With the presidential election upon us in just a few weeks I thought I would offer up some of my favorite election books. All of these books are funny and explain the electoral process to young people in an accessible and entertaining way.
Scholastic, 1996 156 pgs.Now twenty years old, Gutman's humorous take on the political process remains, for my money, the quintessential election book for young people. Judson Moon gets talked into running for president by his political best friend/campaign manger and things quickly get out of hand. His running mate is his former babysitter, an elderly African-American woman. This unlikely team takes America by storm, offering a choice beyond the traditional political parties. The campaign gets much further than Judson ever imagined, reflecting America's desire for a different kind of candidate. The problem is: Judson doesn't really want the job. The publication year is evident in certain ways, specifically the small and specific role of social media, but over-all this book proves that there is little new under the sun.
Abrams, 2012 196 pgs
Angleberger, of Origmai Yoda fame, pens a hilarious romp of trickery and deceit. Lenny's best friend Casper saves all of his money to purchase a high-quality fake mustache, which possesses magical hypnotic powers. While wearing the mustache, Casper manages to robs banks, take over companies, and rise to the highest office in the land. It is up to Lenny and a former horse-riding child-star to stop Casper and keep the country safe from this power-hungry youth.
The Tapper Twins Run for President
Little Brown, 2016 204 pgs
The Tapper Twins are at it again! Claudia and Reece go head-to-head in a bid for class president with hilarious and unpredictable results. Readers see how the political process operates as Claudia and Reece battle it out, all while listening to bad advisers with their own agendas. Rodkey's traditional format of texts, e-mails, and transcripts accompany the text making this book a perfect and visual choice for reluctant readers. Kids will learn about how elections work, all while having fun and giggling along the way.
Random House, 2013 131 pgs.
A companion to Paulsen's series, featuring Kevin Spencer and starting with Liar, Liar, Paulsen satirizes the electoral process by illustrating a class election. When the class president moves away, Kevin and his main competition for popularity both throw their hats in the ring. His competitor is represented by Katie, a girl Kevin has tangled with before, as his campaign manager. As the grueling week of debates and soliciting votes continues, Kevin's life is further complicated by the presence of his new girlfriend who he doesn't know what to do with, the captain of the girl's varsity team who wants to use his political power for her own agenda, and a visiting four-year-old neighbor/menace. Kevin must decide what he stands for and if he really is presidential material in this funny, yet realistic tale.
I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President
Razorbill, 2009 304 pgs.
Adding a little bit of a dark-snark to his humor, Lieb takes on the corruption of elections by showcasing a young evil genius's rise to power. Class dork, Oliver Watson, is not what he appears. Under his house he has a secret lair where he operates his empire, wielding power and managing high-finances. When he chooses to become class president he must use all of his massive brain-power and manipulation to win over the student population. The perfect anti-hero, the reader doesn't know whether to root for Oliver's success or to hope that his reign of terror ends. Darkly funny, highly entertaining, and cleverly written, a great choice for middle school readers to see how elections work, all while quickly turning pages to see what outrageous stunt this power-hungry youth will pull next.