In anticipation of the presidential election next week, we’ve gathered a list of some of the year’s noteworthy middle grade and YA fiction about political campaigns and voting, including a graphic novel about a girl running for student council; a teen drama following the sons of two presidential hopefuls; a YA rom-com set on the campaign trail, and more.
In this follow-up to the graphic novels Click and Camp, sixth grader Olive decides to run for student council after she learns of a school policy that would prevent some of her classmates from going on an exciting field trip.
Maddie, 12, lives for art class, so she’s devastated when she learns that the lone candidate running for town mayor wants to cut school arts funding. But Maddie is not one to go down without a fight, so she persuades her babysitter Janet to sign up as the race’s challenger.
The Campaign: With Liberty and Study Hall for All
Friedman kicks off a middle grade fiction series about student government, elections, and running a fair and honest campaign, in which two best friends find themselves on opposite sides of the aisle.
Project Class President
In the third book of Alyssa Milano’s Hope series, Hope is running for class president but in an effort to win over her classmates, she makes some promises she can’t keep.
When 15-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s senator father runs for president, their family faces a new level of scrutiny. As Mari starts to see him with new eyes, she suspects he’s not the man she thought he was.
Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote
Miss Lila Greer announces it’s time for Grade Two to get a class pet, and she wants the kids to participate in choosing which one. There’s a class-wide election campaign, complete with posters, articles, and speeches. But when the votes are counted, there’s a tie, and one vote is missing. It’s up to Sofia Valdez and the Questioneers to sort things out.
After a sexist scandal hits Acedia High, the election for class president becomes the newest trending hashtag. Meanwhile, exes Angeline and Leo are caught in the middle of the storm.
Andre “Dre” Rosario and Dean Arnault have one big thing in common—a parent running for U.S. president—but, at first glance, little else. Mexican American Dre, a Democrat, is gay and out, and his father rose to prominence defending asylum seekers. Buttoned-up Dean is white, on the asexual spectrum, and closeted, and his Republican mother wants trans soldiers banned from the military.
This timely novel sees Black first-time voters Marva Sheridan and Duke Crenshaw fulfilling their civic duty. Marva, passionate about politics, has been working to get out the vote. When Duke is unable to vote at their mutual polling place due to a registration mix-up, she makes it her mission to ensure he can cast his ballot. The novel received a starred review from PW.
Two childhood friends—deeply shy Jamie Goldberg, who is Jewish and white, and stability-loving Maya Rehman, who is Pakistani-American and Muslim—reconnect when pressured into working on the campaign of a progressive Senate hopeful. Soon, swept up in the passions and pressures leading to Election Day, the pair starts falling for each other. Read our In Conversation with co-authors Albertalli and Saeed here.
Meg Warren, 18, is passionate about politics, giving speeches at her private school and volunteering for nonpartisan nonprofit WeCount to talk people through voter registration. It’s WeCount that leads to her first phone conversation with fellow 18-year-old Colby Moran. Alternating perspectives, Cotugno goes beyond romance and politics, tracing how both Meg and Colby are changed by their discussions and experiences stepping into each other’s contrasting worlds.
For a selection of 2020 nonfiction books about politics for young readers, click here.
For a close-up on kids’ books that address key principals of democracy, activism, and protest, click here.
And see our roundup of books by and about v-p candidate Kamala Harris here.