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Who will our next President be?

February 13, 2020

Presidents' Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents' Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents' Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present, even though not all are worthy of celebrating.

Presidents' Day Celebrations and Traditions

Like Independence Day, Presidents' Day is traditionally viewed as a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance. In its original incarnation as Washington’s Birthday, the holiday gained special meaning during the difficulties of the Great Depression, when portraits of George Washington often graced the front pages of newspapers and magazines every February 22.

In 1932, the date was used to reinstate the Purple Heart, a military decoration originally created by George Washington to honor soldiers killed or wounded while serving in the armed forces. Patriotic groups and the Boy Scouts of America also held celebrations on the day, and in 1938 some 5,000 people attended mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in honor of Washington.

In its modern form, Presidents' Day is used by many patriotic and historical groups as a date for staging celebrations, reenactments and other events. A number of states also require that their public schools spend the days leading up to Presidents' Day teaching students about the accomplishments of the presidents, often with a focus on the lives of Washington and Lincoln.

Election Day is November 3, 2020

Soon, voters will choose our next president. To help kids understand what’s so important about Election Day and voting, I’ve written a new book called The Night Before Election Day. It’s bipartisan. I don’t show who won, the story just leads up to the results coming in. It’s a fun way to do a prediction activity in your classroom. Have kids guess who might be the next president and do a graph around that.

The Night Before Election Day sticker book won’t be released until June but you can pre-order a copy

Recommendations of more children's books about the election process by Debbie Dadey


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