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Celebrating Presidents’ Day

February 07, 2014

Presidents’ Day was established as a federal holiday by an act of Congress in 1879–though, back then, the holiday was called George Washington’s Birthday! Originally celebrated on Washington’s birthday, February 22nd, celebrations shifted to the third Monday in February when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, placing the date between the 15th and 21st. Fun fact: because of that, the holiday never occurs on Washington’s actual birthday (the 11th in the Old Style calendar and the 22nd in the New Style). This is especially ironic because, if you’re going to be technical about it, the day is still legally dubbed Washington’s Birthday. The term “Presidents’ Day” was created by advertisers in the 1980s, taking advantage of the fact that President Lincoln’s birthday also fell within the month.

There’s no standard name for the holiday, as different states celebrate the holiday with different names… but there’s still plenty of fun to be had in introducing your students to the remarkable men who have held the office of President of the United States of America!

George Washington

George Washington’s Birthday by Margaret McNamara; illustrated by Barry Blitt

Meet George Washington (Landmark Books series) by Joan Heilbroner

George Washington and the General’s Dog by Frank Murphy; illustrated by Richard Walz


Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson’s Feast by Frank Murphy; illustrated by Richard Walz

Meet Thomas Jefferson (Landmark Books series) by Marvin Barrett; Pat Fogarty

Jefferson’s Children by Shannon Lanier and Jane Feldman; photographs by Jane Feldman

Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher by Jon Meacham (coming soon!)


Abraham Lincoln

Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by John Hendrix

Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner; illustrated by Donald Cook

Meet Abraham Lincoln (Landmark Books series) by Barbara Cary

Abe Lincoln at Last! (Magic Tree House #47) by Mary Pope Osborne; illustrated by Sal Murdocca

Abraham Lincoln (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #25) by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce; illustrated by Sal Murdocca

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary by Candace Fleming (Educator Guide)


Franklin D. Roosevelt

A Boy Named FDR by Kathlee Krull; illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Alphabet Soup by Tonya Bolden




Multiple Presidents

George, Thomas, and Abe by Frank Murphy, Martha Brenner; illustrated by Richard Walz, Donald Cook

The Look-It-Up Book of Presidents by Wyatt Blassingame


Presidency-Related Titles

As If Being 12 3/4 Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President! by Donna Gephart

A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by C. Coco De Young

Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama