The Ultimate List of Great Washington D.C. Books For Kids
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Washington D.C. serves as a decision-making place for the United States. It welcomes representatives and senators from all 50 states into its halls. Here are 20 picture books about Washington D.C. for children to learn more about the nation’s capitol. From these children’s books about Washington D.C., young kids will be able to see how people shaped history.
Here are some fantastic, heart-warming Washington D.C. books for kids. Which Washington DC children’s books will be the next read for your family?
21 Children’s Picture Books about Washington D.C.
Washington DC children’s books: Famous Places around Washington, D.C.
Brick by Brick, by Charles R. Smith and Floyd Cooper
Learn about the building of the White House in 1800 with this book that dedicates a poem to the worker’s efforts.
Philip Reid Saves the Statue of Freedom, by Steven Sellers Lapham, Eugene Walton and R. Gregory Christie
This book discusses the saving of the Statue of Freedom that sits on the top of the Congress Building at The Capitol.
Thurgood, by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Thurgood Marshall was selected as a Supreme Court Justice after winning the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education.
Abe’s honest words, by Doreen Rappaport and Kadir Nelson
This book about Abraham Lincoln has the art style of Kadir Nelson. Written and illustrated by Black authors.
Washington D.C. Children’s Books about the National Museum of African American History at the Smithsonian – Link to the Museum
Dream Builder, by Kelly Starling Lyons and Laura Freeman
Phillip Freelon was the architect for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, a building whose architecture is instrumental to the mood of the building inside. This picture book is about Washington D.C.’s efforts to construct the Museum of African American History, and Phillip Freelon’s pathway to becoming the architect of a national museum.
Simone Visits the Museum, by Kelsi Bracmort and Takeia Marie
In this book about D.C., Simone visits the National Museum of African American History. Some readers will be disappointed that it focuses more on Simone’s experience on a field trip, going to the museum, and isn’t a page-by-page retelling of the specific museum itself. However, this makes it a more universal read before children go on a field trip or museum visit themselves.
Washington DC children’s books: African American Congresswomen in History
You Should Meet Shirley Chisholm, by Laurie Calkhoven, illustrated by Kaitlyn Shea O’Connor
Shirley Chisholm was the first African American to run for President in US history, and the first woman to run for President under the Democratic Party, in her bid for the presidency in 1972. Shirley Chisholm previously made history when in 1968 she became the first African-American woman ever to be elected into the United States Congress.
What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, by Chris Barton, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Barbara Jordan was a force in American politics. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the Texas State Senate. She then became a Congressmember in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is famous for participating in the House Judiciary Committee hearings regarding the impeachment of Richard Nixon, and became the first woman and first African-American to give a keynote speech at a political party’s National Convention.
Many members of Congress today say that they were inspired by Barbara Johnson as their role model.
Washington DC children’s books: Books about the 19th Amendment: Women’s Right To Vote*
Elizabeth Started All the Trouble, by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Faulkner
This book goes through the women’s suffrage movement of the 1910s. It is a long and informative picture book, great for 3rd grade or for a 1st grade read-aloud.
Note: One topic to bring up after reading it is to discuss whether the movement allowed all women to vote, and whose story is left out of this version of events. (In focusing on Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the book tends to overlook discussion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or on earlier suffrage work like Francis Harper.) The book is still worth the read – it is an excellent primer into suffrage movement – but it should be expanded upon.
Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote, by Dean Robbins
Alice Paul was instrumental to the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women nationally the right to vote. Other suffragist leaders wanted to focus on state-by-state efforts to expand the right to vote, but she looked to making it national law. Alice Paul organized the first protest of a president outside the White House in US history. Women would stand silently with signs, asking, “Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty?”
