The midterm elections are on Tuesday, November 6th. At Mindr, we plan on taking our future voters with us to show them the importance of exercising our right to choose our lawmakers. To get them ready to head to the polls, we asked #MINDRMAMA and co-owner of Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab Maggie Pouncey for some inspirational books to read to these future civic changemakers.
At a time when our nation feels particularly divided, when even grown-ups are unsure how to explain the latest news cycle, how can we raise engaged, empowered, civic-minded children, who are well-equipped to face the challenges ahead? One of our favorite ways is through vivid, hopeful and inspiring stories. Lately, it’s been refreshing to see so many excellent children’s books by talented makers filling the shelves of our bookshop in Brooklyn: books that feature children of all races, religions, and identities; books that remind us our country has seen stark divisions before and emerged both stronger, and gentler; and books that spark a committed spirit of advocacy. We can’t predict the future of politics, but we can raise kids who care and don’t give up. Here is a great collection of books for all ages to read as a family, sure to make your children super stoked and proud to stand beside you as you vote on November 6.
Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights, By Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr, $17.99
A picture book for the littlest activists, this is also an alphabet book, showing kids ways to lend their voices to the causes they believe in, from A - “Assemble. Take action. Create Allies” - to Z - "Be zealous.” Inviting, cut paper illustrations depict children of all ethnicities standing up for things they care about. V is for “Vote. Volunteer. Keep vigil. Be nonviolent.” The spread shows a young black boy who has gone with an older relative to the voting booth, an excellent opportunity to set the stage for your family’s own trip to the polls.
Ages: 3 and up
What Can a Citizen Do? By Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris, $17.99
A gently rhyming text in this picture book - a second collaboration between Eggers and Harris (see also their excellent Her Right Foot) - asks and answers the questions “What in the world can a citizen do? Who can a citizen be?” Playful, witty illustrations include details kids will love to discover during read-alouds: when some children put up a sign that reads, “No Trumpets,” others protest, and on the following spread the sign has been amended to, “Ok, Trumpets.” The story emphasizes that it is actions of helpfulness and community mindedness that a citizen make.
Ages: 5 and up
Start Now! You Can Make a Difference, By Chelsea Clinton, $16.99
A new illustrated how-to guide for the next generation, covering questions of how to be a good citizen from the personal (why we should all wash our hands) to the global (how to understand and take action against climate change). Friendly, straightforward, and engaging, author Chelsea Clinton tackles large issues in relatable, informative ways. As she writes, “You may not be old enough yet to vote or to volunteer - but you are definitely the right age to raise your voice about important issues you care about, at home, in your school, in your community and in our world.” The message is clear - no matter how old you are, the time to start making the world a better place is right now.
Ages: 7 and up (signed copies currently available from Stories)
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, Edited by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson, $18.99
This is a stirring, heartfelt and intensely personal illustrated treasury featuring an incredible collection of diverse voices in children’s literature, from Jacqueline Woodson to Ellen Oh, Jason Reynolds to Hena Khan, Javaka Steptoe to Ekua Holmes. Many of the poems and letters and essays are addressed directly to the audience, specifically children of color. This book offers hope, provides context for past struggles, and teaches kindness, and courage.
Ages: 8 and up
This is Our Constitution: Discover America with a Gold Star Father, By Khizr Khan, $16.99
Khizr Khan addresses a middle-grade audience with passion and knowledge, exploring the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence (the text of both documents are printed in their entirety in this book). Speaking both personally (as an immigrant from Pakistan and a father), and as an expert (he is a lawyer who has focused on civil rights and veterans’ rights) he shows why the work of our founding fathers should inspire us, and why “We the people” (which includes young people) must stand up for the freedoms upon which our nation was built.
Ages: 10 and up
Maggie Pouncey is the co-founder and co-owner of Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, and the author of the novel, Perfect Reader, and the forthcoming picture book, The Fort on the Moon. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young sons.