7 Picture Books for President’s Day


Happy birthday, George Washington! In honor of the United States’ first president, the federal government has recognized his birthday on the third Monday of February every year as a national holiday since 1879. However, now the day celebrates all past presidents and the White House. Below are seven picture books that provide thoughtful narratives about the presidency and are perfect for celebrating President’s Day!

Celebrating President’s Day written by Trudi Strain Trueit and illustrated by Michelle Dorenkamp 

“You’re just in time for the President’s Day parade!”

Celebrating President’s Day not only provides an overview of President George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s accomplishments but also explains what exactly President’s Day is. I really liked that the story covered ways to honor the presidents on this special day, including patriotic songs, a recipe for a traditional cherry pie, and instructions for log cabin crafts. The text also features quotes from past presidents and important figures. To truly get in the spirit of President’s Day, pick up a copy of Celebrating President’s Day and try some of the recommended activities. 

Grace for President written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

“Where are the girls?”

Grace Campbell is shocked to learn that none of the United States presidents have been women. In turn, she declares that she would like to be president, and her school hosts a mock presidential election to give her the opportunity. However, Grace is worried when her opponent turns out to be Thomas Cobo, the school’s golden boy. The candidates create slogans, make campaign promises, and hold rallies in an attempt to gain votes. Each student represents one of the fifty states and casts that state’s electoral votes. Can Grace overcome the odds and win more than 270 electoral votes? Grace for President is a great resource to teach children (and even adults) about the Electoral College in a visual format that also empowers girls to seek to be president when they grow up.

I am George Washington written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

“When you’re the first to try something new, there’s no one to show you the way.”

I am George Washington teaches young readers the basics about the United States’ first president and father of our country, George Washington! The story starts with Washington’s birth and childhood and follows his development from being a surveyor all the way until he retires from being president. The narrative and timeline included at the end of the story are great ways to introduce readers to the topic of the American Revolution. I particularly liked that the book emphasized that Washington was not a perfect little boy but an ordinary kid to empower readers to dream big. 

If I Ran for President written by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath 

“Running for president is surely an exhausting but exciting time for a candidate.”

Are you curious about the presidential election process, specifically the steps involved from thinking about running for president through starting the job? If I Ran for President offers a comprehensive look at the journey to the White House that is surprisingly comparable to what I covered in my high school government class. While the minute details described may not appeal to all readers, those who are interested in presidents and the election process will not be able to get enough! This picture book even reminded me about the important parts of the candidate process that I had forgotten. For any avid presidency fan, If I Ran for President is a must-read!

If I Were President written by Catherine Stier and illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

“But just like me, the new president would work hard for the good of the country.”

If I Were President explains exactly who the president is and what they do. This can be a great introduction to the presidency for younger readers. I especially like how it emphasizes that the president doesn’t act alone and works with their cabinet and Congress to make decisions. Similarly, it points out that the president will never make everyone happy because people all want different things. Pick up If I Were President to introduce a young reader in your life to the concept of the presidency. 

If I Were President written by Trygve Skaug and illustrated by Ella Okstad

“Because playing is for everyone, even the people who have forgotten how.”

While most of the picture books on this list take a serious tone If I Were President is geared toward dreaming big and letting your imagination run wild. The story follows a boy who proclaims that if he were president, he would fix all of the major problems in the world but also remove small unpleasantries, such as when you have an uncomfortable gap between your mittens and coat in the cold. Plus, cookies would always be available on every table! While not a factual book, I appreciated that the story remembered its primary audience: children. If I Were President encourages everyone to dream for a brighter future, both big and small.

Looking at Lincoln written by Maira Kalman and illustrated by Maira Kalman

“He loved people. His family, of course, but all people. And he wanted them to live well. He loved justice and truth.”

After passing a strikingly familiar figure in the park, the narrator decides to explore the details of President Abraham Lincoln’s life. At the library, they learn all about Lincoln, from his challenging childhood through his presidency and the Civil War. This picture book can be a great resource for introducing children to the tragedy of war and slavery. My favorite parts of the book were all of the small, interesting details included about Lincoln, such as the fact he always had an apple on his desk, loved vanilla cake but often forgot to eat it, and was seven feet tall with his hat on. Looking at Lincoln offers something for both new readers and devoted Lincoln fans!

Emilee Ceuninck, Pine Reads Review Lead Writer & Editor