When George Washington became the first president of the United States, nine future presidents were already alive in America, doing things like practicing law or studying medicine.
When JFK became the thirty-fifth president, ten future presidents were already alive in America, doing things like hosting TV shows and learning the saxophone.
And right now – today! – there are at least ten future presidents alive in America. They could be playing basketball, like Barack Obama, or helping in the garden, like Dwight D. Eisenhower. They could be solving math problems or reading books. They could be making art—or already making changes.
I have never read a book with this kind of setup before. Like most president books, interesting facts about each president are included, although some have more written about them than others. This book uses a timeline to explore what the presidents to come were doing when the current president was being sworn into office. For example, in 1789, at the time of Washington’s inauguration, Martin Van Buren, who would become the 8th president, was only seven years old. You might need to flip back and forth between pages to keep the dates and the presidents straight.
The illustrations are fantastic. It’s incredible how Adam Rex, the illustrator, was able to fit six presidential pictures and the words on two pages.
Before Barack Obama, one of the main things all the presidents had in common was that they are/were all old white men. Now the main thing all the presidents have in common is that they were odd in their own way, mainly for wanting to be president in the first place.
As you read this book, you’ll notice how different being president was in the past than it is today. For one thing, thanks to technology, nothing is a secret, and everyone knows everyone else’s business. It makes me wonder what being the president will be like in fifty years.
Sidenote: This book was written before Joe Biden became president. He would have been nineteen during John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.