Winning Books for an Election Year


Published:

There are plenty of good books available for election season, from easy readers to tween- and teen-appropriate fiction. The following are some options, loosely grouped by subject, but with plenty of crossover appeal.

Presidential kids

Talk about the limelight. Try being the son or daughter of the commander-in-chief. It might not have been their choice for a parent’s new job, but these children — real and imagined — have the responsibility of being First Kids. President Theodore Roosevelt reportedly said of his oldest daughter, “I can be president of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.”

In the charmingly illustrated What To Do About Alice (Scholastic, $16.99), Barbara Kerley writes and Edwin Fotheringham draws the early life of the spirited Alice Lee Roosevelt, who became known as “the other Washington Monument” thanks to her indomitable spirit.

Tired of the confines of a White House life and the scrutiny resulting from his mother’s presidency, Sam makes a bid for freedom in The Great White House Breakout (Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99). Funny, yet poignant, the picture book suggests what it might be like for a little boy who wants a regular life.

While Sam is fictional, the children and teenagers featured in First Kids: The True Stores of All the Presidents’ Children (Scholastic, $7.99) are very real. From George Washington’s stepchildren right up to the Bush girls, the book provides pictures, biographical information and trivia, such as a list of presidential hobbies.

Talk about teen angst, pity poor Vanessa Rothrock, who tells her story in As if Being 12 3/4 Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President! (Knopf, Delacorte Dell, $15.99). The reasons her mother shouldn’t run for president range from the typical, “I need her way more than the rest of the country,” to mature beyond her years: “I don’t want anything bad to happen to her.”

Meanwhile, Sameera “Sparrow” Righton might argue that polls, focus groups and political spin have gone a little too far. Adopted from Pakistan as a 3-year-old, the daughter of a presidential contender finds herself being molded into something she’s not in First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover (Speak, $7.99) by advisors who believe changing her image will help her dad get elected.

Trivia and tidbits

Many different personalities have occupied the White House, and several books offer interesting details about the men who have been president as well as other colorful bits of Americana.

When someone launched a cabbage at William Howard Taft, the presi-dent quipped, “I see that one of my adversaries has lost his head.” President William Harrison might have saved that cabbage for dinner. He was so thrifty, he walked to the market each morning with a basket over his arm. So You Want to Be President? (Philomel Books, $9.99) is full of such interesting observations about the lives of these important men and their families.

See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes and the Race to the White House (Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, $9.95) also chronicles some of the high jinks and low jinks of presidential politicking in a surprisingly kid-friendly way.

The story of one presidential pet allows for unexpected insight into the world of his owner in First Dog Fala (Peachtree Publishers, $16.95). The Scottish terrier was the beloved pet of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Fala’s story is also the story of an extraordinary presidency.

And for those tired of electioneering but still interested in fun U.S. facts, how about United Tweets of America (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $17.99)? This cleverly illustrated story about the 50 state birds also includes plenty of trivia about the places they represent.

Unexpected Candidates

Sometimes candidates come out of nowhere. Or at least not where you’d expect. The subjects of these books are excellent examples.

The United States might not have had a female president, but Grace is determined to change that. First stop is her school’s mock election in Grace for President (Hyperion Books for Children, $15.99). When it appears all of the boys will be voting for her male opponent, Grace decides to focus on being the best person for he job.

Tired of chores, homework, school, and really, truly tired of timeouts, young Luke makes a bid for high office in President Pennybaker (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.99).

But sometimes having a grown-up job isn’t as cool as it sounds. Learning about the skills the job requires convinces Oliver that he’s got the perfect person for the upcoming election in My Teacher for President (Puffin Books, $6.99). With bright illustrations and simple text, the book charmingly points out the similarities in the job descriptions to run a classroom or a country.

Animals get their chance, too. In LaRue for Mayor: Letters from the Campaign Trail (Scholastic, $16.99) and Otto Runs for President (Scholastic, $15.99) disaffected dogs enter the political fray.

