Reasons to Vote: Explaining the American Political Process to Kids

Election Day is just around the corner (November 8th!). No matter your political affiliation, I think we can all agree it’s been a wild ride. . .

Since this election is contentious and unprecedented in so many ways, who better to remind us of the importance of our civic duty than Mr. Peanut?

inprocess item 7139032

in process item 7139032, front wrapper

Created by Joseph R. Fisher and brought to you by Planters Nut and Chocolate Company, The Historical and Educational Paint Book (1949), tells America’s children about important historical events in our history, explains our freedom-loving government structure, expresses the true character of American virtues, and advertises peanuts. . . all while providing blank illustrations for coloring!

Page [16]

Page [16]

So, just in case you have forgotten why voting is an integral part of the democratic process, the folks at Planters are happy to remind you:

page [11]

page [11]

But if you pay attention to the fine print above, you might be disappointed to learn that men (and only men) are deemed fit for the job of governance.

You might find that a little girl named Grace is a better fit for (class) president:

inprocess item 7254973

in process item 7254973, front board

Grace for President (New York: Hyperion Books for Children, ©2008), written by Kelly Dipucchio and illustrated by Leuyen Pham, tells the story of a little girl who is puzzled and frustrated when she learns that America has never had a “girl president”. She decides to remedy the situation by declaring that she will become president some day, but that to begin her burgeoning political career, she’ll start with Woodrow Wilson Elementary’s mock election. But first, she’ll have to beat Thomas Cobb (and his burgeoning misogyny).

page [11]

page [11]


Page [17]

 Grace ran a great campaign. But as we might (unlikely) see in just a few weeks, sometimes a tight election comes down to just a few electoral votes:

Page [24]

Page [24]

And with Wyoming secured, Grace was able to snag that magic number of 270 electoral votes, thus paving the way for her dream o, one day becoming president of the United States.

Page [31]

Page [31]

But if you don’t want Grace to be the president of your school, it is always your unalienable right to choose Donald Trump as your principal (or maybe not):

inprocess item 7339743

inprocess item 7339743

A self-published endeavor, Trump for Principal is a “a children’s book for American grownups” written by Beth Schaefer and illustrated by Hasby Mubarok (Evanston, Illinois: Books On A Whim Inc., 2015). With a few illustrations that are just a little too crude to show on in a blog post about children’s literature, this satirical picture book portrays what a Trump Principality might look like, bolstered with bonafide Trump quotes to boot:

Spread [15-16]

Pages [15-16]

Principal Trump crowns himself Mr. Universe, Page [32]

Principal Trump crowns himself Mr. Universe, Page [32]

A Trump style holiday party in the gym, Page [22]

A Trump-style holiday party in the gym, Page [22]

But of course, if Trump’s not your guy, who else is there?

Who could follow in the footsteps of these great leaders and role models?

inprocess item 7374063

in process item 7374063

Not sure?

Don’t worry, our next book will tell you…

hilarytpspreadWritten by John Winter and illustrated by Raul Colon, Hillary. . . is not a satire (New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, [2016]). This picture book biography follows the courageous and industrious life of Hillary Clinton and her long career in politics. Who could forget the important advances she made for America when she became the inspiration for the “Texts from Hillary” meme with her iconic sunglasses?

Vignette page [25]

Detail page [25]

And, of course, this riveting and unbiased picture books ends with Hilary Clinton’s silhouette facing the dawn of America’s glorious future:

Spread [27-28]

Pages [27-28]

Who said picture books aren’t propaganda?

Don’t forget to vote!

“Wild Lives:” An Afternoon of Talks on October 16th, Guyot Hall Auditorium, Princeton University

COTSEN-SMALL-POSTER-for-EMAILCotsen Children’s Library, the Graphic Arts Collection, and the Friends of the Princeton University Library will be co-hosting:

 Wild Lives: Catesby, Audubon, Lear, and Ford

October 16th, 2016 from 2:00-4:30 PM
Guyot Hall Auditorium, Princeton University

Please join us then for an afternoon of talks discussing the distinguished natural history illustrations of Mark Catesby, John Audubon, Edward Lear, and Walton Ford.

Our four speakers and their presentations will be:

Robert M. Peck ’74, Curator of Art and Senior
Fellow at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel
University: The Remarkable Nature of Edward Lear

Aaron M. Bauer, the Gerald M. Lemole Professor of
Integrative Biology at Villanova University: Mark Catesby, Pioneering Zoologist of
the American Southeast

Neal Woodman, Research Zoologist with the USGS
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: Audubon’s Contributions to
Rafinesque’s Zoological Discoveries
in the American West

A talk by contemporary artist Walton Ford

No reservations are necessary, but you may call or email me for more information at: 609-258-1148 or

Here’s a map of Guyot Hall:

Closest parking is on Ivy Lane, lot no.14, open to everyone on Sunday afternoon.