Race to the Ballot: The Our White House Presidential Campaign and Election Kit for Kids!
For parents, family members, teachers, librarians, and community leaders
The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance created the Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out book and website to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive.
In this election year, the NCBLA has created this Presidential Campaign and Election Kit to help all adults who live and work with young people engage with our kids in informed discussions about the presidential campaigns and election, teach them to think critically, and energize them to learn more about the political process in America. This Kit includes:
- Exclusive articles regarding such topics as presidential job requirements, the history of presidential campaigns, and the evolution of voting rights.
- Activities to use with young people in the classroom or at home.
- Discussion questions you can share during class, around the dinner table, and at a Scout or club meeting.
- So much more!
Some of the ideas and activities provided here coordinate with the content and illustrations in Our White House, but most of them can be used independently of the book. We believe you know the kids with whom you live and work far better than we do, so we leave to your judgment the articles and activities that best serve the needs and ages of the young people in your life. We invite you to print content from this site as needed or to browse these pages using your smart phone, tablet computer, or laptop while on the go.
To download an easy-to-print PDF version of this Kit, click here.
Click a title to display the article content.
Help Wanted: President of the United States
Presidential Fact Files
First Lady Fact Files
Presidents, the President’s House, and More: A Select List of Books (and a Few Web Sources) for Children and Young Adults
Presidents Are People Too!
Persuading the People: Campaigning for President
The Second Shall Be First: The 1948 Presidential Election—Truman V. Dewey
From Buttons to Pins: Campaign Tokens Evolve
Presidential Debates: Watch the Debates With Your Kids and Teens!
Choosing Sides: The Rise of Party Politics
The Donkey and the Elephant
Links for National Political Parties
Who Gets to Vote?
From Peas to Paper to IPads: The Evolution of the Ballot in America
Getting the Votes and Getting Elected: The Popular Vote vs. The Electoral College
Get Out the Vote Websites
I Pledge Allegiance: Classroom Kit on Becoming an American Citizen
• Watch a Presidential Stump Speech…and Invite Kids to Write Their Own
• Collect or Make Campaign Tokens and Posters
• Separate Fact from Fiction: Analyze the Campaign Rhetoric
• Be an Eyewitness to History
• Host a Mock Election
• Visit a Presidential Historic Site, Library, or Website
• Play a Game of Presidential Trivia
Learn More About Presidential Campaigns and Elections
For even more information about presidential campaigns and elections, check out the following books and online resources:
Declare Yourself: Speak. Connect. Act. Vote. Various contributors. Greenwillow, 2008.
Over fifty well-known people, from actors to novelists, share their experiences and ideas to provide inspiration and a strong rationale for young people to become involved in the political process—and to vote. Recommended for high school readers to adult.
How the President Is Elected. Heather Lehr Wagner. New York: Chelsea House, 2007.
Explains all the details of how Americans elect the president and includes information regarding the constitutional requirements for elections, how the electoral college works, the role of political parties, conventions, and primaries. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2008.
This outstanding collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, and poetry melds with an equally stunning array of original art to offer a look at America’s history through the prism of the White House. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Presidential Races: The Battle for Power in the United States. Arlene Morris-Lipsman.
Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2008. Describes how election campaigns for the office of president of the United States have changed from the time of George Washington to the Bush vs. Kerry campaign of 2004. Recommended for ages 10 through high school.
See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White House.
Susan E. Goodman. New York: Bloomsbury U.S.A, 2008.
With witty illustrations by Elwood H. Smith, this engaging book explains the complicated process of electing the American president for ages 8 through 12. A revised issue is scheduled for publication in July 2012.
unspun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation. Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson. New York: Random House, 2007.
Presents engaging examples and practical advice for helping people of all ages use fact and reason to parse through the deceptions and misinformation presented in today’s media.
Vote! Eileen Christelow. Clarion, 2003.
One town’s mayoral election provides a lucid introduction to voting (including a recount). Includes additional information such as a voting timeline and a list of internet resources. Recommended for ages 7 through 10.
“Anatomy of a Stump Speech.” The New York Times. 1 March 2012. nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/03/us/politics/gop-stump-speeches.html
“Documenting Key Presidential Decisions.” PBS LearningMedia: National Archives. 9 April 2012.
Online activity that enables students to identify and analyze documents related to key presidential decisions.
“Electing the President: A Guide to the Election Process.” League of Women Voters. 27 January 2012.
“Election 2016.” Scholastic. 8 February 2016.
Campaign news, interactive primary and electoral maps, games, and videos are all featured on the Scholastic website’s election page.
Library of Congress
Thousands of items regarding presidential campaigns and elections are available for online viewing on the Library of Congress website. You can listen to campaign marches, view campaign posters and newspaper articles, and review all types of other materials. In the Search box, select the format (such as book, photo, or audio), type your search words (such as presidential campaign), then click Go to discover the vast amount of materials available to share with young people from any computer with Internet access.
“President for a Day.” PBS LearningMedia: The Democracy Project. 9 April 2012.
This interactive activity enables students to be “president for a day” by making decisions about events a president experiences on a typical day, such as making a speech and meeting with the Cabinet.
“The U.S. Presidency.” PBS LearningMedia. 8 February 2016. pbslearningmedia.org/collection/the-us-presidency
This content enables you to explore the rich history and the institution of the U.S. Presidency—from George Washington to Barack Obama. Understand the duties and powers of the President of the United States and the First Lady, gather important background information with Presidential biographies, and engage with videos and primary sources that place you back in time at some of the most pivotal turning points in American history.
“Welcome to Vote Smart Classroom.” Project Vote Smart. 6 March 2012. VoteSmart.org/education
©2016 The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance