustrator worked closely with the staff of Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens to render an accurate portrait of Farmer George at work.

Tad Lincoln’s Restless Wriggle: Pandemonium and Patience in the President’s House by Beth Anderson, illustrated by S.D. Schindler  – Tad Lincoln’s restless wriggle just wouldn’t quit, much to the delight of his father President Abraham Lincoln—but not so much to anybody else! This picture book is based on the famous first son who, despite a disability and other challenges, had compassion, intelligence, and wisdom beyond his years.

May the Votes Be With You by Lisa Harkrader, illustrated by Jessica Warriick – Acting like an Earthling isn’t easy! In book 7 of the How to Be an Earthling series, Piper wants to change the world—one classroom at a time! She’s running against Jack for student council. Jack has razzle-dazzle… and hamsters… and sprinkles! Piper just has good ideas. Luckily, Spork has a plan for Piper that’s out of this galaxy. But is dazzling her friends really the best way to win?