CurriConnects Book List - By the People

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By the People
"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people..." Being a citizen of the U.S. requires that we learn how our government works and take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, how our government works, and the tough decisions that people make -- both citizens and those who work in government. Discover civics-related topics such as voting, creating laws, enforcing laws, and the underlying principles of democracy. The collection includes both true and fictional tales about communities and government and books for all grade levels. Encourage students to select independent reading from this list as part of a citizenship unit, as a focus for Constitution Day, or in a civics/government class.

Preschool and Picture Books

The Berenstain Bears and Mama for Mayor - Jan Berenstain, (978-0062075277) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 3-Feb
The voters in Bear County are skeptical that Mama Bear cannot keep all her resolutions to fix what is wrong in their community.

Duck for President - Doreen Cronin, (978-0689863776) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
Duck's ambition to become governor quickly results in his being the new president of the country!

I Am America - Charles Smith, (978-0439431798) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
This well-illustrated book of photographs shows that Americans come in all sizes, colors, races, etc.

I Need My Own Country - Rick Walton, (978-1599905600) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 3-Feb
This book is a humorous take on how to form your own country and includes aspects such as establishing a flag, a name, a location, and defense forces.

Otto Runs for President - Rosemary Wells, (545-037220) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 570, ESL level: 2
Otto decides to run again two more promising candidates in a campaign to become the president of Canine Country Day School, believing he can still win because he knows what the students really want.

The Park Our Town Built - Diane Gonzales Bertrand, (978-1936299126) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
All the people in one town work together to create a new park in this bi-lingual picture book.

President Pennybaker - Kate Feiffer, (978-1416913559) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3-Feb
Luke feels he has to run for U.S. President so he can make his own rules!

Vote for Isaiah: A Citizenship Story - Anastasia Suen, (978-1602702745) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 3-Feb
Isaiah learns all about citizenship when he participates in a school election.

Vote for Me! - Ben Clanton, (978-1554538225) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3-Feb
Children reading this book learn about the political party system, its election tactics and promises, and adults will appreciate the subtle satirization of our two-party system.

Vote for Me! - Jean Robertson, (978-1618103161) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 3-Feb
Priscilla helps other students prepare posters for an upcoming school election.

Vote for Spongebob - Erica Pass, (978-1416949862) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 3-Feb
SpongeBob's bid for election keeps him so busy that he neglects his job at the Krusty Krab.

Early Elementary Books

Amelia Bedelia's First Vote - Herman Parish, (978-0062094063) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 490, ESL level: 3-Feb
Amelia Bedelia helps her class take responsibility for new rules her principal has come up with.

City Green - DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan, (978-0688127862) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 480, ESL level: 3
Marcy and her friend donate their time and effort toward building a community garden.

Dixie and the Good Deeds - Grace Gilman, (978-0062086570) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-3, ESL level: 2
Emma is so eager to help her community that she overextends, but her dog rescues her from her volunteer commitments.

Double Trouble - J. Press, (978-0448461083) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-2, ESL level: 3-Feb
Sam tries to use his doodling talent to help defeat his nemesis from winning the class president election, but he finds he needs other tactics as well.

The Flag Maker - Susan Campbell Bartoletti, (978-0618809110) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
A pre-teen girl, Caroline Pickersgill, sews a huge flag to fly over Fort McHenry around 1814, assisted by her family and servants.

Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt - Judith St. George, (978-0399241758) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5, Lexile: 690, ESL level: 3
This book describes the importance of Roosevelt's wealthy upbringing and prestigious family background in his becoming president of the U.S.

My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C. - Edward Kennedy, (978-0439650786) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5, Lexile: 750, ESL level: 3
Told from Senator Edward Kennedy's dog's point of view, this book provides a whirlwind tour of Washington, D.C. and government functions.

So You Want to Be President? - Judith St. George, (978-0399243172) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 3
This book presents an array of interesting facts about presidential qualities, and the humorous illustrations add a great deal of interest.

