Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: My Senator and Me

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Do you know how a bill is made into a law in our country? In My Senator and Me: A Dog’s Eye-View of Washington, D.C. we are shown a day in the life of a senator. For an extra little twist though, the story is told by Senator Edward Kennedy’s dog, Splash, who accompanies Senator Edward Kennedy to work in the Capitol every day. After a brief introduction about himself and his becoming the Kennedy’s dog, the rest of the story goes into a day of accompanying Senator Edward Kennedy to work. On this particular day, Massachusetts’s senator is in the process of passing his bill concerning education. First he must meet with his staff at the Senate Office Building, then head over to a press conference at the Capitol. After which there is a short break for a relaxing game of fetch with Splash. Then it’s back to work, off to a conference committee meeting, but only after stopping for a quick photo with a class. Finally it’s off to the Senate reception room where the senator will cast his vote and then announce the passing of the bill on T.V. before heading home for the day.

This is a great story to give students an idea of what our senators do for us in the government. Senator Kennedy took the opportunity to present a few of the monuments of Washington D.C. within the story as well. While mentioning these important monuments he also makes sure to tell a little of its history, such as:

…the Kennedy Center, where people go to hear music, see plays, and watch the ballet. It was named for my Senator’s brother, John F. Kennedy, who was the thirty-fifth President of the United States and a great supporter of the arts…the Lincoln Memorial, where millions of people from all over the world go to remember Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President, who led our country during the Civil War…

Filled with wonderful pictures on every page and a fun story line from a dog’s point of view, My Senator and Me is a great story to read to kids for both entertainment and information of how a part of our government system works.

Curriculum Connections
This book can be used to teach students about a branch of our government, which pertains to SOL 3.10 for Virginia teachers. It is a great source to teach students about senators and how bills are passed, two very important parts to our government system.

Additional Resources

  • Take an interactive tour of the Capital after reading about it with your students.
  • Show your students pictures from all over our nation’s capital, Washington D.C.

Book: My Senator and Me: A Dog’s-Eye View of Washington, D. C.
Author: Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Illustrator: David Small
Publisher:Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 56 pages
Grades: 1-5
ISBN: 0439650771