Every election season reminds us that it isn’t just the candidates running for office who are put in the media spotlight. The families come under scrutiny as well. And their lives will never be the same no matter what the outcome, especially those of the children and teens. I wrote WILDFIRE RUN because I wanted to tell an adventure story set at Camp David about a character who in ordinary circumstances would be an ordinary kid, but because his father is president, nothing is ordinary at all.
To explore what those lives might be like, Here’s a list of ten books about political kids, and below that, descriptions of each book. The first five are more middle grade, though most of them would be enjoyed by YA readers as well. The last five fit in the YA category.
FIRST DAUGHTER: WHITE HOUSE RULES by Mitali Perkins Young
THE KID WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT by Dan Gutman
WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE by Rebecca Behrens
THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
WILDFIRE RUN by Dee Garretson
CONFESSIONS OF A FIRST DAUGHTER by Cassidy Calloway
MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick
RED GIRL BLUE BOY by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT by Jean Marie Thorn
ZERO DAY by Jan Gangsei
In First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, Sameera showed the United States it was ready for a Pakistani-born First Daughter. With her brains and bravado, she helped her dad win the presidential election. Now she’s living in the White House. Fabulous! Right? Actually, it’s no fairy tale. The Secret Service and the paparazzi follow Sameera everywhere. She misses her friends—and even her school—back home. So Sameera decides to escape. Will she be able to pull it off, or will her plan backfire on the entire First Family?
“Hi! My name is Judson Moon. I’m 12 years old and I’m running for President of the YOU-nited States.”
So begins this fast-paced, funny, and surprising account of a boy’s run for the Oval Office in the year 2000. Under the tutelage of Lane, his brainy friend and self-appointed campaign manager, the affable sixth-grader from Madison, Wisconsin, takes on the Democrats and Republicans as a Third Party candidate who can make waves. “Grown-ups have had the last one thousand years to mess up the world,” Judd tells a reporter. “Now it’s our turn.”
Living in the White House is like being permanently grounded. Only with better security.
First Daughter Audrey Rhodes can’t wait for the party she has planned. The decorations are all set and the pizza is on its way. But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute, squashing Audrey’s chances for making any new friends. What good is having your own bowling alley if you don’t have anyone to play with?
Audrey is ready to give up and spend the next four years totally friendless–until she discovers Alice Roosevelt’s hidden diary. The former First Daughter’s outrageous antics give Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun…and get her into more trouble than she can handle.
ETHEL IS 10 YEARS OLD in 1901 when her family’s life changed forever. Suddenly, Father is not only a famous cowboy, war hero, and politician, but also President Theodore Roosevelt, leader of the United States—and Ethel has a new place to call home. The White House is older and stuffier than Ethel imagined, but there’s never a dull moment with her adventurous family around. Ethel would love to spend every day following Father on horseback rides and scrambles through neighboring Rock Creek Park.
Instead, Ethel has to stay at boarding school during the week, where nothing she does feels right and none of the girls seem to like her. Ethel’s parents keep telling her to keep her chin up and be patient, but it’s not easy being the president’s daughter. Ethel wishes she could be as courageous as father and make her family proud. When her fashionable older sister arrives home, Ethel feels new hope. Sister knows the secret of being brave and making friends, and she’s willing to share it. All Ethel needs to do is take one outrageous dare.
The president’s retreat, Camp David, is one of the safest places in the United States. So why can’t the President’s son, Luke, and his friends Theo and Callie stay there without Secret Service agents constantly hovering over them, watching their every move? And yet, when an earthquake sets off a raging wildfire, causing a chain reaction that wreaks havoc at Camp David, they are suddenly on their own.
Now Luke needs a plan:
To override the security systems
To save those who were supposed to save him
To get through an impassable gate
To escape Camp David
Morgan is so over being first daughter.
Morgan Abbott has no social life and no privacy, and her one major talent is screwing things up. Unfortunately for Morgan, every mistake makes front page headlines—because her mom is the president of the United States. To top it all off, she’s been assigned a brainiac secret service agent who’s barely older than she is and won’t let her out of his sight (never mind that he’s kind of cute). Torture!
But when her mom has to slip away on secret business and needs a decoy to cover for her, Morgan is the only one who can help. With a bit of makeup, a little ingenuity, and a lot of family resemblance, Morgan soon has everyone calling her “Madam President.” Can she pull it off? Or will she mess everything up . . . again?
“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed, daughter of a U.S. senator, wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
Sixteen-year-old Katie and Drew really shouldn’t get along. After all, her father is the Republican nominee for President of the United States while his mother is at the top of the Democratic ticket. But when Katie and Drew are thrown together in a joint interview on a morning talk show, they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. With an entire nation tuned into and taking sides in your parents’ fight, and the knowledge that–ultimately–someone has to lose, how can you fall in love with the one person you’re supposed to hate?
Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?
Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping of the decade. Addie vanished—and her high-profile parents were forced to move on. Mark Webster is now president of the United States, fighting to keep the oval office after a tumultuous first term. Then the unthinkable happens: the president’s daughter resurfaces. Addie is brought back into her family’s fold, but who is this sixteen-year-old girl with a quiet, burning intelligence now living in the White House? There are those in the president’s political circle who find her timely return suspicious. When a national security advisor approaches Darrow Fergusson, Addie’s childhood best friend and the son of the president’s chief of staff, he doesn’t know what to think. How could the girl he’s missed for all these years be a threat to national security? Still, at the risk of having his own secrets exposed, Darrow agrees to spy on Addie. He soon realizes that his old friend is much more than the traumatized victim of a sick political fringe group. Addie has come with a mission…but will she choose to complete it?