When Grace looks at the poster of the U. S. Presidents map displayed by her teacher to their class, she is flabbergasted not to see any women -- “girls,” in her words. Grace’s indignation gives in to a public statement in her classroom that she wants to become president. Her teacher Mrs. Barrington sees this as the teachable moment it is and teams with Mr. Waller’s class to run an election to instruct their students on the electoral process.
As Grace runs her campaign with posters, promises, and rallies against the popular and bright Thomas Cobb from Mr. Waller’s class, readers will observe parallels to the procedures and activities of our local and national elections. What sets apart this book is its focus on the Electoral College voting. A full-page map illustration of the Electoral College votes, as of 2012, shows the dispersion of votes across the nation. The text explains the votes assigned to each are the reflection of each state’s population.
In the story’s climactic voting, the students of both classes, having been assigned a state’s identity, stand up and announce for whom their state’s electoral votes will be cast. (There is no discussion within the story of the two states who do not cast all-or-nothing votes or the fact that on four separate occasions the winner of the popular vote has actually lost the election 4 times.) The vote is 268 votes for Thomas and 267 votes for Grace as Sam, representing Wyoming, the Equality State, stands to cast his state’s three deciding votes. Grace wins, solidifying her desire to run for president as an adult. The last page, strategically hidden by the page turn, reveals a textless illustration of an adult Grace taking the oath of office.
There are several discussion worthy illustrations and textual references, such as Thomas’s pre-election calculations of the electoral vote split of boys versus girls. However, to go into those discussions would more easily take place in a classroom with more time than most librarians have during their instruction periods.
An author’s note provides more in depth discussion of the Electoral College system and its history. I wish the significance of Wyoming’s “Equality State” (the first state to grant women’s votings rights) status would have been appended, but maybe that would be a good extension lesson for students to research.
I enthusiastically nominate this book for its presentation of the electoral process beyond just the popular vote!
40 pages Ages 6-9 978-1423139997
Recommended by: Kate Stehman, Librarian, Pennsylvania USA
Keywords: sexism, equality