As the presidential election of 2012 draws near, children can learn about the American traditions

“What Does the President Look Like?” by Jane Hampton Cook, Illustrated by Adam Ziskie, Kane Miller, 2011, ages 6 and up.

Technology meets history in this informational picture book about the ways Americans have viewed their president, starting with George Washington and progressing all the way through to President Barack Obama. Whether through portraits, cartoons, posters, photographs, or videos on You Tube, Americans look to their leader in both good times and in bad. Abraham Lincoln, one the first presidents to be photographed, may have won the election because people could see an image of him as a real person, rather than his portrayal through a caricature.

“The People Pick a President” by Carolyn Jackson, Scholastic, 2012, 112 pages, ages 8 and up.

Published the three previous presidential election years, this updated informational chapter book answers such presidential election questions as, “How do primaries and caucuses work?” and “What are the roles of television and the Internet?” and many more. Teachers and caregivers will find this book to be a great resource for learning and teaching about what the author describes as “the toughest race in the world to win”.

“A is for America: A Patriotic Alphabet Book” by Tanya Lee Stone, Illustrated by Gerald Kelley, Penguin, 2011, ages 5 and up.

This alphabet book for middle-level readers extends beyond the presidential election to also include patriotism and historical American leaders, such as G for Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and J for Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence. The symbols of America are presented through a rhyming style and delightful cartoon-type characters.

“The Kid Who Ran for President” by Dan Gutman, Scholastic, 176 pages, ages 8 and up.

Judson Moon is a twelve year old prankster who decides to run for President of the United States. His campaign manager and billiard partner, Lane, gets the 2000 signatures needed to be on the ballot in Wisconsin and offers to find a way around the minimum age requirement for being president. So, Judson is in the race. When Judson promises to outlaw homework, he influences kids, who can then influence the parents and grandparents to cast their vote for him. This promises to be a presidential race like no other! The story weaves factual information about presidential elections into the fictional story of Judson and his supporters.

The United States system for electing a leader may be lengthy, complex, and costly, but it is our patriotic duty as citizens to vote. Books about the election give children the opportunity to begin learning about the election early on, so they can be prepared when it becomes time to cast their vote.