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Politics & Democracy

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Politics and Democracy Booklist

Discussions about politics and general elections can be confusing for children (and adults!) at the best of times. To help, we’ve put together a list of the best children’s books about politics, including both fiction and non-fiction books that explore themes of parliament, elections, democracy and political systems.

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Picturebooks about politics

Trygve Skaug
 & Ella Okstad
Picturebook

‘If I were Prime Minister…’ is a feel-good story which looks at how our country is run through the eyes of a kind, thoughtful and playful child.

The story follows a young child’s imagination and their desires for the community and country that they live in. They go through numerous wishes including changing the sea to water that swallows plastic, making sure everyone has at least two friends, that every garden has a swimming pool and that woolly jumpers would not feel itchy. The real question is, ‘What would you do if you were Prime Minister or Team Captain?’

This feel-good picture book is a beautifully illustrated story which gets the reader thinking about what they would change if they were in charge. It covers major socio-political themes including the environment, education and immigration in a child-friendly way. The designs of the pages are playful and eye-catching with an easy-to-read font with the words strewn around pictures, making it fun to read and keeping big themes light-hearted to encourage creative and imaginative thinking.

My favourite line in the book is ‘Because playing is for everyone, even the people who have forgotten how.’ The story made me stop and think as an adult and see the world through a child’s eyes, which is a lovely thing. I would recommend this book for all ages, as it could be used in so many ways: reading for pleasure, a stimulus for a writing piece or even a prequel tale before a class debate.

Andrea Beaty
 & David Roberts
Picturebook

A new rhyming picture book from the popular Questioneers series (popular for Rosie Revere, Engineer & Iggy Peck, Architect). Sofia Valdez is a Mexican-American girl who campaigns for improvements in her local area, showing the difference that individual voices can make when they engage and get involved with their communities.

Eleanor Levenson
 & Marek Jagucki
Picturebook
This is an engaging picture book that explains what an election is and how the voting system works. Alex's family supports the party with stripes on their posters whereas Evie's family backs the party with spotty posters. But whoever wins the election, Alex and Evie will remain friends. With backing from elected representatives of all major political parties, The Election is an essential tool for learning about modern democracy in the UK.

Chapter books about politics

Frank Cottrell Boyce
 & Cate James
Chapter book
Ted thinks there’s something fishy going on. Ever since his birthday when he got a special loyalty card at the local shop, all his great ideas are being thought of by the new Prime Minister too. Now there’s laws about walking to school and everyone has Mondays off! Could the shop’s market research lady have anything to do with it? And if Ted has become a Leader, shouldn’t he start thinking up proper laws to save the world...A hilarious comedy caper from Frank Cottrell-Boyce, now in a format particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+.
Sufiya Ahmed
Chapter book
My Story: Princess Sophia Duleep Singh – the thrilling story of the princess and suffragette.Born in Britain to Indian and Egyptian parents, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was a prominent suffragette and campaigned for the women’s right to vote.Explore Sophia's incredible life with My Story.Perfect for any child wanting to learn more about history’s untold storiesGreat background reading for Key Stage 2 & 3My Story: exciting stories with reliable and accurate historical detailExperience history first-hand with My Story.
Various
Short story collection

You have to make more noise than anyone else,” declared Emmeline Pankhurst, who led the British suffragette movement.

 ‘Make More Noise!’ is a collection of short stories written by well-known female authors, including Emma Carroll (author of Letters From the Lighthouse), M.G. Leonard (author of the Beetle Boy books) and Kiran Millwood Hargrave (author of The Girl of Ink and Stars), among other celebrated writers. The stories each feature the strong voice of a female character, some fictitious and others based on real people.

Sofia from M.G. Leonard’s story ‘The Bug Hunters’, for example, is a girl whose interest in bugs and studying nature makes her an easy target for bullies as she learns to combat prejudice and stand up for who she wants to be. Katherine Woodfine then transports us to another era in her story ‘Tea and Jam’ to meet Eveline, a suffragette’s maid who feels the sting of her unequal treatment in contrast to the messages of the suffrage campaigns. In a complete shift of genre, Kiran Millwood Hargrave then introduces us to Alba in the fantasy story ‘The Green-Hearted Girl’. Alba demonstrates how one girl’s bravery can bring about positive societal change.
 Each of the authors has put their own enjoyable stamp and style on the unified theme. What is remarkable is not just the strength of the female voices singing out from each story, but how the voices of the collection come together to create a chorus of girls, from across time and space, singing beautifully in a bid to ‘make more noise’ and celebrate the equality that the #VotesForWomen campaign represents.
This is suitable for boys and girls in upper kS2 and a worthy addition to every school library.
Laura Wood
 & Mirelle Ortega
Chapter book

Sometimes you meet a character in a book who you not only like a lot, but also think that if you met them in real life you would want to be friends with them. So it is with Effie in ‘Vote for Effie’, a very real twelve year old girl, starting at a new school part of the way through Year 8. Most children have anxieties about starting secondary school or any new school and this book explores this fear in a lively and fast paced story. But Vote for Effie is more than just a story about starting a new school, as it covers injustice and women’s rights as well and is immensely readable.

