Exploring Our Nation's Capital

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Exploring Our Nation's Capital

Washington, D.C. For Young Readers

Welcome to Washington, D.C. little ones--where there are monuments, museums, legislators and history everywhere you look. Whether you’re born and raised here or move here from near or far, there’s so much to learn about this city we call home. The library is a great place to start! Check out these ten books for young readers (babies, toddlers and elementary school ages) about our nation’s capital. 

Curious about the White House by Kate Waters
This fact-filled book from the Smithsonian introduces young readers--especially early elementary school students--to the White House. From its history and construction to famous residents and modern happenings, this book is a great introduction for local residents and visitors who may have a tour scheduled! Plus, there’s a lot of vocabulary throughout and a glossy. 

The ABCs of Washington, DC by Lisa Hall and Golzar Kheiltash
This board book helps connect young readers to our nation’s capital and to the letters of the alphabet by tying each letter to an aspect of Washington, D.C. From Air Force One to Georgetown to Row Houses and Senators, this book is a fun read for babies and toddlers to get the city around them coming to life in their minds. 

Larry Gets Lost in Washington, DC! By John Skewes
This fun, adventurous romp around D.C. is led by Larry the Dog, who goes on an adventure through parks, monuments, libraries, museums and more to be ruined with his beloved owner, Pete. This is an information-packed book great for taking around town on a tour with you. 

All aboard! Washington D.C. by Kevin & Haily Meyers
This beautifully illustrated board book takes readers on a train ride through D.C. from the National Mall to the halls of Congress to the National Zoo as it encourages readers to do certain actions like “swoon” and “honor” and look” and “say hello.” 

District of Columbia: The Nation's Capital by Marica Amidon Lusted
This fact-filled historical look at the key moments in D.C. history is great for emerging readers, usually in early elementary school, who want to practice their comprehension and vocabulary skills with a local connection. This book covers the history of D.C. --from the Native land to the Cherry Blossoms and the famous residents and workers who live here. While it’s a bit more verbose than your average picture book, it’s ideal for emerging readers who want to feel more challenged. 

A is for Anacostia by Dr. Courtney Davis 
This community-based, lushly illustrated picture book walks young readers through the alphabet as they explore Anacostia in Washington, D.C. and surrounding neighborhoods. From the big chair to the library and the museum,  this book is a must-read for young D.C. residents eager to explore the city and make connections between home and community. 

Washington, D.C.: Our Nation's Capital from A-Z by Alan Schroeder
This beautifully illustrated book invites readers to explore D.C. on a deeper level than some of the early books about D.C. they might have been exposed to. Each letter of the alphabet introduces a few facets of D.C. for them to learn a bit about before moving on to the next. For example, the letter K discusses King (MLK Jr and the March on Washington), Knickerbocker (the 1922 snowstorm), and Kitchen (the White House underground kitchens). This includes the highlights--monuments, etc--but also explores a bit more. 

N is for our Nation's Capital: a Washington, D.C. Alphabet by Marie and Roland Smith
This more in-depth picture book is ideal for older readers--late elementary and middle school--who are interested in learning about the history of D.C., important figures, and well-known and lesser-known landmarks. From the Powhatan people that once lived here to Sandra Day O’Connor, Kahil Gibran, and the X-1 plane, this books’ main lines rhyme while there are also longer contextual pieces of prose to explain the background of each letter’s item or person. This could be a great book to read with a mixed-age group. 

Who's haunting the White House? : the president's mansion and the ghosts who live there by Jeff Belanger
Perfect for older readers who have seen all the monuments and the museums but want some more bulk to their reading, introduce them to this book about the White House, the tragedies that have struck it, and the ghosts that are purported to haunt it. This is an ideal read for an adult and child to do together, talking about history about exploring moments of tragedy and fright through a local lens. 

First Garden: the White House garden and how it grew by Robbin Gourley
Take a deeper look at one fascinating aspect of D.C.’s history in this book about the White House gardens--how they’ve changed over the years, events they’ve hosted, plants they’ve grown, and more. From John Adams’ first days there to Michelle Obama’s decision to grow healthy foods there, this book stretches centuries with easy to grasp illustrations, this book introduces history alongside gardening and healthy eating.