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How to teach your child about politics

Never has politics been so important in the world and so much in the news as today. But how much of what goes on do we really understand? Inspire your future voter with these expert tips - and some great reading resources for children of all ages

How many did your child (and you!) get right?

1. Boris Johnson. He lives at No. 10 Downing Street.

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2. Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party.

3. Caroline Lucas, MP

4. 650 in total –  650 male MPs and 220 female MPs.

5. Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon. Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP

6. Order, order!

7. Elizabeth Tower – the bell that strikes the hour is Big Ben.

8. The Monarch.

9. Oliver Cromwell

10. King Charles I in 1649.

>> Parliament Week takes place in November each year. Find out more atn www.parliamentweek.org

Valerie Vaz is a British Labour Party politician and solicitor serving as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons in the Shadow Cabinets of Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer since 2016, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Walsall South since 2010.

The 8 Best Books for helping Children understand Politics

Politics for Beginners by Louie Stowell, Alex Frith and Rosie Hore, illustrated by Kellan Stover (Usborne)

This book answers those questions that people are afraid to ask – offering a no-nonsense guide to what politics is all about for a young reader. Topics covered include political systems, elections, voting and government and issues including feminism, human rights, freedom of speech and fake news, all explained with clear text and bright, infographics style illustrations. Ideal for ages: 8-11 years 

World Politics in 100 Words: Start conversations and spark inspiration (In a Nutshell) by Eleanor Levenson and illustrated by Paul Boston (Words & Pictures)

From activist to wealth, each of the carefully chosen 100 words in this book has its own 100-word long description and beautiful illustration, providing a thoughtful, unbiased introduction to key political terms and ideas to help the young (and not so young) get to grips with the subject. Basically, everything you need to know in a nut shell. Ideal for ages: 9-12 years 

Dr. Seuss’s Every Voice Counts!: Make Yourself Heard! by Dr Seuss (Penguin Random House)

Encourage someone to speak up for their beliefs with this small, hardcover giftbook featuring art by Dr. Seuss. The unrhymed text gently reminds readers of all ages that every voice counts, and that many voices combined together have the power to create change. It’s the perfect small gift for encouraging an interest in advocacy, government, teaching, environmentalism or just standing up for what you think is right. Ideal for ages 7-9 years

Baby Loves Political Science: Democracy! by Ruth Spiro and illustrated by Greg Paprocki (Imagine Publishing)

Baby learns what it means to participate in a democracy where everyone has a voice in electing our leaders. There are many ways for all of us, including the youngest children, to participate–such as making signs and sending postcards, campaigning, attending rallies, and of course getting out the vote! Ideal for ages: 8-12 years 

What Is Politics? Why Should we Care? And Other Big Questions by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young (Wayland) 

What if there were no politics? What would that look like? What does it mean to be political or non-political and what effect do each of these positions have? A highly topical look at how politics affects everyone in society with contributions from a range of writers, who, along with the authors, discuss how their ideas of what politics is and can do have been shaped by their life experiences. Young readers are encouraged to think for themselves about the issues discussed and decide how or whether they would like to take part in politics at some level. Ideal for ages: 9-13 years 

The Accidental Prime Minister by Tom McLaughlin (OUP Oxford)

When Joe tells a local news reporter exactly what he would do if he were leader of the country, the video goes viral and Joe’s speech becomes famous all over the world! And, then the story of how an ordinary boy ended up with the most extraordinary job and Joes’ meteoric rise to power! Now the fun really begins… Ideal for ages 6-11 years

All About Politics: How Governments Make the World Go Round by DK, foreword by  Andrew Marr (DK)

All the political structures and ideas are covered in this book, from ancient Greek philosophy to modern governments. With a low-down on all the key terms kids can discover the difference between democracy, monarchy and dictatorship (and also see which countries are governed by which system), what it means to be “right” or “left” and what happens behind the scenes in parliament. There is also sections about how you can get involved, covering local politics, voting, debating, and human rights – enabling everyone to join the debate and get their voice heard. Ideal for ages: 9-12 years 

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Go Vote, Baby! by Nancy Lambert and illustrated by Anne Passchier (Festival)

You’re never too young to learn to vote. Toddlers will love casting their vote as they “slide-and-vote” in everyday situations like striped or polka dot socks in the morning, vanilla or chocolate ice cream at snack time, and many more exciting choices throughout the day.This fun, sturdy novelty board book has 13 sliding doors and is a great way to introduce the very young to the concepts behind voting and making choices –  despite how ordinary or tiny the decision may seem! Ideal for ages baby-4 years