Today is Inauguration Day in the United States! It feels like a particularly momentous presidential change. It’s also the first time I’ve had several kids who are old enough to be really interested in the process. I’m looking forward to marking the day by learning about some diverse leaders in American history, especially by reading some wonderful children’s books.
Here are 10 great inauguration books for kids that are perfect to reflect and learn about the diverse leaders who have shaped our country. BIPOC authors are heavily featured, though not exclusively; it’s important to me that “diversity” is never misconstrued as just Black or brown. I hope this mix of truly diverse leaders and creators helps you feel connected to the continued progression of the country as symbolized by Inauguration Day!
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25+ Children’s Books About Diverse Leaders: Inauguration, Elections, Voting & Governance
Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea
We gave this book to our 3 year old for his birthday and it’s been a favorite ever since. He regularly talks about Kamala, and brings up the book anytime he hears her name in political discussions (which is often). Written by Kamala Harris’s niece, it’s a sweet and empowering true story about diverse leaders. Highly recommend!
She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm AND Shirley Chisholm Is A Verb
As the first Black woman elected to Congress, Shirley Chisholm used her influence to advocate for the rights of the marginalized. I couldn’t pick between the two picture books about diverse leaders, so I’m sharing both! They’re both wonderful voting & elections picture books.
Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation
The battle of Latinx families to receive equal rights and educational opportunities isn’t often highlighted but these trailblazing diverse leaders were important in setting the stage for Brown v Board of Education.
Of Thee I Sing
We gave this book to Dan for Father’s Day that is former President Barack Obama’s take on 13 incredible American leaders. We loved reading snippets of their life and work.
Kamala Harris: Rooted In Justice
This new picture book is a beautiful telling of Vice President Harris’s upbringing as a daughter of immigrants who went on to become the first female, Black, and South Asian Vice President of the United States of America.
This perennial favorite in our house details the story of one of our favorite female heroes in US government, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Beautifully written and illustrated.
My older daughter went through a period when she read this book every day for weeks on end. In it, Chelsea Clinton shares a mini biography on 13 American women who helped guide the course of the country.
V Is For Voting
Not your typical ABC book, this one brings in concepts such as racial justice and working for equality. I love that it inspires action even in the youngest of listeners – one of the great children’s books about voting and elections.
Turning Pages: My Life Story
Sonia Sotomayor was inspired by books to overcame obstacles such as health challenges, family struggles, and more to become the first Latina Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America.
Who Is Books
We’re big fans of the Who Is/Who Are books, and these are no different. Great and short overviews for elementary-aged kids.
Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage
It’s easy to think voter suppression is a thing of the past, but in truth, it’s alive and well today. Reading about incredible individuals who worked for equal voting representation helps me feel motivated to continue their work.
Preaching To The Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis
Former Congressman John Lewis was a leader in activism for equality before taking public office, and he was a boy who wanted to care for his flock before that.
Superheroes Are Everywhere
This book was written by Kamala Harris herself. It helps young kids recognize that superheroes come in many forms – including kids! – and that service is paramount.
If I Ran For President
What child hasn’t dreamed of being in charge for the day? These children imagining themselves as diverse leaders help spark conversations around what is required for the governance of our country. It’s a great diverse children’s book about voting.
Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic
Eleanor changed the role of First Lady, and I love this book that highlights her work as she hosts British Royalty.
Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America
The ideal of liberty and justice for all with equal representation is still not filled, but there have been many steps along the way. This gorgeous picture book about voting details the history of rights and sufferage.
We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders
This book has been very popular over the last year, and with good reason. It’s beautifully illustrated with work from incredible artists, and features the words of various Civil Rights leaders.
Citizen Baby: My President
This whole board book series is perfect for the youngest of readers to get a taste of governmental systems. They’re all great voting & elections children’s books!
Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment
Sometimes just knowing there are relatable heroes is so moving. I love the impact of art and an incredible diverse leaders like Michelle Obama on a young girl!
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
This book isn’t just a journey through pages but also through time as an elderly woman reflects on the battle to suffrage.
Vote For Our Future!
How would you like your elementary school to be a polling station? That’s exactly what happens in this moving picture book that inspires even young children to act as a meaningful voting children’s book.
Working for change starts young, far before being elected to office. I love that this book encourages kids to work as diverse leaders within their sphere of influence for impactful change.
The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne
Thomas Jefferson famously said, “If I had to choose between a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Ethyl Payne, as a leading Black female journalist, was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement.
Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box
We need those reminders that suffrage was a long and hard road, and that voter suppression is still real. This true story helps me remember and recommit to working for greater equity.
Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman’s Race for the Presidency
Well before women had the right to vote in the US, Belva became the first female Presidential candidate. I love her inspiring warrior spirit as one of the incredible voting picture books for kids!
Are there any picture books about voting and elections that you love that feature diverse leaders? I’d love to hear in the comments!
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