Around This Time It Would Make Sense to Do an Election Day Post
Though, to be perfectly honest, Saturday’s post sort of covered all the bases there. Still and all, I wanted to do something in honor of the day. It’s tricky. I could do a post of links, like 100 Years of Women in Congress—12 Political Pioneers to Introduce to Kids or Vote Here: Books for Tweens About Elections or If Boys Could Vote. Or I could whip up a list of recent picture books about elections in all their myriad forms. But none of that seems special enough.
So I sat down with my husband and James Kennedy last night over ice cream to hash out the problem. James mentioned off-handedly the picture book Duck for President, which is a notable title partly because it’s so old it contained outdated Bill-Clinton-playing-the-saxophone references. I mentioned I liked that book and we got to talking about whether or not all these books for small children about elections are new or not. Are there older ones out there? Classic ones? Books like . . .
Wait. That’s not a book. That’s a music score. But surely SURELY there are older election titles out there. Books that weren’t published in the last 10 years or so.
Well, I found a couple. Actually I found a lot, but not that many with book jacket images online. In respect of the day, then, enjoy this smattering of older children’s books on the topic of elections:
Let’s Go to Vote by Agnes McCarthy (1962)
A red book from the 60s on voting by someone named McCarthy? Will wonders never cease? Also . . . is that policeman encouraging that girl to vote? Oh dearie dear.
Right On, Dellums! My Dad Goes to Congress by Bob and Lynn Fitch (1971)
There is nothing I don’t love about this boy. His hat. The fact he’s supposedly saying “right on”. The power salute. I know his dad’s the one running, but I’d vote for that kid any day of the week. The dad, by the way, was Ron Dellums, and the salute was sort of his thing. Google him and you’ll see him doing it quite a bit. The description of the book reads, “After a long campaign, eight-year-old Brandy Dellums’ father is elected as the first black Congressman from Berkeley, California, and the family moves to Washington, D.C.”
Maggie Marmelstein for President by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, ill. Ben Shecter (1975)
Alas, poor Maggie. She had quite the series in the 70s, with all sorts of editions. Too much time has passed, however, and though I’ve no doubt that there are libraries all over the country that still carry her books, for the most part they’re forgotten. I sort of love the vitriol in this description too: “Maggie Marmelstein thought that her friend Thad would be a good class president. But when he refuses her offer to manage his campaign, she decides to run against him with a vengeance.” Rowr! VENGEANCE SHALL BE MAGGIE’S!
It’s a Free Country! A Young Person’s Guide to Politics & Elections by Cynthia K. Samuels (1988)
Are they singing? Clearly they’re singing. But what, I ask of you, would they have been singing in 1988?
Electing J.J. by James VanOosting (1990)
Best I could do in terms of finding an image. The plot reads, “In Framburg, a small farming community, lots of families face the loss of their farms. Three boys, one of them politically aware J.J. Ellison, decide to organize a campaign against the corrupt mayor of Framburg who is profiting from everyone’s misfortune.”
NEATE to the Rescue by Deborah Chocolate (1992)
I found this one through the Chicago Public Library. Apparently it was a Chicago-based series in the 90s and this is the first one Ms. Chocolate wrote. The plot is about a, “campaign for the reelection of Naimah’s mother to the city council. It’s a bitter struggle between the respected woman and her white male opponent, an unabashed racist who advocates the re-zoning of community districts to quash African American voting power.” Yep. A whole book for kids on re-zoning. Um . . . can we get this republished with a new cover, please? On second thought, I love this cover. Can we make it historical fiction then?
Those are the best I could find. I didn’t want to go much further than The Boy Who Ran for President, due to its recent popularity and all. Instead, let’s finish with a bang. I give you . . .
Duck for President!
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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