Thomas Jefferson and the Ghostriders - Howard Goldsmith, (978-1416926924) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-2, Lexile: 520, ESL level: 3
This fictionalized account of Jefferson's youth shows him observing Native Americans taking part in their burial customs.

The Very Silly Mayor - Tom Tomorrow, (978-1935439011) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 790, ESL level: 4-Mar
In a comic book style, this picture book makes fun of a silly mayor and the community that is afraid to speak out against his zanyness.

What Presidents Are Made Of - Hanoch Piven , (978-1442444331) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 980, ESL level: 4
This whimsically illustrated book of 17 U.S. Presidents shows an artist's interpretation of their makeup.

Wilky, The White House Cockroach - Howie Schneider, (399-243887) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3-Feb
An adventurous cockroach arrives at the White House in a pizza box where he is, surprisingly, not welcome.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

All of the Above - Shelley Pearsall, (978-0316115261) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-8, Lexile: 1000, ESL level: 5-Apr
A math teacher's suggestion that his class build the world's largest tetrahedron results in a real community effort; this book is based on a true event.

Arlene on the Scene - Carol Liu, (978-1934572542) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-5, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 4
Arlene uses her disability and her understanding of it as an asset when running for a student government post.

Changes for Julie - Megan Mcdonald, (978-1593693541) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-5, Lexile: 710, ESL level: 4
Julie's choice of a nearly deaf classmate to be her running mate in a bid for the class presidency causes her to lose some support in this historical novel.

Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy - Steve Cotler, (978-0307977137) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-4, ESL level: 4-Mar
Cheesie Mack's attempts to impress his older sister include his assistance to his friend running for class president and his own grabs for popularity.

Citizenship - Jason Skog, (978-1429613316) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-4, Lexile: 750, ESL level: 4-Mar
Readers learn all about citizenship including its benefits, responsibilities, and processes.

Class President - Johanna Hurwitz, (978-0688091149) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-12, Lexile: 650, ESL level: 3
Julio decides to assist another class president candidate instead of revealing his own ambitions for that job.

The Election-Day Disaster - Ron Roy, (978-0375848056) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-5, ESL level: 4-Mar
KC tries to find the proof about doctored photos that might keep her step father from being reelected as US President!

I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote - Linda Arms White, (978-0374335274) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 780, ESL level: 4
Esther Hobart Morris helped the women get the vote in Wyoming, making it the first state to do so; she also became the first woman elected to a public position.

If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House - Jane O'Connor, (978-0689868634) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 830, ESL level: 4-Mar
This book gives readers a bird's eye view of the different Presidential families and their lives in the U.S. White House.

The Kid Who Became President - Dan Gutman, (978-0545442145) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 4
Judson Moon becomes President, running as a 3rd party candidate, although he is only a pre-teen!

The Kid Who Ran for President - Dan Gutman, (978-0545442138) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 4
Judson, a 12-year-old, runs for U.S. President, assisted by friends and a babysitter.

Long Shot - Mike Lupica, (978-0142415207) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, Lexile: 910, ESL level: 4
Pedro and his basketball prowess challenge a very popular student in running for school class president.

Madam President - Nancy Krulik, (978-0439025560) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-6, Lexile: 610, ESL level: 4-Mar
Jenny's run against her former friend Addie for 6th grade president is also an attempt to curtail the power of the most popular clique in school.

Mayor Hubble is in Trouble - Dan Gutman, (978-0062042132) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-5, ESL level: 4-Mar
Competitors for their elementary school presidential elections receive assistance and advice from the local mayor.

The Misfits - James Howe, (978-0689839566) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 960, ESL level: 4
A group of outsider students bands together to form a third party movement in an attempt to represent all students at the school who have been the victims of bullies.

