The Election Book: The People Pick a President (updated)

The Election Book: The People Pick a President (updated) by Carolyn Jackson. Scholastic Inc. 2012.  112 pages. Publisher recommends for ages 8 and up.  ISBN: 9780545457835.

The Election Book walks the reader through the presidential election process, from what the president does and who can be president, through the party conventions and the general election to the inauguration.

The book is heavy on the facts of the process but does little to make those facts interesting. The world of presidential politics is full of interesting details about individual politicians. Those details could make this book much more readable, but no such details are used. Photographs or illustrations could also be used to make this book more interesting, but only pencil drawings at the beginning of each chapter are included.

There is a chapter on “The Cash,” which discusses how presidents finance their campaigns.  However, the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court is left out of this chapter.

At the end of the book there is an appendix entitled “Selected Election Web Sites.”  The sites are short on information, especially compared to the book itself.  At least two of them are aimed at parents and educators rather than at the children themselves. Another appendix is entitled “Political Talk: A Glossary of Terms.” This is a useful glossary. The next appendix: “Presidential Election Results” is the most interesting appendix. It breaks out the election results from each election between1789 to 2008 by both popular vote and votes in the Electoral College.  Following that appendix is a picture of each president. After that is a map of the United States with each state shown in some shade of gray, but the meanings of the shades of gray are not given. Finally, there is an index to the book.

After reading about 20 pages of this book I began to wonder if there could be a more boring book about the presidential election process. I have yet to answer that question.


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