Friday, October 22, 2004

Elections & Democracy

With the election just over a week away, the Children's Book Council has a comprehensive list of children's books about the presidency, democracy and elections. There are excellent titles for very young children through high school.

If the Walls could Talk by Jane O'Conner, 2004 is an entertaining look at the presidency and historic events that occured at the White House. Children are intrigued by the charicatures of the U.S. presidents. The Caldecott winner, So You Want to be President? by Judith St. George and illustrated by David Small has been revised and updated this year.

My very favorite book on the topic of elections this year has to be Duck for President! by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, 2004. A teacher friend of mine wondered if this book was for children or grown-ups so I know it is a perfect book. I read it to a group of 8th graders recently and they were drawn-in to the story in spite of themselves. Running a farm is hard work so Farmer Brown (from Click Clack Moo Cows that Type and Giggle, Giggle, Quack) assigns chores to all the animals. Duck tires of his daily grind and decides he could do a better job of running things so he runs for "farmer."
"VOTE DUCK! For a Kinder, Gentler Farm!" Hmm...being a farmer is hard work too, so why not try for governor or president? Vote recounts and playing the saxophone on late night television are just some of the topical references that make the story work on many levels. Lewin's illustrations give the whole story an additional hilarious edge.

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