CurriConnects Book List - By the People

books-curric

Other lists
Ideas for using this list
More on Lexiles
More on ESL levels

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 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
The voters in Bear County are skeptical that Mama Bear cannot keep all her resolutions to fix what is wrong in their community.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Need My Own Country - Rick Walton, (978-1599905600), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2
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
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.

Early Elementary Books

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

City Green - DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan, (978-0688127862), Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 480
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
Emma is so eager to help her community that she overextends, but her dog rescues her from her volunteer commitments.

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

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
Told from Senator Edward Kennedy's dog's point of view, this book provides a whirlwind tour of Washington, D.C. and government functions.

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

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

Double Trouble - J. Press, (978-0448461083), Fiction
Interest level: 1-2
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.

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

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

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

The Very Silly Mayor - Tom Tomorrow, (978-1935439011), Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 790
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.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Operation Clean Sweep - Darleen Beard, (978-0374380342), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 720
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.

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

Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy - Steve Cotler, (978-0307977137), Fiction
Interest level: 3-4
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.

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

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

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

The Kid Who Became President - Dan Gutman, (978-0545442145), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 730
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
Judson, a 12-year-old, runs for U.S. President, assisted by friends and a babysitter.

Mayor Hubble is in Trouble - Dan Gutman, (978-0062042132), Fiction
Interest level: 3-5
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
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.

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

Madam President - Nancy Krulik, (978-0439025560), Fiction
Interest level: 3-6, Lexile: 610
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.

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

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

Changes for Julie - Megan Mcdonald, (978-1593693541), Fiction
Interest level: 2-5, Lexile: 710
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.

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

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

Vote: The Theory, Practice, and Destructive Properties of Politics - Gary Paulsen, (978-0385742283), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 820
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.

All of the Above - Shelley Pearsall, (978-0316115261), Fiction
Interest level: 2-8, Lexile: 1000
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.

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

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

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

I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote - Linda Arms White, (978-0374335274), Fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 780
Esther Hobart Morris helped 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.

President of the Whole Fifth Grade - Sherri Winston, (978-0316114332), Fiction
Interest level: 3-6, Lexile: 730
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.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer, (978-0142404249), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 710
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.

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
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.

The Citizens' Almanac - Citizenship and Immigration Services, (978-0160780271), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
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.

Freshman for President - Ally Condie, (978-1590389133), Fiction
Interest level: 5-9
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.

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

Amendment XIV: Citizenship for All - Jeff Hay, ed., (978-0737741247), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
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.

In Trouble - Ellen Levine, (978-0761365587), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, Lexile: 510
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.

First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson - Michael Long, (978-0805087109), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
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.

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

The Relocation of the North American Indian - Don Nardo, (978-0737709544), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
This nonfiction 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.

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

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

Extreme American Makeover - Mitali Perkins, (978-0142411544), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 850
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.

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

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

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

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

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

First Boy - Gary Schmidt, (805-078592), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 850
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.

Time of Courage - Anne Schraff, (978-1616512705), Fiction
Interest level: 8-11, Lexile: 630
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.

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

Campaign Chaos - Melanie Stewart, (978-0613277570), Fiction
Interest level: 7-9
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.

Vote for Larry (The Gospel According to Larry) - Janet Tashjian, (312-384467), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 810
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.

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

Books for Mature Teens and Adults

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

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

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

The Brethren - John Grisham, (978-0385497466), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, Lexile: 810
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 penitentiary walls.

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

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

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

Primary Colors - Joe Klein, (978-0812976472), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12
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.

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

Lost Lake - Phillip Margolin, (978-0060735043), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12
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.

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

Rogue Harvest - Danita Maslan, (978-0889953291), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
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 Book of Fate - Brad Meltzer, (978-1455508167), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12
This exciting thriller delves into a difficult code designed by Thomas Jefferson which opens up facts about a modern political conspiracy.

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

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

The Race - Richard North Patterson, (805-079483), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12
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!

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

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

Christian Nation - Frederic Rich, (978-0393240115), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12
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.

Absurdistan - Gary Shteyngart, (978-0812971675), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12
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/

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

Lincoln - Gore Vidal, (978-0375708763), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
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.

All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren, (978-0156012959), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, Lexile: 1130
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.

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

All the President's Men - Bob Woodward, (978-0671894412), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, Lexile: 1010
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.