Presidents Day is a day in America where we celebrate the great leaders of our past. It’s a time that I really enjoy sharing fun stories about these great men (and someday women), that the kids don’t expect.
I read presidential stories to more than one grade level, but these are my favorite stories.
The second grade students love this rhyming story about how George Washington lost all of his teeth. I always ask before we read what the kids know about his teeth, and most say that his false teeth were wooden. We find out in the book though, that his teeth were carved from hippo ivory. They were probably uncomfortable though, and I’ve read online that they were stained with Washington’s favorite drink.
I need to read up on it more, but while looking for this image, I saw an article where the claim was made that Washington’s false teeth came from his slaves. As I said, that idea deserves further research.
We also enjoy George Washington’s Birthday, where some of the common misconceptions about George are dispelled. No, he did not cut down the cherry tree.
A fan favoritewith the kids is President Taft Is Stuck In the Bath by Mac Barnett.
Most kids have never heard of Taft, but they love this outrageous story, perfectly illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. It’s a fun story because we don’t know if it’s true. It’s a fun way to reinforce the point that if we weren’t there in person, we just don’t know.
Teddy Roosevelt was another great president, whom we have to thank for the creation of our National Parks system. The kids enjoy the book The Camping Trip That Changed America and Teedie as well as other books about this colorful family man.
We read a lot about Abraham Lincoln, our school being named after him, so I like to read books to them about parts of his life they may not know s lot about.
I adore Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek by Deborah Hopkinson, and the kids appreciate the story Robert Burleigh tells in Abraham Lincoln Comes Home.
I also tell them about the sadder parts of Lincoln’s story, his sons.
I don’t do a lot of other specific presidents, but I display as much as I can. Sadly, I don’t own a book on every president yet. I need to write a grant to buy a new set.
Whether you agree with a presidents policies or not, it is a huge job to become the commander in chief. The kids learned that when we read, If I Were President. I explained it like this:
It’s not easy to make everyone happy. Let’s say You are president of Mrs. O’s room. You have to buy 1 pizza to make all of the kids happy. Some only want cheese. Some can’t live without pepperoni, and some want vegetables too. Oh, and there’s always that one kid that wants tacos instead. Not so easy after all.