For older readers, there’s Popular Vote (Point, $8.99). The teenage daughter of the local mayor mixes it up by running for student council president, but since she’s a teenager, it’s got to get more complicated than that. And it does.

History Lessons

Understanding the past is a hugely important when looking toward the future. All of these books help accomplish that.

Richly colored and detailed illustrations distinguish Uncle Sam’s America (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $15.99) in a book respectful of both the country’s history and its diversity. The same can be said of Americans Who Tell the Truth (Puffin Books, $7.99) which pairs stunning portraits of famous Americans by Robert Shetterly with quotes that might not have made them popular with everyone but which underscored the freedom and responsibility to speak them.

Jumping back to the American Revolution, Independent Dames (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.99) tells the often-neglected stories of the women and girls who helped fight the British.

For lovers of pop-up books, America: The Making of a Nation (Little, Brown and Company, $19.99) offers plenty of flaps to open. Unsealing the final envelope reveals a replica of the Declaration of Independence.

And in a book for older readers, The Hope Chest (Random House, $16.99) offers a timely reminder that American women have had the right to vote less than one hundred years. Although fictionalized, the book includes a number of real people and historically accurate events.

To volunteer with Kids Voting locally, visit www.kidsvotingwake.org or www.kidsvotingdurham.org.

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Calendar

May 2019

Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center to make a few paper flowers and help to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Brunches Brew is our weekly jazz jam brunch hosted by Alan Thompson (Zoocru, sax). Each Sunday grab a seat on the lawn and enjoy good vibes, food trucks and a cold brew from Hi-Wire. This...

Cost: Free

Where:
SummerStage
800 Taylor St
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: Hi-Wire Brewing, abc11, and Offline

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Discover Historic Yates Mill - a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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See the world through bugs’ eyes and listen with deer’s ears. Learn how animals use their senses to get around. Play some games to discover your senses and make a smelly craft. For all ages;...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Enjoy Raleigh’s premier Japanese animation and culture convention. Concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise, unique artwork and more highlight the event. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $65/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center to make a few paper flowers and help to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoya an open gym, giveaways, obstacles, panel discussion, performances, the American Meltdown Food Truck, JAM Ice Cream truck and celebrity Ninjas and obstacle course racers....

Cost: Free

Where:
Warrior Tech OCR
220 G Dominion Drive
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Discover Historic Yates Mill - a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (6 - under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

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Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center to make a few paper flowers and help to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Celebrate the merry month of May in nature! Stroll along the trails around Yates Mill Pond while searching for the many marvelous wildflowers that are in bloom. Explore how flowers function and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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This free workshop is for middle school girls, grades 6-8. Students will learn the basics of 3D computer graphics like creating objects and modeling using Clara.io. No previous experience is...

Cost: Free: registration required

Where:
, NC


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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

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Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center to make a few paper flowers and help to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy tea time for the whole family. Samples of hot tea, cold tea, and kombucha will be provided, along with games and family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
IngenuiTea Kombucha Coffee & Tea
514 E Williams St
APEX, NC  27502
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Sponsor: IngenuiTea Brews
Telephone: 919-438-3684
Contact Name: Mark Poole
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Come into Learning Express to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly and make your own butterfly habitat with live caterpillar, food, and container. You will also have the option to purchase a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Learning Express Gifts
2020 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Sponsor: Learning Express Gifts
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
Website »

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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

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Search for birds. Ages 13-15. Register online. Choose course #119075.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Enjoy fun, games, friendship and more every Friday.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

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Rribbit! Listen to the chorus of frogs and toads as the sun sets at Crowder County Park. Sort through amazing facts about amphibians, play froggy bingo, and make a froggy craft! Then walk down to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Celebrate National Trails Day and 40 years of Cary greenways. Enjoy 16-mile and 6.5 mile bike rides, a Walk n' Roll event, food trucks, inflatables and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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King Solomon #71 ,HRAM, of Raleigh NC, is hosting a Carwash and ahotdog/hamburger plate sale tobenefit the York Rite Scholarship Fund. This is an opportunity to raise funds to replenish the budget...

