Election Reading Materials...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

...For Your Kids

It’s Election Day across the country, and while Mr. Obama’s job is safe (for now), there are several heated gubernatorial, congressional, and senatorial elections in the news, not to mention local elections and ballot measures. Good Morning America called it the “wildest election ever.” Now, I will start with two important points: first, I am not a political blogger, and second, I find the nastiness present in some campaign ads and political media downright revolting. However, being a citizen of a democracy and instilling civic values are important to me, so I wanted to share Election Day with B to the extent that he can understand it.

Why do We Vote?

I wanted to share some political coverage with Bradley (mostly maps and photos on-line, with a few pre-viewed news videos on local candidates and issues). We also took a look at some websites aimed at kids, including Ben’s Guide (a publication of the Government Printing Office), Congress for Kids (aimed at slightly older kids, but gave me some talking points), and The Democracy Project (designed for election 2008 but still relevant information on government and election processes).

A Campaign Tale
Feeling like he was having trouble processing all these bits of information together, I went digging through my boxes of books hauled home when I packed up my classroom. (Then I gave myself a congratulatory pat on the back for remembering just the right book and locating it in a mostly organized way among the ten, yes 10, boxes of books stashed in my house.) B is always excited for a new book, so we sat down to enjoy Vote! by Eileen Christelow. The main text of each page explains the campaign and election process in a factual way. The illustrations are comic-like, with multi-panel storyboards on some pages. Through these storyboards, the tale of a fictional mom’s campaign for mayor is told from the perspective of her dog. Some of the details and humor were over B’s head, so I selectively left out some of the conversation bubbles. But he did enjoy the dog’s narration and I think feeling the dog’s connection to the candidate made him a little more invested in the result. In just 41 colorful and entertaining pages, Christelow explains the basics of platforms, campaigns, ads, political parties, debates, fundraising, polls, ballots, and returns. She even gives a little background on political efficacy and historical voting rights. The book also includes a voting glossary, a voting rights timeline, political party FAQs, and a list of useful web resources.

Putting it in Action

When we finished our reading, research, and lunch, I took the boys along with me to cast my vote at my local polling place. B was duly impressed by the large registration books and voting equipment, and after a look at my ballot inside the booth, happily entertained T in the stroller while I paged through my markings in my sample ballot. He proudly sported his “I Voted” sticker in the grocery store (I would have too, but T pulled mine of and rolled it into a ball while I strapped him in his carseat).

Appropriate for preschoolers, primary grades.
How ‘bout you? Did you vote? Did you share it with your kids? Please leave your opinions about the candidates or ballot issues out, but share your opinions about the process.
Don’t forget, you have until tomorrow to enter the giveaway I posted last week!
I’m linking up at ABC and 123’s Show and Tell, See you Friday for Feed Me Books Friday.


Envy My Cooking November 2, 2010 at 9:42 PM  

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phasejumper November 3, 2010 at 6:33 AM  

We read the same book yesterday! I let my son vote on our activities that day and his vote was "watch tv"....this is why motherhood is not a democracy!

Christianne @ Little Page Turners November 3, 2010 at 7:14 PM  

I'll have to see if I can locate that book! I'll admit I didn't vote this year - the election really wasn't a contest in my district - but it will be perfect next time election day comes around.

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