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Start with a Book

Ricky Rocket

A summer reading initiative for kids from Reading Rockets

Start With a Book

Civics and Our Government

Do you know any kids who are curious about the history of voting rights in the U.S., how we celebrate the 4th of July around the country, how a bill becomes a law, how we elect our President, and stories about life (and pets!) in the White House? We've gathered up a great collection of books, activities, apps, and websites for learning all about our government.

Try pairing fiction with nonfiction books and exploring different genres (like poetry and biographies) and formats (like graphic novels and audio books). You'll be creating your own "text sets" — collections of texts focused on a specific topic. Reading widely in this way helps children build background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Government

Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

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A Is for Activist

By: Innosanto Nagara

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Each spread presents a letter and a bit of social commentary urging children to take a stand...

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Apple Pie Fourth of July

By: Janet Wong

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A young girl worries that no one will buy the Chinese foods made by her family, especially on the...

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Capital! Washington D.C. from A to Z

By: Laura Krauss Melmed

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Take a tour of our nation's capital — from A to Z — including both lesser and well-...

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Happy 4th of July, Jenny Sweeney!

By: Leslie Kimmelman

Age Level: 3-6 years old

As Jenny rides her bike through town on the Fourth of July, she sees the townsfolk preparing for...

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Hats Off for the Fourth of July

By: Harriet Ziefert

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Parades are part of the fun of any Fourth of July celebration. Young readers are invited to join...

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I Pledge Allegiance

By: Pat Mora

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Libby's great aunt, Lobo, is from Mexico, but the United States has been her home for many years...

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If I Were President

By: Catherine Stier

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Children describe the basic duties of the U.S. President, from campaign speeches to lighting the...

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One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote

By: Bonnie Worth, Joe Mathieu

Age Level: 3-6 years old

The Cat in the Hat is back with Things 1 & 2 for a rhyming introduction to the steps in...

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Age Level: 6-9 years old

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America Votes: How Our President Is Elected

By: Linda Granfield

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Elections are anything but dull, and participation is very important in a democracy. Just...

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Celebrate Independence Day with Parades, Picnics, and Fireworks

By: Deborah Heiligman

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Celebrate the birthday of the United States with food and fun while learning the history and...

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Elizabeth Leads the Way

By: Tanya Lee Stone

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The life of early voting rights advocate, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, is presented in a compelling...

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Elizabeth Started All the Trouble

By: Doreen Rappaport

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Women could not attend college, enter politics or vote when the United States was established....

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First Garden and How It Grew

By: Robbin Gourley

Age Level: 6-9 years old

White House gardens started with John Adams in 1800 and continue with Michelle Obama. History...

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Fly Guy Presents the White House

By: Tedd Arnold

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Buzz and his pet fly, Fly Guy, share what they learn when they visit the White House in...

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George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen By Both Sides

By: Rosalyn Schanzer

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The Georges most prominent in early America — England's George III and America's George...

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Grace for President

By: Kelly DiPucchio

Age Level: 6-9 years old

An inspired teacher, the discovery of the fact that all U.S. Presidents (so far) have been male,...

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Happy Birthday, America

By: Mary Pope Osborne

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Realistic watercolors present the summer celebration a boy shares with his family on the 4th of...

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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

By: Debbie Levy

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with...

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If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House

By: Jane O'Connor

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The "beautiful 200-year-old mansion on 18 acres of land right in the heart of downtown...

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Independence Cake

By: Deborah Hopkinson

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Since little is known about the real Amelia Simmons, the author invites readers to imagine what...

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John, Paul, George & Ben

By: Lane Smith

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fact and fiction, old and new styles of illustration, wit and seriousness combine in this pithy...

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Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation

By: Cokie Roberts

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Journals, letters and other primary sources were used to introduce "a few of the women who...

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Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

By: Jonah Winter

Age Level: 6-9 years old

As she climbs the hill to the courthouse to proudly cast her vote for elected officials, Lillian...

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Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare

By: Gene Barretta

Age Level: 6-9 years old

This brief introduction to two well-known U.S. Presidents presents similarities in their lives...

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Presidential Pets: The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House

By: Julia Moberg

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The White House has hosted U.S. Presidents and their families which have often included First...

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Red, White, and Boom!

By: Lee Wardlaw

Age Level: 6-9 years old

From one end of the United States to the other, the 4th of July is celebrated: on beaches, with...

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Revolutionary Friends

By: Selene Castrovilla

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The friendship between Lafayette and Washington is dramatically told for sophisticated readers in a...

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Rutherford B., Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents

By: Marilyn Singer

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Sophisticated readers will appreciate the snippets of presidential history presented in a variety...

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Shhh! We're Writing the Constitution

By: Jean Fritz

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Long ago in 1787, a group of men known as the Founding Fathers of the United States met in...

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Smart About the First Ladies

By: Jon Buller

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Brief, lighthearted looks at the wives of the U.S. Presidents from Martha Washington to Michelle...

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So, You Want to Be President?

By: Judith St. George

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Anyone can be president, whether fat (William Howard Taft) or tiny (James Madison), relatively...

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Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx / La juez que crecio en el Bronx

By: Jonah Winter

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Poverty didn’t stop this girl from working hard, reading lots of books, and graduating top in...

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Susan B. Anthony

By: Alexandra Wallner

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Susan B. Anthony lived and worked as a teacher when women were paid less for the same jobs...

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The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial

By: Susan E. Goodman

Age Level: 6-9 years old

More than a century before Brown v. Board of Education, there was Roberts v. City of Boston....

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The Flag We Love

By: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Read this book aloud to young readers to teach them about the United States flag, its history,...

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Those Rebels, John and Tom

By: Barbara Kerley

Age Level: 6-9 years old

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were very different in everything from appearance to what they...

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Unite or Die! The Story of the Thirteen Colonies

By: Jacqueline Jules

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Though the first U.S. Census didn't start until 1790, the Forest Lake Elementary School...

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Vote!

By: Eileen Christelow

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The history of voting in the United States is presented using a town's mayoral election as...

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Wackiest White House Pets

By: Katherine Gibbs Davis

Age Level: 6-9 years old

How are dogs, alligators, sheep, cats, and a host of other animals similar? They've all...

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We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

By: David Catrow

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The dry, difficult words from the preamble to the constitution are made easy to understand...

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What Lincoln Said

By: Sarah Thomson

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Lincoln's own words punctuate this overview of his life and times including lighter moments...

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What's the Big Deal About Freedom

By: Ruby Shamir

Age Level: 6-9 years old

From the Constitution to civil rights, from women's rights to the four freedoms, this picture...

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Age Level: 9-12 years old

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Independent Dames: What You Never Knew about the Women and Girls of the American Revolution

By: Laurie Halse Anderson

Age Level: 9-12 years old

This fact and fun-filled look at female contributions to the American Revolution provides a...

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March: Book One

By: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin

Age Level: 9-12 years old

John Lewis, son of a sharecropper, grew up to become an activist and later, a U.S. Congressman....

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Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out

By: National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Over 100 well-known authors and illustrators have provided pieces to this fascinating compendium...

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Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

By: Carole Boston Weatherford

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Stirring poems and vibrant collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou...

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Words That Built a Nation: Voices of Democracy That Have Shaped America’s History

By: Marilyn Miller

Age Level: 9-12 years old

From the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on same-sex...

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