The Next President by Kate Messner

The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents

Kate Messner, Author

Adam Rex, Illustrator

Chronicle Books, Nonfiction, Mar. 24, 2020

Pages: 48

Suitable for ages: 8-12

Themes: Past Presidents, Future Presidents,  Childhoods facts, United States

Opening: “Quick: Name the President of the United States.”

Book Jacket Synopsis:

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.

When JFK became the thirty-fifth president, there were 10 future presidents already alive in America, doing things like hosting TV shows and learning the saxophone. One president was born in 1961.

And right now—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.

Why I like this book:

Kate Messner’s nonfiction book for middle graders, is a timely and fascinating compilation of facts about the U.S. presidents when they were ordinary kids, before they became leaders of the free world. Her creative presentation is unique. Even though there may be one president leading the country, the future leaders of tomorrow are always out there, whether they are infants, students in school, lawyers, teachers, or running a farm and business.

The book wraps up with the most important question of all for young people: “So where is the next president?” At least three future presidents are children right now. It invites readers to think BIG and realize that anything is possible. In fact, they may be reading this book right now. Could it be you?   

Her  beautifully designed book will resonate with children. And make sure you peek under the book jacket cover. Adam Rex’s large pastel illustrations feature unusual and interesting stand-out moments for many of the presidents making them appear very ordinary. The text about each president appears in bubbles.  There is a special double-spread –“Snapshot” page — in the center of the book about presidential pets.

This is an excellent classroom discussion book, especially with a presidental election in November.

Resources: The backmatter in the book includes a map of the Presidential Birthplaces. There is information about Presidential Requirements and The Changing Face of America’s Presidency. There are also suggestions for further reading. This is a valuable and creative resource for students and teachers. It is a fun way to get involved in the process.  Afterall, there are three future presidents in school right now.

Kate Messner is passionately curious and writes books for kids who wonder, too. A former teacher, she has written more than thirty picture books, chapter books, and novels for young readers. She is an award-winning author whose many books for kids have been selected as Best Books by the New York Times, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family. Visit Messner at her website.

*Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the MMGM link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

34 thoughts on “The Next President by Kate Messner

  1. I think this must be an inspiring book for kids. The synopsis made me stop and think. It’s quite an interesting fact. I’m sure all the details included in the book must be fascinating too. A great book for our times, I think – inspiring your country’s future leaders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think children will really like this book — and it is a perfect book for use in the classroom.

      Heard about a MG book today on another blog that you may want to check out: Our Dogs, Ourselves — How We Live with Dogs: Young Readers Edition, by Alexandra Horowitz. August 4th 2020 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers. The reviewer is a school librarian and said its the best book she’s read about human – dog interaction. She said adults would love it too. Thought I’d share with you.


  2. Books that take something that often seem out of reach to kids—like being president—and introduces it in a relatable way are vital. They’re can be so inspiring to kids, encouraging them to dream big. And this one is on a topic that’s timely. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book sounds great! The combination of facts about presidents when they were young and the theme that the kids reading the book might be the kids who will one day become president sounds like it makes for a fascinating book! Thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The synopsis got me interested in this title and your words won me over. There are so many stories of presidential life that one for kids just may plant the seed of interest for a future career in politics. Thanks for featuring this unique book on MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a great book because it gets kids to dream. It would be great for school or home schooling. Thanks for sharing it!


  6. I’m glad to see books about this subject. Children should dream big. I also hope that we can bring back more respect to the office. I see one of the President’s most significant roles is to unite the nation in times of crisis and be someone we can look up in terms of the way he/she interacts with others. Hopefully, we give a woman that opportunity shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for your review. I also read this book, but didn’t much care for it, and I usually like Kate Messner’s work. After reading your review, I think I’ll take another look at it (maybe I was just in a bad presidential mood about something when I first read it).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This sounds excellent. Adding it to my list. I love the way the story is presented and mentioning about the future presidents out there doing their thing right now. Kids will love that. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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