Mom for Mayor - Nancy Edwards, (978-0812627435) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-6, Lexile: 630, ESL level: 4-Mar
Eric tries to help save his community from destructive developers by helping his mother get elected as the new mayor.

Operation Clean Sweep - Darleen Beard, (978-0374380342) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 720, ESL level: 4
The women of a small Oregon town learn the power of voting in a democracy when they manage to vote most city officials out of office and take their places.

President of the Whole Fifth Grade - Sherri Winston, (978-0316114332) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-6, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 4
Brianna wants to use her experience running for president of the fifth grade to help her form a cupcake-baking business later in life, but she is surprised when a student new to the school competes with her.

Riding Freedom - Pam Munoz Ryan, (978-0439087964) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 720, ESL level: 4
The real Charley Parkhurst ran away from her orphanage home disguised as a boy and became the first woman to vote in CA.

Seedfolks - Paul Fleischman, (978-0590511902) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 710, ESL level: 4
An entire community is transformed when they put their efforts into building a community garden.

Vote 4 Amelia - Marissa Moss, (978-1416927891) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, ESL level: 4-Mar
Amelia tries to help her friend win a school election despite the opposition's attempted smear campaign.

Vote! - Eileen Christelow, (978-0547059730) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 420, ESL level: 3-Feb
Readers learn all about the many steps involved in preparing for an election while following a mayor's campaign.

Vote!: The Complicated Life of Claudia Cristina Cortez - Diana Gallagher, (978-1434208668) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-7, Lexile: 400, ESL level: 4-Mar
Claudia's friend Pete is running for class president, but she is disturbed that the front runners seem to be playing dirty politics.

Vote: The Theory, Practice, and Destructive Properties of Politics - Gary Paulsen, (978-0385742283) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 820, ESL level: 4
Kevin's idea that he will impress his girlfriend if he runs for student body president soon changes to a real ambition to make a difference in school and community issues.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

The Congress of the U.S.: A Student Companion - Donald Ritchie, (978-0195150070) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Enjoy seeing and learning all about Congress and those who serve in it.

Adam Canfield of the Slash - Michael Winerip, (978-0763627942) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-8, Lexile: 830, ESL level: 4
Middle school newspaper writers discover corruption both in their local government and even in their school while researching journalistic stories.

Amendment XIV: Citizenship for All - Jack Hay, ed., (978-0737741247) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
This book describes the amendment to the bill of rights that guarantees citizenship for all who meet the criteria or are born in the U.S.

America Gone Wild - Ted Rall, (740-760459) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5
This collection of satirical political cartoons provide a caustic look at contemporary society and U.S. political maneuverings.

Americapedia: Taking the Dumb out of Freedom - Andisheh Nouraee, (978-0802797933) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
This book presents a lot of information very quickly about the U.S. government, history, its institutions, and its role in world politics.

Barack Obama: The Comic Book Biography - Jeff Mariotte, (978-1600105302) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
Obama's childhood, community interests, political aspirations and accomplishments, and historical achievements all play a part in this graphic novel.

Campaign Chaos - Melanie Stewart, (978-0613277570) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-9, ESL level: 4-Mar
Nichelle is managing the political campaign for a member of a campus group although she does not totally believe he can defeat another candidate with more experience.

The Citizens' Almanac - Citizenship and Immigration Services, (978-0160780271) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Developed for new citizens, this non-fiction selection sets out the rights and responsibilities of citizens of all types and includes authentic documents and information about the historical development of U.S. civics and the Supreme Court.

The Daughters Join the Party - Joanna Philbin, (031-617968) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-9, ESL level: 4
Emma must learn to curb her inconventionality when her father, presently a senator, decides to run for President.

Eighth-Grade Superzero - Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, (978-0545097253) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-10, Lexile: 640, ESL level: 4-Mar
Reggie moves from a community improvement program helping at a homeless shelter to running for a school office.

