Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Picture Book: Grace for President (by Kelly Dipucchio)
Summary of Grace for President:
One September morning Mrs. Barrington rolls out a big poster with all the presidents’ pictures. Grace Campbell is stunned! She wants to know: Where are all the girls?! Mrs. Barrington informs her that the country has never had a female president. After stewing over that fact for a while, Grace informs the class that she wants to be president! Many laugh at her suggestions, but her teacher encourages her enthusiasm by proposing they have their own presidential election at the school. Nobody seems eager to challenge Grace, so she thinks it is going to be easy to get elected. The next day (in the name of democracy) Mrs. Barrington invited another class to be a part of the election process. To Grace’s dismay, Thomas Cobb is nominated. He is the spelling bee champion, winner of the blue ribbon in science, and the captain of the soccer team! She realizes that winning the presidency is going to be a challenge. The students in the two classes each represent a different state/number of electoral votes. Both Grace and Thomas run their campaigns differently to win the majority of the electoral votes. It looks like Thomas is shoo-in to win. The election comes down to one vote!
Grace for President, by author Kelly Dipucchio, smoothly blends fact and fiction. Grace observes that men have ruled the office, so she sets out to change things in her own way. On a small scale, the school election reflects the real electoral process. Each candidate campaigns with posters and promises, but one goes the extra mile by organizing a beautification committee and volunteering in the cafeteria. They calculate the electoral votes to see who is ahead in the polls. On Election Day, the “states” call out their votes while the candidates watch the electoral votes being added up. This book is an ideal introduction or set for teaching children about the election process.
The illustrations, by LeUyen Pham, are appealing. They assist in capturing the excitement of the election activities. The final page shows a woman (assumed to be Grace) being sworn in at the front of the capital building, instilling that dreams can come true if we work consistently toward them. Grace is an amiable protagonist who possesses admirable character qualities. She works diligently and consistently to promote positive change in her school. She spends much of her time working a long side her classmates and learning about their concerns. Not only does the book prompt a general discussion on character but it also models the qualities real elected officials should possess. Students should delve into that issue in a class or home discussion. Grace for President a superb resource as you study elections, voting, government, or character.