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

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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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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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: 0.5 x 8.8 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Reginald D. Garrard VINE VOICE on September 6, 2004
Format: School & Library Binding
Contemporary authors tackle issues that would've been unheard of, fifty, even thirty years ago. "The Day Gogo Went to Vote" addresses South Africa's emergence from its apartheid past to the present politically-balanced form of government. Taking place in the days prior to the election of Nelson Mandela as its first black president, the book shows how important it is for open and free representation at the polling places.

The wonderful illustrations, coupled with the inspiring characters, make this a fascinating and insightful read. The love shared between the old lady and her grandchild, as well as the respect the community has for the elderly, helps to promote citizenship and family values.

"The Day Gogo Went to Vote" belongs in every library, every school, and, if things were perfect, every home.
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A Kid's Review on September 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is very educational! I would say kids of all ages should read this book. This book is about a girl named Thembi who lives with her great-grandmother and parents. Well one day Thembi's mom comes home crying because black South Africans are finally going to get to vote and it it very special because it will be Thembis great-grandmothers first time to vote. At first Thembis parents say her great-grandmother cant go vote because they will have to be at work when she votes so she will have no way of getting there. Also that there will be very long lines and they dont think she can stand for that long. This book has very nice pictures that you should look at even if you havnt read the book! It teaches kids that in some places in our world people are not so lucky like we are, they dont have very much freedom. Also that children should'nt take things for granted and should respect what they have because other kids arent so lucky!
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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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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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