Extreme American Makeover - Mitali Perkins, (978-0142411544) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 850, ESL level: 4
Sameera bristles at her father's campaign workers' attempts to change her name and imagine since she was adopted from Pakistan and her father is running for U.S. President.

Firefly Letters - Margarita Engle, (978-0805090826) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 1230, ESL level: 5-Apr
This book of poetry follows a woman's journey to Cuba where she meets both slaves and rich people.

First Boy - Gary Schmidt, (805-078592) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 850, ESL level: 4
Cooper's battle to assert himself as the teen responsible for the running of his family's dairy farm forms against the backdrop of a presidential election.

First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson - Michael Long, (978-0805087109) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Through the real letters of Jackie Robinson, readers can learn about his development as a ball player and an embattled man; they can also come to appreciate his role in defining the African American experience in sports.

Freshman for President - Ally Condie, (978-1590389133) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-9, ESL level: 4
Milo's decision to try to become President of the U.S. has unexpected side effects, an increase in self confidence, and the belief teens can affect election and community outcomes.

Get Your War On - David Rees, (978-1593762131) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
The comic strips in this book satirize the government's efforts to persuade the American people of the worthiness of its war on terrorism.

Going Going - Naomi Shihab Nye, (978-0688161859) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 820, ESL level: 4
Florrie gets involved in community life when she participates in a campaign against larger chain stores to support small business.

Going Going - Naomi Shihab Nye, (978-0688161859) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 820, ESL level: 4
Teen friends participate in a political campaign which teaches them a lot about business, the political system, and helping the community.

Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer, (978-0142404249) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 710, ESL level: 4
Hope and her aunt, transplants from NY to Wisconsin, become involved in local politics when the aunt's employer tries to oust a local corrupt politician.

In Trouble - Ellen Levine, (978-0761365587) , Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, Lexile: 510, ESL level: 4
This book recreates the repressive world of the 50's in the U.S. when one teen's father gets released from prison after refusing to finger Communists and she and her friend end up facing the problems of unwanted pregnancies.

Notes from the Midnight Driver - Jordan Sonnenblick, (978-0439757812) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 930, ESL level: 4
Alex learns a lot about community service when his new volunteer job yield him a friendship with an older cranky man.

The Relocation of the North American Indian - Don Nardo, (978-0737709544) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4
This non-fiction account of the history of Native Americans' treatment by the U.S. government ends up with the present efforts to return land and civil rights to these American citizens.

Time of Courage - Anne Schraff, (978-1616512705) , Fiction
Interest level: 8-11, Lexile: 630, ESL level: 4-Mar
Ernesto is torn about who to support in the upcoming city council election since he knows who is the more honest candidate, but his girlfriend's family's incumbent candidate is closer to him despite the corruption of the incumbent.

Vote for Larry - Janet Tashjian, (312-384467) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 810, ESL level: 4
Larry, who had disappeared in a previous book in this series "Gospel According to Larry", returns after a friend finds him; he subsequently decides to run for U.S. President to change laws for youth and promote more voters to be active citizens.

With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote - Ann Bausum, (978-0792276470) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 1080, ESL level: 4
Read about the history of the formation of the Woman's Party and the eventual enactment of the historic 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote in the U.S.

Books for Mature Teens and Adults

11/22/63 - Stephen King, (978-1451627299) , Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
Imagine what might have happened if Kennedy had not been assassinated on November 22, 1963.

Absurdistan - Gary Shteyngart, (978-0812971675) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
Misha had lived in the U.S. for years but had to return to Russia for his father's funeral; follow his hysterical attempts to get a visa in a fake passport to return to the U.S. including his visit to the country of Absurdistan/

All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren, (978-0156012959) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, Lexile: 1130, ESL level: 5-Apr
The fictionalized account of the "reign" of Louisiana Governor Huey Long reveals the tenor of Southern politics as well as the rampant power of dirty tricks and flagrant opportunism in American life.

