100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

How Mad Will Donald Trump Be About The Books He’s Inspired?

I don’t like talking politics on this blog much. A) Because those sorts of discussions lead to endless debate, and I like my debate to have an end, and B) Because I worry about you if you’re expecting cogent political commentary from the guy who thinks about applying the twist ending of Planet of the Apes to books for 3-8 year olds.

But I’ve been seeing something in the children’s literature world lately that’s worth noting. Something that stems from politics.

There are a slew of recently published (and upcoming) children’s books that I’m not sure would have existed had our current president not been elected. So I thought we’d take a look at them.

And then yesterday, after President Trump negatively criticized Hillary Clinton’s book What Happened, Clinton responded with this:

Children’s literature and politics collide, folks.

So I’ve rated each of the following books on a 1-10 scale based on how mad they would make President Trump if he read them. 1 is crickets, 10 is tweet storm.

We Say No

We Say No! A Child’s Guide to Resistance by John Seven, illustrated by Jana Christy (October 17)

How Mad Will Trump Be? 9

This one lives up to its title – full-on resistance.

She Persisted

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (May 30)

How Mad Will Trump Be? 1

This was the first Trump-era inspired book out of the gate – inspired Mitch McConnell’s response to Elizabeth Warren’s objection to the confirmation of the U.S. Attorney General. Aside from the ripped from the headlines title, the book is more focused on the achievements of women featured than politics.

The Pink Hat

The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner (December 26)

How Mad Will Trump Be? 4

Inspired by the 2017 Women’s March, which is being called the largest single day protest in U.S. history. It falls a little higher on the anger-o-meter due to the fact that the march happened the day after inauguration.

This is Our Constitution

This is Our Constitution by Khizr Khan (October 24)

How Mad Will Trump Be? 7

Khan made news at last summer’s Democratic National Convention for calling out Trump during his speech. This book reaches a 7 because we know the president is not a fan.

The Little Book of Little Activists

The Little Book of Little Activists by various (September 26)

How Mad Will Trump Be? 2

This reminds me of a sort of Pantsuit Nation for young readers. But unlike Pantsuit, I don’t see much controversy around this one. You know, hard to be mad at little kids, right? Heh.

Her Right Foot

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris (September 19)

How Mad Will Trump Be? 2

This one was actually already in the works pre-election, but its release was moved up considerably in response to the president’s positions on immigration. The book focuses on the history of Lady Liberty more than anything else, but the symbolism of the statue as a beacon for immigrants also features prominently.

Morris Wants More

Morris Wants More . . . For Christmas by Joshua Seigal, illustrated by Amélie Falière (October 10)

How Mad Will Trump Be? 10

Ok, this one’s just straight-up putting a Trump caricature in a book about greed. Total tweet storm if he sees this.

Did I miss any?

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Great list! Since you ask, Maya Gonzalez’s When a Bully Is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times / Cuando El Presidente es un Bulí: La Verdad y la Creatividad en Tiempos Opresivos, a bilingual book published in February 2017, offers suggestions on how to cope and to resist. I think it’s the first such children’s picture book published after November 8, 2016. From before the election, Michael Ian Black and Marc Rosenthal’s A Child’s First Book of Trump (2016) both is and is not a children’s book: it’s an adult satire in picture book format, but it also works as a Seussian parable (for children).

  2. There are quite a lot of satirical picture books intended for adults, but my kids recently read a picture book about a fish? who ran and won an election for all the wrong reasons and then was completely dismayed at the idea of doing work. He just threw tantrums instead. It was aimed at kids and was completely referential/hilarious/scary. And of course I can’t find it. I’ll have my mother check her library account, since she was the one who picked it out for them.