Congress
 

The Capitol Building. Janet Piehl. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2010. Grades K-2.

A picture book with simple text that introduces young readers to the U.S. Capitol building. The book shows and describes what the Capitol is, the history of the design and construction of the Capitol, and what visitors see when they come to the Capitol. Includes a map of Washington, D.C., a list of fun facts (such as how many rooms there are in the Capitol), a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.

Cappy Tail's Capitol Tales. Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes. Alexandria, VA: VSP Books, 2010. Grades K-4.

Cappy Tail the talking squirrel takes readers on a tour of the U.S. Capitol, showing off such rooms as the Old Supreme Court Chamber, the Brumidi Corridors, and the new Capitol Visitor Center. The book features beautiful drawings and special sections that provide historical and factual highlights of rooms in the Capitol.

The Congress. Richard B. Bernstein and Jerome Agel. New York: Walker and Company, 1989. Young adults.

Sketches the history of Congress from its roots in the colonial and Revolutionary periods to the present day. Focuses on the place of Congress in our constitutional system and describes the three major functions and responsibilities of Congress: to make laws (legislate); to discuss major national issues (debate); and to investigate national problems, the workings of government, and the need for new laws.

Congress for Kids.
http://congressforkids.net/index.htmDirksen Congressional Center.

Geared for grades 4-12, this interactive site provides a tour of the federal government, covering the three branches of government, democracy, the Constitution, and elections.

The Congress of the United States: A Student Companion, 3rd ed. Donald A. Ritchie. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Young adults.

An encyclopedia-style resource that explains terms related to Congress, with articles focusing on key concepts, personalities, and events. The topics covered include congressional leadership, Congress' relationship with the president, elections and succession, notable legislation, Capitol buildings, and traditions. Includes handy lists throughout the book, such as the majority leaders of the House and Senate, members of Congress who were expelled, and the longest-serving members of Congress.

House Mouse, Senate Mouse. Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes. Alexandria, VA: VSP Books, 1996. Grades K-4.

Explains how our laws are made--in this case, a law establishing a national cheese. Describes researching and drafting a bill, committee hearings and markup, floor action, and presidential action, and covers the idea of compromise.

The House of Representatives. Bruce A. Ragsdale. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1989. Young adults.

Surveys the history of the House and discusses the modern House; profiles notable Speakers of the House, such as Henry Clay and Tip O'Neill; describes the importance of committees; and explains how a bill becomes a law. Includes a glossary and lots of photos.

The House of Representatives. Rachel A. Koestler-Grack. New York: Chelsea House, 2007. Grades 5-8.

The beginning of this book discusses the history of the House of Representatives to explain the nature of congressional work today. The book then details how the House and its committee system operate and how a bill becomes a law. Contains a glossary, bibliography, and index.

How a Bill Becomes a Law. John Hamilton. Edina, MN: ABDO Publishing, 2005. Grades 3-5.

A very basic explanation of the legislative process, geared for grade school students. Includes a graphic showing how a bill becomes a law, a glossary, and interesting photos.

How a Law Is Passed. Bill Scheppler. New York: Chelsea House, 2007. Grades 5-8.

The book's first chapter, "There Oughta Be a Law," provides an overview of how a law requiring a new section on the Internet for kids only was passed by Congress. The book then gets into more procedural detail on how a bill becomes law by covering how Congress is organized, the introduction of legislation, the consideration of bills by congressional committees, action by the House and the Senate, and presidential action. Contains a glossary, bibliography, and index.

I'm Just a Bill! Kansas City, MO: Andrew McMeel Publishing, 1997. Grades K-12.

Contains the words to the Saturday morning "Schoolhouse Rocks" cartoon.

My Senator and Me. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Splash. New York: Scholastic Press, 2006. Grades 3-6.

We follow Senator Kennedy and his dog Splash through a busy day in Washington, D.C., from press conferences to meeting with school groups to committee discussions to a floor vote.

The Senate. Janet Anderson. New York: Chelsea House, 2007. Grades 5-8.

The first three chapters examine the constitutional origins of the Senate to give readers an understanding of the nature of the Senate today. The book then describes who may be a senator, what senators do, constituent services, Senate officers and staff, and how a bill becomes a law. Contains a glossary, bibliography, and index.

The Senate. Donald A. Ritchie. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988. Young adults.

Surveys the history of the Senate and discusses the modern Senate; profiles the Senate's great orators, such as Daniel Webster, and other notable personalities, such as Lyndon Johnson; describes the Senate's relationship with the House; and explains how a bill becomes a law. Includes a glossary and lots of photographs.

The United States Capitol. Jennifer Silate. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2006. Grades 3-6.

Covers the history of the design and building of the U.S. Capitol from its initial construction and the rebuilding after the burning of the Capitol, and discusses how the Capitol has been modernized over the years. Includes a timeline, a glossary, and index.

U.S. House of Representatives
Kids in the House Web Site: http://kids.clerk.house.gov/

This web site presents information for younger learners, grade school students, middle school students, and high schoolers. It contains many interactive features describing important people, events, and works of art in the House; how a bill becomes a law; and frequently asked questions about the House.

U.S. Senate
http://www.senate.gov

Provides links to institutional, biographical, and statistical information on the U.S. Senate.There is an online version of the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, which provides biographical and bibliographical information for all Senate and House members; information on the Senate's institutional development, powers and procedures, leadership, and officers and staff; statistical information covering many aspects of Senate history; and historical photographs.

What a Senator Does. Roy Hoopes. New York: John Day Company, 1970. Young adults.

Explains how the Senate works by profiling a day-in-the-life of seven senators. This book is dated but still useful, and the more than 150 photographs are very interesting. Other day-in-the-life-of-a-senator books for children and young adults include: I Want to Know about the United States Senate by Senator Charles Percy (1976); Senator: In the Company of Connie Mack, U.S. Senator from Florida by Richard Sobol (1995); and Senator: A Profile of Bill Bradley in the U.S. Senate by William Jaspersohn (1992).

The Children's Books and Web Sites bibliography lists more kid-friendly literature about the U.S. government.