All the President's Men - Bob Woodward, (978-0671894412) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, Lexile: 1010, ESL level: 5-Apr
This book reads like a mystery novel, but it is the true story of how Nixon came to be removed from office and the national found out about the giant coverup called Watergate; the presence and power of the national press was a big factor in Nixon's demise.

The Book of Fate - Brad Meltzer, (978-1455508167) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
This exciting thriller delves into a difficult code designed by Thomas Jefferson which opens up facts about a modern political conspiracy.

The Brethren - John Grisham, (978-0385497466) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, Lexile: 810, ESL level: 5-Apr
Even prisons have community as witnessed by three imprisoned judges who perform small legal tasks for other prisoners and tightly control the "political" happenings of what happens inside and even outside the penetentiary walls.

Christian Nation - Frederic Rich, (978-0393240115) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
This book imagines the U.S. if Sarah Palin and John McCain had won the election in 2008 in a dystopian view of American as a theocracy.

City of Refuge - Tom Piazza, (978-0061673610) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 4
An African American family and a white family, both displaced by Hurricane Katrina, try to rebuild their lives and communities after the disaster.

Eleanor Vs. Ike - Robin Gerber, (613-73214) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
This history-changing novel shows what happens when Adlai Stevenson dies and Eleanor Roosevelt takes his place at the 1952 Democratic Convention.

Eventide - Kent Haruf, (978-0375725760) , Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4
Members of a Colorado community support each other through good times and bad in this sequel to Plainsong.

Fall of Giants - Ken Follett, (978-0525951650) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
The stories of five families reveal the development of women's rights to vote as well as political issues that affect the world.

The High Road - Terry Fallis, (978-0771047879) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
Is there a place for an honest politician in a close race against a man known for his dirty political tricks?

It Can't Happen Here - Sinclair Lewis, (978-0451216588) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
This classic novel begins on the premise that the election of a fascistic candidate changes the U.S.from a democrazy to a totalitarian state.

Lincoln - Gore Vidal, (978-0375708763) , Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
This fictionalized version of Lincoln's life and times reveals Lincoln's character and culture by looking through the eyes of his compatriots and family.

Lost Lake - Phillip Margolin, (978-0060735043) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
A reporter who is searching for a suspected government conspiracy gets more than she bargained for when she finds a coverup whose roots go back more than 20 years.

Monument to Murder - Margaret Truman, (765-326094) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
The sophistication of Washington D.C. society includes violent death, corruption, and blackmail in this thriller.

My New American Life - Francine Prose, (617-13767) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 4
Despite Lula's fervent desire to become a good American citizen, the arrival of her brothers from Albania interferes with her goals.

Our American King - David Lozell Martin, (978-0743267311) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
After today's American political system falls apart, America's new leader crowns himself king in this dystopian novel.

Paradise - Toni Morrison, (978-0452280397) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
African American women change the make-up of a small black Oklahoma community after they open a women's shelter.

Primary Colors - Anonymous, (978-0812976472) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
This book may be a fictionalized account of Jimmy Carter's first campaign for the presidency; its intrigue and controversies paint an excellent picture of the real flavor of American presidential politics.

The Race - Richard North Patterson, (805-079483) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
When Senator Grace decides to run for President, backed by his Gulf War service, his advisors remind him not to be so impulsive nor to tell the truth so much!

The Revisionists - Thomas Mullen, (316-176729) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
A representative from the future time travels back to the present to assist the world with its problems.

Rogue Harvest - Danita Maslan, (978-0889953291) , Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4
While on a South American expedition, Jasmine, a politician's daughter, finds herself in a mystery world involving genetic engineering, political factions, and corporate corruption.

The Run - Stuart Woods, (978-0061711572) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
While Will Lee is running for President of the U.S., he finds himself in great danger.

Taft 2012 - Jason Heller, (978-1594745508) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5-Apr
Historical President William Howard Taft suddenly shows up just before the 2012 elections and makes a momentous change in their outcomes.