Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kid Konnection: Election Day Books

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you four fantastic picture books that are perfect for educating children about the the upcoming presidential election.

Summary: On November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony made history--and broke the law--when she voted in the US presidential election, a privilege that had been reserved for men. She was arrested, tried, and found guilty: "The greatest outrage History ever witnessed," she wrote in her journal. It wasn't until 1920 that women were granted the right to vote, but the civil rights victory would not have been possible without Susan B. Anthony's leadership and passion to stand up for what was right. -- Albert Whitman

HEART ON FIRE: SUSAN B. ANTHONY VOTES FOR PRESIDENT by Ann Malaspina and illustrated by Steve James is a wonderful picture book that is geared towards children ages 6-9. It is a gorgeously illustrated biography of Susan B. Anthony and her plight to give women the right to vote.

HEART ON FIRE is an outstanding educational tool for homes and classrooms. At the beginning of the book, the Fourteenth and Nineteenth Amendments are printed; and then the actual illustrated story of Susan B. Anthony's historical movement begins. I liked that the author chose to include dated headings to give kids an idea of the time frame as well as real quotations from Ms. Anthony including snippets from her journal entries and letters.

The book delves into details about Ms. Anthony's thoughts and actions. It even explains that Ms. Anthony believed that the Fourteenth Amendment gave her the right to vote, and that she was willing to be arrested to make her point. (Of course, she didn't really think it would come to that!) The book also details her travels across the country and her various speeches; and it covers her court case too. The book ends with additional information about Ms. Anthony's life and what happened to her plight even after she died.

I would have loved this book as a kid and I actually wish I had had it way back then. I remember getting my first Susan B. Anthony dollar and being fascinated by her life story. I also remember writing at least on report on her for a school project. Ms. Anthony's story is nothing less than inspiring, and she is definitely a national hero. I love that HEART ON FIRE gives children an introduction into her story as well as a brief explanation of how women gained the right to vote.

Terrific source of information on Susan B. Anthony and the path to women's right to vote!

Summary: The school gym is a polling place, and Bailey, Ren, David, Meg, Aiden, and Isabella know all about Election Day and voting! Bailey helped her Aunt Julia run for a seat on the city council. Aiden goes with his grandpa to vote. David's brother Jake will be voting for the first time. Meg talks about how years ago, some citizens were not permitted to vote. A perfect picture book for future voters of America, Today on Election Day will simultaneously entertain and educate. -- Albert Whitman

TODAY ON ELECTION DAY by Catherine Stier and illustrated by David Leonard is a very fun way to teach children about Election Day and voting. As you can see from the front cover, the illustrations are whimsical and extremely interesting to look at; however, it's the content of this book that makes it so special.

The book begins with a brief summary of Election Day and the various elections that can be held on this day. It teaches children that there are elections at different levels of government as well as when they will be able to vote. There is also a description of the Constitution and the three amendments defining who has the right to vote. I think this page might be geared towards an older crowd than the rest of the book, but I love that the author and publisher decided to include it.

The rest of TODAY ON ELECTION DAY is probably geared towards kids ages 5-9, and I liked how it showed Election Day in a way that that will appeal to them. TODAY ON ELECTION DAY makes this process relevant to them despite being years away from actual voting age. Not only does it describe what we do on this very important day, but it mentions how kids can see their schools transformed into polling places and how they can watch the adults in their life cast their ballots.

I appreciated TODAY ON ELECTION DAY because it was a very fun way to introduce the election process to children. The book goes into some history including the voting rules that didn't allow women or blacks to vote and even describes how individuals fought for this right. It also explains that there were eventually amendments to the Constitution and that everyone regardless of gender, race, or wealth can now vote.

I think elementary school teachers will absolutely love TODAY ON ELECTION DAY, and I think it should be part of every classroom! Definitely recommended.

Summary: Imagine starring in commercials and traveling in your own campaign bus! Or seeing your face on bumper stickers and T-shirts!

If you ran for president, you would get to do these and other fun things, but you would also have to do a lot of hard work. You would study the nation’s problems, tell the American people about your platform, select a running mate, and debate your opponents on live television. Finally, in November, Election Day would arrive. You would keep your fingers crossed and wait for the results—will you be the next president of the United States?

A multicultural cast of children imagines what it would be like to run for president. The entertaining yet informative text is a good conversation starter for discussions on the election process. A note about this process accompanies the story. The author, Catherine Stier, is no stranger to politics—her previous book, If I Were President, looked at the various responsibilities of the president. Lynne Avril’s cheerful illustrations perfectly complement the lively text. -- Albert Whitman

IF I RAN FOR PRESIDENT by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Lynne Avril is another great book for home and the classroom. This cute picture book teaches children about the entire election process, and is absolutely perfect for this time of year.

Children (and adults) might be tempted to skip the first page of the book because there is a lot of text, and it isn't as "fun" as the rest of the story. However, that would be a mistake since this page actually teaches kids about the the rules regarding who can run for president along with a great summary of our election process. It goes briefly into when elections take place, but it also gives a great description of the electoral college. I actually think some adults could benefit from this summary!

The remainder of IF I RAN FOR PRESIDENT shows a variety of multicultural children dreaming about all of the great things they could do if they ran for president. Some of these ideas include declaring your candidacy (after answering "yes" to a variety of questions, working with their political party, attending conventions, debating their opponent, touring the entire United States, and voting for themselves! On each of these fun pages, there are educational facts thrown in about various laws as well as the descriptions of each event.

I adore IF I RAN FOR PRESIDENT and I think it's a fantastic way to introduce the entire election process to children. Highly recommended!

Summary: A multicultural cast of children imagines what is would be like to be president. -- Albert Whitman

IF I WERE PRESIDENT by Catherine Stier and illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan is a companion books to IF I RAN FOR PRESIDENT. It is definitely aimed at a young audience -- most likely five to eight years olds, and it gives brief descriptions of the many duties of the President of the United States.

Prior to the meat of the book, the author provides a summary of what it means to be the president. There is some great information included in this section like how we pick a president and the criteria for the job as well as a basic idea about the three branches of government. In addition, this section mentions some of the president's major responsibilities including making laws and leading the armed forces.

IF I WERE PRESIDENT then begins describing all of the different things children would do if they were one day the President of the United States. Some of the ideas include being sworn in, moving into the White House, working in the Oval Office, giving the State of the Union, comforting families during times of loss, throwing out the first pitch of the baseball season, and even lighting the nation's Christmas tree. There are also wonderful full color illustrations that complement each page.

I thoroughly enjoyed IF I WERE PRESIDENT. I appreciate that it gives children a brief idea of what being the president involves, but it also includes some of the fun parts of the job. I especially like that it shows a multicultural children serving in this very important job. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing review copies of these books. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love Albert Whitman's educational (and fun) picture books!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

These look great! My kids have had tons of questions about the election and voting so I think they'd like these books.

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh, those books look fantastic! Not only are they educational, it looks like they're beautiful too.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Great timely post! Mine is actually a little late, since, while it is for Muslim-American Heritage Month, which is now, it is about Ramadan, which is over for this year! But I still recommend it - it's very informative with cute drawings!

Beth F said...

Great collection of books for this month.