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The Day Gogo Went to Vote: South Africa, 1994 Hardcover – April 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (Juv); 1st edition (April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316702676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316702676
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,395,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sisulu's stirring story was inspired by her experience working at a polling booth during South Africa's 1994 democratic elections, the first in which blacks were allowed to vote. Thembi, the ingenuous six-year-old narrator, describes how her 100-year-old great-grandmother, Gogo, makes the long trip to the polls to cast her vote. When she first announces her plans, the family is shocked, because Gogo is too frail to leave the yard. "You want me to die not having voted?" Gogo tells Thembi's anxious parents. The oldest voter in the township, Gogo emerges from the voting booth to the sound of applause and the glare of camera flashes, and the reader, too, will feel the momentousness of the occasion and the characters' jubilation. Debut illustrator Wilson's sketchy pastel illustrations forgo detail in favor of broad, strong strokes, ably conveying the tale's high emotional pitch. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3?Set in South Africa in April, 1994, this tender story introduces readers to six-year-old Thembi and her gogo (great-grandmother). When the girl's father comes home with news of a date set for the historic elections, the family is shocked to discover that ailing Gogo is determined to vote, despite everyone's fear that she will not survive the trip. Their neighbors pitch in to make the expedition possible, and Gogo asks Thembi to accompany her. The child's voice is clear and straightforward in its inclusion of details that will hold the attention of youngsters, such as her responsibility for Gogo's "beautiful blue cloth bag" and the ultraviolet machine at the polling booth. The full-page pastel illustrations are powerful, alternating the dark interiors of a Soweto township home with sun-filled outdoor scenes. This is primarily the account of a child's warm relationship with her great-grandmother, and as such makes a worthwhile purchase. But if its context can be introduced, the book becomes a unique, inspiring story about passionate attachment to freedom and hope for democracy.?Loretta Kreider Andrews, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By juluka@erols.com on February 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The sub-title of this new children's picture book says it all. Everybody in South Africa remembers those astonishing days when the unbelievable happened and all South Africans went to vote. Today, when you go to a former township or homeland and ask anybody, "How was it when you voted?" you'll get a wonderful story about getting up early, walking a long, long way and then waiting, waiting, waiting. Outsiders are amazed at the patience and dignity of the often vast crowds waiting at polling stations in places like Soweto. But the people who sat or stood for most of the day with blankets and food, with their children or old parents, will tell you they could have waited peacefully for much longer. After all, they'd already waited all their lives! In The Day Gogo Went to Vote, this momentous time is seen through the eyes of little Thembi whose hundred-year-old great-grandmother, "Gogo", takes care of her every day while her parents are at work. Thembi's questions are answered in a way that explains election procedures to young readers but for Thembi the real impact of voting day was that Gogo was going out! Gogo had never "left the yard', even to go to church, since the long ago day when she had been humiliated and shouted at by a man at the pensions office. When the day comes, Thembi experiences one extraordinary event after another. Wearing their best clothes, she and Gogo ride in a rich store-owner's "Benz", a machine makes Gogo's hands look blue, press cameras flash, her parents cry and no-one remembers to send her to bed that night when friends and family feast and toyi-toyi through the night. Elinor Batezat Sisulu, a social worker in Cape Town, worked at a polling booth in April, 1994.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Thembi's great-grandmother, Gogo decides that the 1994 election allowing black South Africans voting rights is too important to miss. Gogo is the township's oldest resident and Thembi is one of the youngest. With help from a wealthy neighbor, Gogo is able to go to the polling place to cast her vote, accompanied by Thembi and her parents. The Day Gogo Went to Vote is the winner of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Children's Book Award and clearly displays the themes of equality of people, dignity, and social justice. The excellent illustrations portray the beautiful relationship between Thembi and Gogo as well as the impact this 1994 election had on black South African's.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jacquiebigpond.com@bigpond.com on September 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I ordered this book knowing my six year old daughter would love it. Having lived in South Africa for 20 years and now living in Australia, a black person voting in South Africa meant a great thing to our elders. I wanted to share a bit of joy with my daughter and she enjoyed the book. It is a spiritiual book for both young and old to relish.
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