“Red” voters, “blue” voters, undecided voters, here’s one thing we can all agree upon: Grace for President written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham wins for Most Fun Picture Book for Early Elementary Students to Explain How the Voting Process Works.
This book gets my vote for so many reasons:
1. When Grace’s teacher shows a poster of all the past American presidents, Grace asks the question so many of us have wondered over the years, “Where are the girls?” Grace decides to “be the change” and run for president. Her teacher encourages her by holding a school election. Hooray for encouraging participation in the democratic process!
2. The language is not watered down, even though this book is aimed at early elementary students. We still learn about electoral votes, representatives, constituents, polls, and rallies, all in ways that make sense to kids. The author’s note at the end gives more information about the Electoral College and how it works. Woohoo for working important information into an entertaining story, and for helping us teach the Craft and Structure Common Core State Standard!
3. Grace runs against a boy, Thomas. Nice kid, but when he calculates the electoral votes and sees that the boys hold more votes than the girls, he assumes the race is his. Thomas doesn’t do much campaigning while Grace goes all out. I love that “even before the election, Grace made good on her promises.” (Don’t you wish all candidates were like Grace?) In the end, a boy casts his votes for Grace because he thinks she is the best person for the job, and Grace wins because of her hard effort, not because of her gender. Yay for focusing on what really matters! (Discuss with your class all the things Grace did to win the election and you’ll be working in the CCSS of Key Ideas and Details, too!)
4. LeUyen Pham’s illustrations include kids from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Woohoo for celebrating the diversity of our nation!
After you share Grace for President with your students, you might find one or more of them become inspired to run for office. Consider creating a position (President of the Week, Commander in Chief of the Line, etc.) for which your students can campaign and run. Talk about voting based on credentials vs. popularity. Students can create posters, give speeches, and cast ballots. If you’d rather not have student elections, consider casting votes in other kinds of elections. Our library is encouraging students to Vote for Books and we used SurveyGizmo to build an online poll (check out our candidates here: orionlibrary.org).
If the talk turns to our current presidential race, TimeforKids online magazine is a fantastic resource for nonpartisan information. In fact, I prefer to get my news on the candidates from places like TimeforKids rather than many adult-targeted news sources because there’s no mudslinging! Now that deserves a huge woohoo!