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Grace for President Hardcover – March 6, 2012
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DiPucchio and Pham are game gals. Explaining the electoral system to adults isn’t easy, but they make it understandable to kids. When Mrs. Barrington shows her class pictures of the presidents, energetic African American Grace asks, “Where are the girls?” Responding to Grace’s shock, Mrs. Barrington arranges for an election in which Grace runs against Tom, with each of the remaining students in the multiethnic class representing a state. It looks like popular Tom will win since the boys have the most electoral votes, so Tom just sits back while Grace advances campaign promises. When the votes are counted, Sam, representing Wyoming (where the first woman was elected to the House), throws the winning votes to Grace, because he “thought she was the best person for the job.” The attractive paint-and-collage art captures the excitement of the race in layouts as diverse as the kids. However, there’s one big problem in the author’s note, which explains why individuals should vote even if they are not electing directly: “It’s those individual votes from regular people that add up to become the popular vote in each state.” The concept of larger versus smaller states isn’t really explained, leaving the idea that the winner of the popular vote will be president. As Al Gore knows, that’s not true. Grades 1-3. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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It's a great book for kids to relate to and understand. It's fun and engaging while also educational. It even alludes to swing states and teaches an important lesson on voting for the best person.
It also has a great underlying lesson on how to persevere when someone laughs at your dream.
In her classroom, Grace sees a poster of all the presidents of the United States and realizes not one of them is a woman. Grace announces to her class that she would like to be president of the United States. Her teacher suggests an election at Woodrow Wilson elementary school. No one else in the class wants to be president, which leads Grace to believe that becoming president will be easy. The next day, though, Grace's teacher announces that another class has also nominated a candidate to run in the election.
The next step is for each student to pick the name of a state out of a hat. One of the students asks what the number next to the name of the state means. In a couple of succinct paragraphs the teachers explain the electoral college. Adults hearing such an explanation for the first time might say "now wait a minute!" The kids accept it without question.
Grace and her rival, Thomas, run their campaigns by making promises and speeches. They make signs and Grace hands out cupcakes. In November, election day arrives and it's a nail biter.
The illustrations are fun, and they capture the atmosphere of the election. In one illustration, the boy who eventually decides the election is seen standing as part of the circle around one candidate but craning his neck to hear the other candidate.
In the back of the book there's an Author's Note. It presents more information about presidential elections, with a heavy concentration on information about the electoral college.
Grace for President gives kids a sophisticated lesson about how a presidential election works. It's particularly strong on the electoral college. Because of this strength, adults reading the book to kids may also gain a clearer picture of the electoral college. But the wonderful thing about the form of Grace For President is that it's fun. It doesn't read like it's trying to teach kids anything.
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My daughter gave it to my grandaughter also!