Cost: $10 - basic; $15 - deluxe; $5 hamburger or hot dog, chips, and a drink

Where:
Tupper Memorial Baptist Church
501 South Blount Street
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: King Soloman #71 HRAM
Telephone: 252-367-7111
Contact Name: James Purington
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Join our bird enthusiast Vernon for an easy walk while looking and listening for our feathered friends. Discover different types of birds and their habitats. Meet at the Waterwise Garden.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Kick-off the library's summer learning program with a morning of space themed activities, games, crafts and sno-cones. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Website »

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Examine reptiles and amphibians and learn about their tracks and signs at an exhibit from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Enjoy family yoga sessions, learn how to identify song...

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest , NC  27587
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Website »

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Kick-off our Summer Learning Program with a morning of fun-filled space themed activities at the Main Library! Register for Summer Learning then Explore the Library and Beyond! All ages welcome.

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

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Help with trail improvements. Lunch provided. Ages 6 and older with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Opportunities to explore all 4 levels of the mill don’t happen often! Learn the history of milling in North Carolina, test your mill trivia, and discover what interesting machinery is preserved...

Cost: $10/Adult, $8/Senior (ages 60+), $6/Child (ages 10-16)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Take the family for a tour of backyard chicken coops and visit neighborhood chickens, bees and gardens. Proceeds benefit Urban Ministries of Wake County's mission of feeding,...

Cost: $15-$30

Where:
Backyards across Raleigh, Cary, and Apex
Raleigh, NC  27603


Sponsor: Urban Ministries Of Wake County Inc
Telephone: 919-256-2187
Contact Name: Jordan Hewitt
Website »

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Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 or 3 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (6 - under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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This family-friendly spectacular features food, drinks, live entertainment and fun activities for kids and adults, including a Ferris wheel and carousel. The night ends with a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dix Park
101 Blair Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Reptiles are really “cool” critters! Learn more about these fascinating, often misunderstood animals and meet our educational box turtle and a few different kinds of snakes up close. Bring a...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail - New Hill parking area
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-2117
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

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The library’s Teen Advisory Board invites kids, adults, & teens alike to a Hogwarts in the Library celebration! Get sorted into houses, fashion your wizarding wand, play trivia games and more!...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

The library’s Teen Advisory Board invites middle and high schoolers to put on their dress robes and gowns to attend a special, teen-only Hogwarts Ball. Registration is required...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

The Beaver Queen Pageant is the Triangle’s own special mix of folly, pageantry and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities and compete for the title of Beaver Queen with their...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Park
106 W. Knox St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Telephone: 919-698-9729
Contact Name: Rachel Cohn
Website »

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Learning Express transforms into a land of magic and make-believe. Enjoy a day filled with fairy hair, face painting, and many fun mystical crafts and games. Ages 3 and older. Fee...

Cost: $10/child

Where:
Learning Express Toys
4209 Lassiter Mill Rd.
#128
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Learning Express
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
Website »

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The eight-piece soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones headlines Band Together's annual event, which this year raises money for Interfaith Food Shuttle. The show also includes...

Cost: See website for fees.

Where:
Red Hat Amphitheater
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

Before the screening of Isle of Dogs, join in the festivities featuring local vendors, music, dog arts and crafts, demonstrations by the American Kennel Club, a splash zone, and more. Purchase...

Cost: $8 Members, $10 Nonmembers Children 6 and under free; advance ticket purchase

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Blast off with the North Carolina Symphony as it presents music from "Star Wars," Holst's "The Planets" and more. Ages 12 and younger admitted free on the lawn.

Cost: See website for fees.

Where:
Koka Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
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Annual Guides

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