Effie ends up, almost by accident, running for School Council and the story takes the reader through her campaign, against a seemingly unpleasant adversary. Effie is at first friendless, but then joined by a group of entertaining and interesting individuals as she challenges the status quo. The book is full of humour and delightfully illustrated by Mirelle Ortega.

I particularly liked that the central character is of Greek origin, as, living and working in an area where there are a significant number of Greek Cypriot children, I feel they are underrepresented in books.

I’d never read anything by this author before, but this book was so enjoyable I want to read more. As a reader you find yourself cheering Effie on and living the ups and downs with both Effie and her companions. I would vote for Effie!

 
Jacqueline Wilson
 & Nick Sharratt
Chapter book
Fiction meets political history in this gripping and moving story from popular author Jacqueline Wilson. When Opal's father is sent to prison, Opal must start work at the Fairy Glen sweet factory instead of following her dreams of going to university. But when Opal meets the legendary Mrs Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes, she gains a growing awareness of just how far these women will go to pursue their democratic rights. Set during a significant turning point of British history when the Votes for Women movement was gaining traction and WW1 was about to begin, Opal Plumstead is an important book that offers an insight into how the suffrage movement helped to shape British democracy and one that carries a powerful message about fighting for what you believe in.

Tom McLaughlin
Chapter book

This is a popular and funny story about one boy’s unexpected rise to power. When Joe tells a local news reporter exactly what he would do if he were in charge of the country, his video goes viral all over the world. Soon, people are calling for the current leader to resign and before long Joe ends up with the most extraordinary new job. The Accidental Prime Minister is a big hit with KS2 and a great springboard for helping pupils to reflect on the responsibility of leaders in democracies like the UK. You may also like The Accidental President by the same author.

Sufiya Ahmed
 & Alessia Trunfio
Chapter book

For diverse historical fiction, look no further then Sufiya Ahmed. In this first book of the new ‘Time Travellers’ series, she introduces us to Suhana and her two friends Mia and Ahmed. On a school trip to the Houses of Parliament, they find themselves magically transported back in time to 1911. They find themselves in the middle of a women’s suffrage demonstration, where, as well as meeting more familiar characters like Emily Davison, Suhana is thrilled to encounter Lolita Roy and other women of Indian heritage protesting for the right to vote too.

As the story of their day thunders along at pace, and the reader is caught up in the drama of whether or not they will manage to return to present-day London in their race against the clock, Ahmed peppers the narrative with historical facts and thought-provoking insights into the role of women from India in the protest movement – both for the vote in Britain and for the right to independence in India.

A great choice for reluctant readers due to its snappy story, and a brilliant fiction addition to a class topic on the women’s suffrage movement. ‘Time Travellers’ is a triumph.

Non-fiction books about politics

Christopher Lloyd & Patrick Skipworth
 & Andy Forshaw
Non-fiction
This is an impressive fold-out book for children in KS2 to learn about the historical significance of the Magna Carta. As well as newspaper articles and quizzes, the book contained a 2 metre-long timeline that folds out to show the impact that the signing of the Magna Carta had on British political history from 1215 through to modern times.
Louie Stowell, Alex Frith & Rosie Hore
 & Kellan Stover
Non-fiction
A handy, clear guide to all things political explained through accessible text and appealing, infographic-stye illustrations. Aimed for 8-11 year-olds, this book does a brilliant job of explaining key aspects of the British political system (including who can vote and how votes are counted) as well as wider concepts like freedom of speech, global responsibility and the media's impact on political results.
DK and Andrew Marr
Non-fiction
All About Politics is a children's information text about how the political system works in the UK. Find out how different systems and beliefs have developed, what modern democracy looks like, how laws are made and what happens behind the scenes in parliament. This book answers big questions through clear explanatory text and bright, appealing graphics. We particularly like the way that All About Politics explains how children can have their voices heard and get involved in politics.

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