While we, here in the US (and across the world too), play the waiting game to get this question of who the next president will be, answered, I decided to focus on reading and reviewing a book titled The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents instead.
Update: Nov 7, 2020: Question Answered!!!!! Breathing a huge sigh of relief …
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The Book Review
The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents
Title: The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents
Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Adam Rex
Length: 48 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Biographies, Government (8 – 12 years, and up!)
Publisher: Chronicle Books (March 24, 2020)
Description (Excerpted from Goodreads)
An inspiring and informative book for kids about the past and future of America’s presidents.
Who will be the NEXT president? Could it be you? When George Washington became the first president of the United States, there were nine future presidents already alive in America, doing things like practicing law or studying medicine.
Today!—there are at least 10 future presidents alive in America. They could be playing basketball, like Barack Obama, or helping in the garden, like Dwight D. Eisenhower. They could be solving math problems or reading books. They could be making art—or already making change.
What I Loved
Quick: Name the President of the United States…
That is how this book starts! And Messner goes on to introduce the first president of the USA.
Kate Messner includes lots of interesting (and many unknown) facts and statistics about all the presidents so far, including our current president. While many reviews online mention that he is not anywhere in the book, that is not the case. President Trump is mentioned – with a picture and a note on what/where he was at the time John F. Kennedy became president. And this is just like most of the other presidents receiving a mention in the book.
I loved how Messner picks up four different years – 1789, 1841, 1897, and 1961 – and uses them to inform readers about the president at that time, as well as the future presidents alive then. I loved that instead of focusing on accomplishments, Messner instead picks a couple of totally random and totally cool trivia about each president. Like playing the saxophone, or helping their family by tending to the livestock. I appreciate that facts ranged from inspiring to well-not-so-inspiring to truly surprising.
And while it is mostly chronological, because of the way Messner chose to show presidents, there is a little bit of back and forth, which adds to the appeal. (This might confuse young readers but can be set right easily with some help)
Adam Rex’s digital painting like illustrations are fun, colorful, and depict each president in context. For example, Barack Obama was a newborn when Kennedy was president, while Reagan was working in television at that time; and that is exactly how the illustrations depict them. I also loved the subtle way the #s were included in the drawings to relate to the text for each president. See image from book below
And Then The Rest
The adult in me would have loved for it to be just a little longer – each included mini-biography, that is. But I loved it the way it is too; and I cannot deny that the style and length will definitely appeal to its target audience.
One of the last few pages shows three people who would have likely surprised the earliest presidents: John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton (simply for being the first female presidential candidate nominated by a major party). And while the accompanying text next to these three illustrations states exactly the same, someone who just sees those drawings is very likely to jump to the wrong conclusions. So, it just goes to show how important having the full information is, and also context!
One Last Thing
The book, through both how it is written and its artwork, emphasizes throughout, that anyone can be president. By portraying them as normal humans, just like you and me, who were children themselves, just like the many young readers of the book, this encourages one and all to hold on to dreams, and to hope.
The book includes many books in the suggested reading section that will be perfect, like Kid Presidents (I have read and enjoyed other books in tht series, including Kid Authors and Kid Activists). Another suggestion – this book about how governments and elections work for young readers – is also wonderful.
Overall, a fun and fast read to get an interesting and brief look at the presidency and the presidents themselves. Perfect for the intended audience
Get It Here
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read or heard of this book? Any other similar books you have to recommend? Do let me know..