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The Campaign by Leila Sales, illustrated by Kim Balacuit

Published by Harry N. Abrams

The Campaign: Sales, Leila, Balacuit, Kim: 9781419739743: Books

Summary:  Maddie Polansky’s pretty sure seventh grade will suck, with art class offering the only bright spot on an otherwise dismal daily schedule.  So when she hears that unopposed mayoral candidate Lucinda Burghart is planning to cut the school’s arts funding, she feels desperate enough to try to do something about it.  After learning that the only qualification to run is to be a registered voter, she starts asking around.  To her surprise, Janet, her 23-year-old babysitter, agrees.  Janet is struggling to find work and figures she has nothing to lose.  There’s one obstacle after another, though, beginning with the required 350 signatures to get on the ballot. Although Maddie considers herself the most unpopular kid in the class, she realizes she needs allies and finds ways to convince other kids who are passionate about the arts to join Janet’s campaign.  They all have plenty to learn as they make their way through the fall, and, as we all know, there can be some interesting surprises on Election Day.  Includes a six-page author’s note with ideas and websites for getting involved in community activism and politics.  304 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros:  Woven into this fun, slightly snarky middle school tale is a wealth of information about civics and elections, and a pretty heartwarming message encouraging kids to become activists.  The illustrations on almost every page keep things moving along at a good clip, and it’s nice to see some of the stereotypical middle school mean girls turn into human beings as the story progresses.

Cons:  Maddie’s parents, clueless almost to the point of negligence, never move beyond ridiculous one-dimensional characters.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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The Little Book of Presidential Elections by Zack Bush and Laurie Friedman

55382534. SX318
by Zack Bush and
Laurie Friedman
Illustrated by Sarah Van Evera
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8
This topical title has a dual mission.
Not only does it take young readers 
step-by-step through the process 
of electing the president of the United States, it also provides a clear, 
kid-friendly explanation of the concept of voting and why it is so important. 
With engaging text and warm illustrations, The Little Book of Presidential
Elections breaks down the process of electing a president—from selection 
of the candidates, to the primary and general elections, and even features 
an easy-to-understand explanation of the electoral college and how it works. 



With the presidential election right around the corner, this is definitely a timely topic, and a great chance to introduce young listeners to the election process in a fun way.

Starting with bumper stickers and advertisements, the listener is guided into first what they might know about the presidential elections before being steered into more detail. The authors use examples like deciding what a family eats for dinner to explain what an election is and how it works…and this does a pretty good job at putting it in terms young listeners will understand. Everything from what a candidate does (select me!) to voting to the electoral college is covered. Some themes are a little difficult even though this book does a pretty good job at simply bringing them across. So, it’s a great way to introduce discussions into the topic as well. Plus, I’m not sure the younger side of the intended age group will grasp everything…but as said, things like the electoral college are a little more complicated. I’d recommend this one for ages 5 and up.
The illustrations are very bright and very bold…almost overpowering, at times. But they are done with love and do make certain explanations clear. The characters are very positive and it brings across a lovely atmosphere while still not letting the seriousness of the theme fall to the wayside.
This is a nice book to pick up for those wanting to learn more about the election process. It’s not politically bent toward any direction (a huge plus anymore), but simply hits the facts surrounding the presidential election and how it works. In other words, this one works well for home schoolers and learning situations as well.