Books and Games About Being American

What Makes an American?
Mountain View mom and author Aila Malik, a first-generation Pakistani American, wrote Mommy, Am I\ American? after her young son asked if he was in danger because of President Trump’s “Muslim travel ban.” The picture book is a love letter to the ideals Malik believes America stands for: “a place where everyone – no matter the color of your skin, or who you love, what job you have, or who your mommy is – everyone is equally important.” Self-published, 2020. $7.99. ailamalik.com.
A History of Voting and Activism
On the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, San Francisco author Bridget Quinn has released She Votes: How U.S. Women Won Suffrage, and What Happened Next. It follows a century of women fighting for equality, up to the present day. While not a children’s book per se, 100 stunning illustrations by 100 female artists make the book accessible family reading “for feminists of all ages and genders.” Chronicle Books, 2020. $35. bridgetquinnauthor.com/books.
A Race to 270 Votes 
Put a fun twist on learning about the Electoral College with the award-winning Election Night! board game from Semper Smart Games. Two players or teams battle it out to see who first can reach 270 electoral votes (the number needed to become president) by quickly locking down smaller states or shooting for longer-term wins in large ones – all while learning geography, math, civics and strategy in the process. For ages 8 and up. $39.95. sempersmartgames.com/collections/election-night.
A Wild Election
What happens when the residents of the jungle become fed up with their king? They call an election, with Snake, Sloth and Monkey all throwing their hats into the ring to defeat Lion. The President of the Jungle is a bright, cheerful way to introduce young readers to a democratic staple, with fun and simple explanations of debates, ballots and more, including a glossary of election terms. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2020. $17.99. penguin.com/children.

Janine DeFao is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.

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