• Allison Lee Pillinger Choi

Books to Make Presidents’ Day a Page-Turner

Updated: Feb 5

Surely we will all have a little love left over from Valentine’s Day -- share it on Presidents’ Day! This year, the national holiday falls the day after Cupid’s arrow flies. Spend the day with your kids celebrating and reading about those who have led the country we love!



Would you really want to be president for a day? While there’s some fun pomp and circumstance (having a special song played when you walk in the room is pretty cool), it is a heavy load to carry. Early morning security briefings, endless meetings, foreign entities (not to mention domestic officials) constantly challenging your authority, tons of media interviews, and probably no time for a bubble bath at the end of the day (unless you’re President Taft… read on!).


In short, the President of the United States of America is the leader of the free world! The office is a symbol of leadership that transcends any one person. As majestic as that sounds, this is an unimaginable level of responsibility. All this to say, no matter who sits in the West Wing of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Primerrily believes it’s important to teach our kids to respect the position of “POTUS” and all that the title entails. What’s a good way to do that? Celebrating presidents old and new through books!


As part of your kid’s celebration of Presidents’ Day, enjoy a few fun, funny, and fascinating pages about POTUS. Some Primerrily picks include:



This Little President: A Presidential Primer


Beginning with the grandest of them all, the OG (original George Washington, of course!), the illustrations in these petite-sized board book pages make our presidents cute and relatable for America’s cutest readers. The vivid colors and sweet rhymes make this book an on-the-go favorite.


Per the publisher’s review:

Learn all about the US presidents with this fun and colorful board book perfect for leaders-in-training!


Leading our country. / Helping you and me.

Keeping all fifty states / safe, happy, and free.

Little presidents have a great big job.


Now even the youngest patriots can learn about America’s presidential history with this bright and playful board book. Highlighting ten of the most memorable presidents—and featuring all forty-four on the last page—parents and presidents-in-training alike will love sharing this fun primer full of age-appropriate facts, leadership skills, and White House history.



I am George Washington


We love this book! Think: the playfulness of the classic comic book Calvin and Hobbes meets the substance of George Washington. Written by historian and novelist Brad Meltzer, I am George Washington is part of his kids book series called Ordinary People Change the World. Through it, he inspires little ones to dream big, one great role model at a time. He shows how “we can all be heroes” based on the real-life values in action by those before us.


Per the publisher’s review:

George Washington was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. He was never afraid to be the first to try something, from exploring the woods around his childhood home to founding a brand new nation, the United States of America. With his faith in the American people and tremendous bravery, he helped win the Revolutionary War and became the country’s first president.


Each picture book in this series is a biography of a significant historical figure, told in a simple, conversational, vivacious way, and always focusing on a character trait that makes the person a role model for kids. The heroes are depicted as children throughout, telling their life stories in first-person present tense, which keeps the books playful and accessible to young children. And each book ends with a line of encouragement, a direct quote, photos, a timeline, and a source list.


The series also features I am Abraham Lincoln, which makes a cute companion book to I am George Washington. After all, Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday originally called Washington’s Birthday, over time became a celebration of both Washington and Lincoln (both February babies!). Speaking of Lincoln. . .



Looking at Lincoln


This book balances big picture historical facts with fun, relatable details about our 16th president who kept the “U” in USA. This beautifully illustrated biography includes other historical figures -- like Frederick Douglass -- who were instrumental in Lincoln’s legacy of abolishing slavery while keeping the country together. Note that this read is intended for “bigger” kids (publisher’s suggested age range is 5-9 years, though personal parental determination is always encouraged), as Looking at Lincoln addresses the brutalities of slavery, violence of the Civil War, and Lincoln’s assassination.


Per the publisher’s review:

Fans of Who Was? and Jean Fritz will love this introduction to our sixteenth President by beloved author and illustrator Maira Kalman.


Who was Lincoln really? This little girl wants to find out. She discovers, among other things, that our sixteenth president was a man who believed in freedom for all, had a dog named Fido, loved Mozart, apples, and his wife's vanilla cake, and kept his notes in his hat. From his boyhood in a log cabin to his famous presidency and untimely death, Maira Kalman shares Lincoln's remarkable life with young readers in a fresh and exciting way.



President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath


Presidential talks tend to get serious -- for very good reason -- so we’re throwing this title into the mix to lighten up the mood. While this book is innocently ridiculous on the surface, its undertones about aspects of executive policy makes its meaning multi-dimensional. For instance, the Secretary of the Treasury suggests “throw money at the problem” as a solution to get President Taft out of the tub. We gotta love that every joke has some truth! Note that these illustrations show a bit more “flesh” than a typical children’s book, so parents please use your personal discretion. Some Primerrily parents will laugh, and some Primerrily parents will prefer to pass. To each her own!


Per the publisher’s review:

“Hilarious. . . . Studying the presidency need never be dull again.” — Booklist

George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of night. Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. And President William Howard Taft, a man of great stature . . . well, he got stuck in a bathtub. Now how did he get unstuck?



We hope these reads help make your kid’s national holiday more meaningful. . . at least something more than a day off from school! And to prime your kids for some presidential reading, here’s some fun trivia for The Dinner Table:


Celebrated every third Monday of February, Presidents' Day 2021 will occur on Monday, February 15. History reminds us that our second federal holiday of the year was “[o]riginally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, [but] the holiday became popularly known as Presidents' Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers [can we get a “God bless America” for that?!]. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington (February 22, 1732), Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809) and other figures, Presidents' Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present.”

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