Growing Reader


All the Presidents Books: Fantastic Kids’ Books About U.S. Presidents

by Tom Burns

Photo credit: Joe Michl, E+/Getty Images

It’s no wonder kids are so often fascinated by American presidents. Their faces appear on money, some have been carved into mountains, and they’ve frequently played a role in some of the most exciting stories, both real and imagined, of the past 241 years. Here are some absorbing books on the American presidency to share with your patriotic young reader.

  • My Little Golden Book About George Washington

    by Lori Haskins Houran, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli

    Introduce preschoolers to the first President of the United States with this charming Little Golden Book. A perfect pick for young history lovers, readers will relate to stories about Washington's childhood and pick up some fun facts about the statesman as they flip through this biography. A great introduction to the life of George Washington. (Also check out Abraham Lincoln.
    (Ages 2 - 5)

  • P Is for President

    by Wendy Cheyette Lewison, illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti

    Does your little one dream of one day being President of the United States? This easy-to-read picture book gives young readers a look at what it takes to hold the most important job in America. Learn about famous presidents of the past as you read about how the president works to win the people's vote, transitions into the presidency, and strives to make our nation a better place for all.
    (Ages 3 - 5)

  • President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath

    by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

    William H. Taft was a remarkably accomplished man — the only person to ever serve as both the President of the United States and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court — but, unfortunately for him, his true legacy (for kids, at least) might be the famous story about how the plus-sized president once got stuck in the White House bathtub. It’s debatable whether the incident actually occurred, but Barnett and Van Dusen’s over-the-top take on Taft’s team of advisors (including his wife Nellie) trying desperately to figure out how to extract the president from the tub is so laugh-out-loud funny that you’ll find yourself wishing it were true.
    (Ages 4 - 8)

  • DK Readers Level 2: What Is the President’s Job?

    by Allison Singer

    Beginning readers can accomplish two things at once with this book: work on their emerging reading skills and find out fun and interesting facts about the president's job. They'll learn what a day in the life of the commander in chief is like — from what it looks like inside the Oval Office to how the president helps decide on the country's laws. With images that complement the text and help provide context, this book can help early readers build confidence, vocabulary, and knowledge.
    (Ages 5 - 7)

  • I am Abraham Lincoln (Ordinary People Change the World)

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

    Brad Meltzer's kid-friendly biographies are a fantastic tool to introduce children to historical figures in a fun and entertaining way! I am Abraham Lincoln focuses on the life of our 16th president, following him from childhood to the presidency. Colorful, cartoon-like depictions of Lincoln will delight readers young and old as they learn about topics such as slavery, the Civil War, and the Gettysburg Address in a simplistic, high-level way.
    (Ages 5 - 8)

  • Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

    by Barack Obama, illustrated by Loren Long

    Of Thee I Sing is a beautiful, heartfelt letter written by President Barack Obama to his daughters, Malia and Sasha. Illustrated by the incredible Loren Long, the pages of this must-read picture book depict 13 groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that shaped our nation. From Jackie Robinson to George Washington, Obama shares the actions of these heroes with his daughters — and the children of America.
    (Ages 5 - 8)

  • Nice Work, Franklin!

    by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain, illustrated by Larry Day

    This historical picture book is a moving — and very entertaining — portrait of how the 32nd president overcame his personal and political challenges. After contracting polio, Franklin Roosevelt lost his ability to walk — but that didn't stop him from successfully running for the position of President of the United States and becoming a national symbol of hope during the Great Depression. Jurmain includes fun anecdotes throughout, making Nice Work, Franklin! a great way to introduce Roosevelt's inspirational story to young readers.
    (Ages 5 - 9)

  • Abe Lincoln's Dream

    by Lane Smith

    In this beautiful picture book, a young girl named Quincy meets the ghost of Abraham Lincoln during a tour of the White House. Quincy and Lincoln bond over stories about their dreams and, eventually, Lincoln asks his new friend to show him how his beloved country has progressed since his passing. It’s a legitimately funny and moving tale, which acts as a wonderful companion to Smith’s earlier work, John, Paul, George, & Ben, a hysterical look at some of the United States’ founding fathers, including Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (whose name didn’t make it into the title).
    (Ages 5 - 9)

  • So You Want to Be President?

    by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small

    This winner of the 2001 Caldecott Medal presents a fascinating breakdown of how one actually becomes the President of the United States. We learn how many presidents were born in log cabins, how many were named George, and how many went to college. We learn that some presidents were great at their jobs, and others ... not so much. Small’s illustrations are lively and engaging, and the book has been updated several times — the most recent version includes information on the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
    (Ages 7 - 10)

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

    by Julia Moberg, illustrated by Jeff Albrecht Studios

    This fun reference book humanizes the American presidents by taking a look at what kinds of pets the commanders-in-chief kept during their time at the White House. Children might hear the name “John Quincy Adams” and automatically think that he’s some boring historical figure, but once they find out that he kept an alligator in the White House bathtub, he instantly becomes fascinating. And wait until they hear about Teddy Roosevelt’s lion, hyena, zebra … the list goes on and on. Kids will have hours of fun paging through this one.
    (Ages 8 - 12)

  • DK Eyewitness Books: Presidents

    by James Barber

    True to its name, this edition of DK Eyewitness Books gives kids an inside look at the presidents — with full-color photographs, campaign memorabilia, family portraits, mementos, key details, famous policies, and more. Middle grade readers can read through the entries one by one, or skip around to find their favorites. Along the way, they'll discover fun facts, like why teddy bears are named after Theodore Roosevelt, and important historical documents, like John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address.
    (Ages 8 - 12)

  • DK Eyewitness Books: First Ladies

    by DK

    Any history of the presidents who have served our country would be lacking without recognition of the exceptional women who have left their mark on the White House and the nation. In this visual guide, readers can see how the role of First Lady has grown over the decades, evolving into a role with the power to impact policy and society. Readers can also see great memorabilia like Mary Todd Lincoln’s mourning cape, Edith Wilson’s tiara, Eleanor Roosevelt’s writing desk, and more.
    (Ages 8 - 12)

  • Grover Cleveland, Again!: A Treasury of American Presidents

    by Ken Burns, illustrated by Gerald Kelley

    Critically acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns shifts his focus to young readers in this New York Times bestselling collection of portraits of every United States president through Barack Obama. Written with Burns's signature approachable and personal voice, the book's short bios, interesting facts, and dynamic illustrations will have nonfiction readers hooked in no time.
    (Ages 10+)

  • George Washington’s Secret Six (Young Readers Adaptation)

    by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

    Adapted from Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger's New York Times bestseller, George Washington’s Secret Six tells the little-known story of the Culper Spy Ring, a group of spies who played a crucial role in helping Washington defeat the British during the Revolutionary War. History-loving kids will get a quick snapshot of General Washington’s military prowess and the very beginnings of espionage in the United States.
    (Ages 10+)

  • Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher

    by Jon Meacham

    After taking a look at biography collections like DK Eyewitness Books: Presidents and Grover Cleveland, Again!, kids should pick up this read to learn more about Thomas Jefferson. With prints, maps, and illustrations throughout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham walks middle grade readers through the fascinating life — as a lawyer, scientist, politician, and, of course, book lover — of the third President of the United States. While Meacham praises many of Jefferson's accomplishments, he also doesn't steer clear of some of the Founding Father's flaws in this biography. A well-balanced and researched account of Thomas Jefferson's life.
    (Ages 10+)