Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Presidential Activiites: All Leaders are Readers

It's a pretty fair statement to point out that great leaders are readers. This is especially true of many of our nation's Presidents. Jefferson, Lincoln and George W. Bush are just a few examples of avid readers. Keeping this in mind, it became puzzling that there are no storytime that reminded children that great leaders were first avid readers. To fix this problem, it became a goal to find a way to make this topic work in a storytime program. Fitting in a biographical storytime is easier than one would think. There are delightful picture books that feature our great presidents such as Washington and Lincoln. Which makes for a wonderful half-hour program complete with crafts which includes making a stovepipe hat and beard. What child wouldn't love walking out of a program with a costume like that? Need a little music to go with the craft and stories, how about a Presidential parade with little feet marching to the tune of "Hail to the Chief". Still not convinced? Take a look at the following picture books listed below to discover the inspiration of entertaining while educating young minds.

It's very hard to do biographies in picture books. Lucky for children librarians and young readers everywhere there are talented authors who have taken up the task of remembering great men and women in history. Specifically, the books here focus on our two greatest Presidents. Margaret McNamara's George's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale is a fresh, interesting and full of fun facts about our first president. The story itself is a fiction, however McNamara cleverly fits in true facts about George through out the book that can lead to interesting discussion with children. The illustrations add a nice touch with a pint size George wearing a powdered wig.

After reading about George, move on to another picture book written by Maria Kalman titled Looking At Lincoln,. Inspired by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Kalman retells the story of Lincoln's life, presidency and death with sensitivity and clarity that aids children of all ages understand the complicated issues that this president faced.

A books series titled, "Who Was..." is a wonderful introduction to biographies for young readers in the grades two and up. These books are filled with interesting facts, timelines and bibliographic references for young readers to look up additional information. Who Was Abraham Lincoln? by Janet B. Pascal and Who Was George Washington? by Roberta Edwards are excellent choices for quick reading and book discussions for the little "older" reader then the storytime crowd.

With a little imagination, and how can one not be inspired by the two greatest Presidents our nation has produced, a unique storytime that children and parents won't soon forget is ready to go. Who knows this storytime may be the building block for a budding future "President".

Would you like to see more book titles? It's easy to obtain by emailing and requesting an annotated President's day bibliography.
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