During World War I, she continued her protests. This would lead her and 168 suffragists to be jailed. They demanded to be treated as political prisoners, and commenced hunger strikes while in jail. The jails would forcibly feed them, and public sentiment changed when newspapers got ahold of information that women were starving in prison over their requests to be allowed to vote. While Alice Paul had been spit on, attacked, and jailed for being “unpatriotic,” she got her aim – the 19th Amendment went into effect in 1920 and women could legally vote in every US state.
Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman’s Race for the Presidency Paperback, by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Belva Lockwood was the first woman to run for US President.
A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights, by Kate Hannigan
Belva Lockwood was the first woman to run for US President, at a time when not all women had obtained the right to vote.
Washington DC children’s books: books about the Lincoln Memorial
Climbing Lincoln’s Steps, by Suzanne Slade and Colin Bootman
This book follows a family as they reflect on nation’s history, from legalized slavery to emancipation to protections of equality like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
Sweet Land of Liberty, by Deborah Hopkinson and Leonard Jenkins
Mahalia Jackson sang at the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a historic moment. She later sang again at the 1963 March on Washington.
Washington DC children’s books about Friendship: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
Lincoln and Douglass, by Nikki Giovanni and Bryan Collier
Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass considered each other friends in the 1860s. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to invite a Black American as an esteemed guest to the White House, making Frederick Douglass the first African-American to be invited in through the front door of the White House.
The two men had differences in opinion, and it was by Abraham Lincoln listening to Frederick Douglass that he realized that Black men should be allowed to enlist in the Union Army. As a result, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry was created (which many people remember from the movie Glory). In just two years from being formally allowed to enlist in the US military, Black soldiers held both Officer positions and were paid equal to White soldiers by war’s end in 1865.
Friendship: Martin Luther King, Jr. and singer Mahalia Jackson
Martin & Mahalia, by Andrea Davis Pinkney and J. Brian Pinkney
Martin Luther King and Mahalia Jackson were friends in the Civil Rights Movement. He was a paster of a church in Atlanta. She was a famous gospel singer. Both performed at the 1963 March on Washington.
Washington DC children’s books: books about the March on Washington, 1963 “I had a dream”
We March, by Shane Evans
Riding to Washington, by Gwenyth Swain, illustrated by David Geister
This story is about how people hopped on busses and took long journeys to get to the March on Washington in 1963. This story is about Grace getting on a bus from Indiana and making that trip to the nation’s capital.
Grace Goes to Washington, by Kelly DiPucchio and LeUyen Pham
Million Man March, 1995
One Million Men and Me, by Kelly Starling Lyons and Peter Ambush
This book is about Washington D.C.’s Million Man March in 1995.
Washington DC children’s books: Artist in Profile: Laura Wheeler Waring
Beautiful Shades of Brown: The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring, by Nancy Churnin and Felicia Marshall
Washington DC children’s books: Musician in Profile: Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, by Andrea Davis Pinkney and J. Brian Pinkney
Duke Ellington wasn’t born in D.C., but he lived in Washington D.C. for the later years of his life.
Washington DC children’s books: Anacostia Park in Washington, D.C.
Adventures in Ana Park, by Trevon Evans, Kahliya Ruffin, and Liu Light
Connection Between United States and Japan
The Peace Tree from Hiroshima, by Sandra Moore and Kazumi Wilds
This book discusses the peace tree that was a gift from Hiroshima, Japan to Washington DC.
Chapter Books about Washington D.C.
Children in 4th to 7th grade will love this book about Washington DC’s suffrage movement efforts. The historical fiction novel, written in diary form, discusses the protests for women’s right to vote.
In this book, the Boxcar children visit Washington D.C. This children’s book about Washington DC has the four children solving a mystery across the city.
Washington D.C. Vocabulary for Highlighting:
District of Columbia
Belva Lockwood – first woman on the ballot for President, in 1884
19th Amendment / Women’s Right to Vote
March on Washington, 1963
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Million Man March in 1995
Smithsonian African-American History Museum
Children’s Books about Washington D.C. and all 50 states. Which state will you read about next!