Voting in America

Social Justice Learning: early childhood

Today's Lesson: Voting in America

Looking back on America’s first century, voting rights used to be very limited, mostly to white, land-owning, Christian men. Over time access opened to more groups of people, but even today, one’s right to vote isn’t guaranteed. Voting rights in America continue to be a moral and political issue. And while eligibility to vote is governed and protected by various state and federal laws, efforts to suppress the vote are alive and well. While these conversations can be complex—and often we don’t know where to begin—we believe beginning with our littlest ones can have the most long-term impact, both individually and as a society. We hope you will find the resources below helpful.

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Learning Levels

Early Childhood Adolescent Adult


Equality's Call

The Can Man book cover

The founders of the United States declared that consent of the governed was a key part of their plan for the new nation. But for many years, only white men of means were allowed to vote. Equality's Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America is an unflinching and inspiring history of voting rights looks back at the activists who answered equality’s call, working tirelessly to secure the right for all to vote, and it also looks forward to the future and the work that still needs to be done. If you would prefer to read along with a video, the Glendale Library Art & Culture offers a reading of this book.


EXTRA CREDIT: PBS Parents has put together a list of "9 Picture Books About Voting and Elections" and you can check the full list here. Each of these books will help you start conversations around not only voting, but democracy, citizenship, and equality.



How Grownups Vote

In this video from PBS KIDS fan-favorite Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Mackenzie goes with her dad to vote in a real election. She sees how grownups vote and goes inside the voting booth to watch her father use the voting machine to cast his vote.


EXTRA CREDIT: What's the word on street? Murray introduces the vocabulary word "vote." In this video from Sesame Street, students learn more about this word from Steve Carell, Elmo, Abby, and other friends.



But Why?

A logo with a dragon and a girl reading, text says stories podcast

But Why: A Podcast for Curios Kids is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and Vermont Public helps them find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, kids tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. This podcast is recommended for ages 5-12.

In this episode, "Why Can't Kids Vote?" we learn about voting and elections with Erin Geiger Smith, reporter and author of Thank You For Voting and Thank You For Voting Young Readers' Edition. Also: how does the government work?Why haven't we had girl presidents before? Why are Democrats called Democrats? Why are Republicans called Republicans?