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Declare Yourself: Speak. Connect. Act. Vote. More Than 50 Celebrated Americans Tell You Why Paperback – Bargain Price, May 20, 2008

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Paperback, Bargain Price, May 20, 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061473162
  • ASIN: B0043GXXT2
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,498,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—From America Ferrera (of Ugly Betty fame) to the artists of Maroon Five, 50 Americans encourage young adults to make their voices heard. This collection, comprised of vignettes, essays, interviews, and poems, ranges from the humorous (an essay by the editors of The Onion), to the sacred (an interview with Ryan J. Bingham, 25-year-old mayor of Torrington, CT, whose dedication to politics is almost religious), to the slightly profane (an expletive-filled diatribe from Adrian Grenier, star of TV's Entourage). Though the contributors all take decidedly different tacks, their common goal is obvious: to persuade young people to research the candidates and cast their votes on Election Day. The supplemental materials at the end of the book are plentiful and pertinent, including instructions on how to register to vote, ways to get involved in one's community, a comprehensive glossary of election-related terms, and a general overview of the United States Government. Though this book is obviously more relevant for the 2008 election season, it would be a solid additional purchase for both high school and public libraries.—Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School Library, Glen Ellyn, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Declare Yourself is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded by television legend Norman Lear and was designed to encourage young people 18 and older to vote. In promotion of this ideal, this book gathers together well-known Americans from all walks of life to talk about voting and why it matters. Kids may be more interested in the musings of some of the writers than others. How does Joan Walsh, editor of Salon, stack up against Hayden Panettere, star of the TV series Heroes? Or Alice Walker versus Tyra Banks? Oh well, something for everyone. In fact, no one will read this all the way through, but browsers will find reasons for voting and encouragement to make a personal stand for democracy. Perhaps the most honestly appealing essay comes from Adrian Grenier, star of the TV show Entourage, who admits avoiding writing “this stupid-ass essay.” But he does think young people should vote. He votes. “Why the fuck not?” The extended and helpful back matter details ways to get involved. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on August 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book, directed at teens on the edge of the voting age, is brimming with essays by people who can't wait to tell you why you should vote. The "celebrated Americans" of the subtitle include everyone from athletes to movie stars to entertainment journalists, and for the most part, they all say the exact same thing: your vote really does count.

Some of the essays were better than others. The most enjoyable are those by authors who reveal something of their personal experience with voting and the political process. One contributor writes about the old lady he's seen working at polling places in his area for years; another writes about the vote her father cast for FDR that could have gotten him killed, since as a black man in the south he was practically forbidden from going to the polls.

My favorite essay in the entire book was Meg Cabot's defense of feminism, which she correctly defines as the desire for men and women to have equal rights, and which she points out has very little to do with wearing (or not wearing) bras, or shaving (or not shaving) one's legs.

For the most part, the contributors refrain from affiliating themselves with a specific political party, but a clever reader could easily decode their covert references to specific issues and make a good guess about where they stand. The contributors fall short when they begin to deliver platitudes, and at times the essays read like everything you've ever been told about why you should vote.

The main shortcoming of the book is hinted at by James Kotecki in his essay, "The Cynical Revolution." And that is: would someone who is actually apathetic about voting pick up and read this book?
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Format: Hardcover
This book is great for middle school students, 5th through 8th graders who are learning about the political process in conjuction with American history. The anecdotes are inspiring if a little bland and contrived. Would provide some good talking points for classroom discussion.
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