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When Penny Met POTUS
When Penny Met POTUS
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Award Winners Reviewed Titles

When Penny Met POTUS

by Rachel Ruiz
Illustrated by Melissa Manwill

From debut author Rachel Ruiz, When Penny Met POTUS is a unique and clever picture book about a young girl whose mother works for the president of the United States. Penny has heard the term POTUS over and over but doesn't know what it means—and her imagination runs wild! When she spends a day at the office with her mother, she asks a few questions, looks around, and tries to discover just who—or what— POTUS is.

PublisherCapstone Young Readers
Age Level4-9 Years
Reading LevelGrades 2-3
GenreRealistic Fiction
Trim Size9 x 11
Page Count32



Publishers Weekly

"Younger readers…[will] be entertained by Penny’s POTUS fantasies and the bright-eyed energy of newcomer Manwill’s animation-style drawings." - Publishers Weekly

April 25, 2016

Kirkus Reviews

"A common political acronym is decoded when a young girl accompanies her mother to her White House job and meets the mysterious "POTUS.". . .Illustrations feature big, expressive faces and give the White House an institutionally friendly vibe as well as a sizable, diverse staff to make it run smoothly. . . . As a sweet, simple miniexplainer of a very specific bit of jargon, it works, and the election-year timing couldn't be better." - Kirkus Reviews

May 15, 2016


Imagination Soup - Melissa Taylor

"Penny doesn’t know what POTUS means — she tries to figure it out while she’s with her mother at work." - Imagination Soup

August 3, 2016

Chicago Tribune

"...this is a great time to teach little ones a few basic civic lessons. Chicago author Rachel Ruiz is ready to help: She channeled her experience working on President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign into her debut book. Written for early-grade readers (with illustrations by Melissa Manwill), the story explains the mystery of that strange word in the title." - Chicago Tribune

October 14, 2016


A Mighty Girl - Katherine

"Kids and adults alike will enjoy this playful book full of humor and fun, and parents will particularly like the empowering message that great heights are possible if you work hard." - A Mighty Girl

February 20, 2017

A Mighty Girl

"A smartly written, beautifully illustrated picture book about a young girl whose mother works for a boss named POTUS. . . .Rachel Ruiz delivers a perfect picture book to get your family talking about the president this election season. Heartwarming and empowering at the same time, this presidential book will teach our kids no dream is too big to dream!" - A Mighty Girl

October 1, 2016


Booklist - Stephanie Seales

"Manwill’s colorful Disney-style art is dynamic, familiar, and appealing. Ruiz assumes, probably correctly, that young readers aren’t familiar with the POTUS acronym, though it’s a bit of a stretch that Penny wouldn’t know her mom’s boss. However, the humor, imagination, and art more than make up for that, and the fact that Penny’s surprise isn’t about the president being a woman is a sly and winning detail." - Booklist

June 1, 2016

The Library Voice blog - Shannon McClintock Miller

"Rachel Ruiz takes readers on a fun trip with Penny to the White House to discover this mysterious creature. . . .Melissa Manwill did an amazing job bringing Penny, POTUS and the White House to life in her beautiful and engaging illustrations. . . .I loved following Penny on her adventure of discovery and friendship. Every reader will love this one too!" - The Library Voice blog

July 1, 2016



Indie Bound and American Booksellers Association

Summer 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List

April 1, 2016

Rachel Ruiz

Rachel Ruiz

Rachel Ruiz is the author of several children’s books. She was inspired to write her first picture book, When Penny met POTUS, after working for Barack Obama on his re-election campaign in 2012.   When Rachel isn’t writing books, she writes and produces TV shows and documentaries. She lives in her hometown of Chicago with her husband and their daughter.

Go to the Author’s Page →