Grace for President

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Key Ideas and Details, Michigan Author, People Smart, Social Studies, Technology | 0 comments

“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:

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!

For more information, visit Kelly’s website at and LeUyen’s website at And remember to vote this November!

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Vote for Books!

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in Early Learning, Print Motivation, Technology | 0 comments

Ms Kristen Vote for “Pete the Cat” for Best Picture Book
by: Kris1556

At our library, we wanted to involve our kids in the voting process while promoting reading and integrating technology. So we created our own “Vote for Books” campaign.  Our librarians selected five candidates to run in each category: Best Picture Book, Best Chapter Book, and Best Middle School Book. Kids are coming on Oct. 20 and 27 to make campaign posters and campaign video ads. Our local television station ONTV will be here to film students talking about why others should vote for their candidates, or kids can make digital ads like the one shown above (made for free on the Xtranormal website). Campaign videos will run on our website and on our ONTV cable station.  Monday, Nov. 5 and Tuesday, Nov. 6 are our Election Days, and anyone can vote (no photo ID required!) for their favorite books. We used Survey Gizmo to put together our polls, so kids can cast their vote in our library or “absentee ballots” can be cast via our website.

It has been so fun to use technology this way to promote great books and to encourage civic engagement. If you’d like your students to get involved in the voting, please feel free to visit our library website: Look over our book choices and discuss them with your students – did we leave one of your favorites off of our list? Make posters or videos for your candidates (send us photos or links and we’ll include them on our website!) and encourage fact-based, polite debate.  Most importantly, exercise your right as Americans and vote on Monday, Nov. 5 and Tuesday, Nov. 6 for your candidates. For as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “”Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Can’t see the video clip above? Please visit: Campaign video for “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

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