November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: Cast Your Vote for These Presidential Titles

Though Election Day has come and gone, it’s never too late for a great story about our presidential history.

HOLM, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm. Babymouse for President. Random. 2012. ISBN 9780375967801. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2-6)

Babymouse is a work of fiction, but it fits perfectly with this week’s theme. It’s time for student council elections and Babymouse has decided to run for president. While trying to find a platform, she struggles to define her beliefs. During the debate Babymouse learns something about herself and what she stands for. Fans of the graphic novel series will laugh at her almost impossible promises and elect to re-read it.

TOWNSEND, Michael. Where Do Presidents Come From? And Other Presidential Stuff of Super-Great Importance. Dial. 2012. ISBN 9780803737488. JLG Level: NE : Nonfiction Elementary (Grades 2-6)

Written in graphic novel-style, Townsend uses humor to tell the history of presidential elections. Interrupting the narrative are various comic relief characters―clowns, bunnies, and even talking numbers. He explains the electoral college, the White House going-ons, and what presidents do. Older students will enjoy the jokes, while simultaneously learning about presidential facts. Includes a bibliography and websites for further research.

ROSENSTOCK, Barb. illus. by Mordicai Gerstein. The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and our National Parks. Dial. 2012.

Long before there were national parks, Theodore Roosevelt asked John Muir to take him on a camping trip in the Sierras. He wanted to know if the wilderness was truly endangered. So in 1903, Roosevelt sent his men ahead and spent one night under the shelter of the redwoods with his guide. The pair rode into Yosemite Valley and on their last night together, Muir explained how the development of new cities and the search for gold were clearing away the forests. He asked the politician to protect the wilderness. When the future President returned home, he pushed Congress to pass laws in favor of that cause. He then went on to establish national parks and forests. Rosenstock tells a powerful story about a camping trip that truly changed America.

KATZ, Susan. illus. by Robert Neubecker. The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents. Clarion. 2012. ISBN  9780547182216. JLG Level: NE : Nonfiction Elementary (Grades 2-6)

Finally, with a good dose of humor, in classic form, Katz shares a poem about each president, starting with Washington and ending with Obama. In very few words, readers get a glimpse of a Commander-in-Chief who was so small he was referred to as “The Great Little Madison.” John Quincy Adams was fond of swimming naked. Taft got stuck in the bathtub. Buchanan had a habit of tilting his head to one side while he tried to focus his eyes. Arthur changed the presidential song. Theodore Roosevelt was one of the boys and participated in pillow fights with his sons. Filled with facts of all kinds, this presidential poetry book is not to be missed―whether it’s an election year or not.

For ideas about how to use these books and links to supportive sites, check out the Junior Library Guild blog, Shelf Life.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at

Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

A Day-Long Celebration of Fandom-Beloved Stories and Characters
Join Library Journal and School Library Journal for our inaugural LibraryCon Live! We’re excited to offer this day-long virtual festival for book nerds, librarians, and fans of graphic novels, sci-fi, and fantasy. Network online with other fans and explore our virtual exhibit hall where you’ll hear directly from publishers about their newest books and engage in live chats with featured authors. You’ll also learn from librarians and industry insiders on how to plan and host your own Comic Con-style event.