Vote!

VOTE!    Clarion Books—2003

“It’s hard to imagine a more accessible introduction to voting. The words are straightforward, the art whimsical and creative, and the two darling dogs provide color commentary on the action... Vote aye on this one.”

— ALA Booklist, starred review

An ALA Notable Children’s Book 
An IRA/CBC Children’s Choice
A Book Links Lasting Connection
A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
Bank Street College of Education, Best Children’s Books of the Year"

What gave me the idea?

On Election Day 2000, (Gore v. Bush) I was visiting elementary schools in Hastings, Minnesota. The school walls were filled with student-made election posters. Kids were wearing ‘I Voted’ buttons and they wanted to know if I had voted.

    I was intrigued. Why did these young students care so much about voting?

   The answer was... the state of Minnesota was starting voter education early! Teachers were discussing voting with their students, voting for everything from favorite pizzas to favorite candidates. Students were encouraged to go to the polls with their parents where they could register their OWN votes in a special kids’ section. Of course, that meant they had a vested interest in getting their parents to the polls. No one wanted to miss out on wearing an ‘I Voted’ button!

The Story:

Suppose your town is about to choose a new mayor. How will you do it? You'll vote!

Using a town's mayoral election as a model, this lively introduction to voting covers every step of the process from the start of the campaign to Election Day. There's even a recount! Told in comic book style, this look at how we choose our leaders turns an often-daunting topic into an exciting narrative.

   A time line of the history of voting in the United States, a glossary of words associated with voting, a discussion of American political parties, and a list of Internet resources are included.

Here are your answers to questions about:

—The history of voter rights

—Voter registration

—How to research the candidates

—Volunteering at campaign headquarters

—Fund raising

—Pollsters

—Political advertising

—Going to vote

—And . . . a recount!

First Draft

When I started this book, I hadn't even decided what kind of an election I would write about. I only knew the ideas I wanted to get across. My characters were two dogs and a lot of voters.

   I decided on an election for a mayor of a small city. But WHERE were the KIDS?   I drew my candidate, Chris Smith, out meeting the voters. I added a little girl holding a sign. I wrote on the sign, "Chris Smith is the best! She's my mom!".  Suddenly, my problem was solved! That young girl became my most important character—and I had a story!