Book gives kids glimpse at political process

GRACE FOR PRESIDENT. By Kelly DiPucchio. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. For ages 5-8. Hyperion Book CH. 40 pages. $15.99.

When Grace’s teacher unrolls a large poster of the American Presidents, Grace is shocked to learn that there are no girls on it. After sitting and thinking at her desk, Grace finally makes the announcement that she will one day be president.

This spurs her teacher to organize an election. Each student in her class represents a state and can cast the allotted number of electoral votes for that state. Grace’s opponent turns out to be a very smart and popular boy who has shrewdly studied the electoral map and knows that boys hold a higher vote total.

Then the campaign begins and Grace pulls out all the stops. She gives stump speeches, hands out cupcakes and even begins fulfilling campaign promises before the election. Does it all pay off? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Since this book is about politics you might wonder about agendas or bias. I’m sure you can find some if you look. Maybe it’s the name of the elementary school (Woodrow Wilson Elementary), the fact that it’s a popular white boy running against an African-American girl, or possibly that the book only discusses the electoral college and not the popular vote.

It’s sad that we adults think in those terms. We end up missing the real take-away from the story. If you believe in yourself, don’t take anything for granted, don’t expect anything to be given to you and work hard for what you want, you can accomplish anything in the United States of America.

McGeath Freeman reviews children’s books for Lowcountry Parent magazine. To see previous reviews, go to www.lowcountryparent.com.