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Review | Election! By Dan Gutman

Posted by Rebecca G. Aguilar, M.Ed. on August 21, 2012

Election! by Dan Gutman

ISBN-13: 9781453270660
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 8/21/2012
Pages: 162

You’re watching television with your child and a political ad suddenly appears charged with emotional images and negligible information. How will you ensure your child gets excited about casting a ballot without dimming the conversation ever further?

In his new eBook Election! A Kid’s Guide to Picking Our President, prolific author Dan Gutman cites the Webster’s Student Dictionary definition of the word campaign as “a series of battles or other military actions having a special goal.”

On the tone of recent political ads, Gutman writes:

“It could certainly be said that the campaign for president is sometimes like a war.”

Updated research for the 2012 election outfits young readers with the recon needed to negotiate presidential politics. Gutman anticipates the hard questions for children and synthesizes good intel for a subject that perplexes even adults.

Every four years, Americans partake in the serious business of choosing the person who will lead the nation for the next presidential term. Gutman writes that candidates want to show voters they would make a better president than their opponent and the strategy they employ may be the difference between winning and losing.

Instructive with a sense of fun, Election! encompasses the history of presidential elections, polls, primaries, conventions, the electoral college, voter turnout and the role of a vice president. Readers learn why a serious run for the presidency costs money and explains the controversial 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case.

Gutman shares the reality of elections without the least bit of cynicism.

“Careful attention is paid to what the candidates say, what they do, what they wear, how they present themselves, where they go, who they are seen shaking hands with, what books they read, and even how much money they spend on a haircut.”

Without sugar coating the way things work, Gutman explains that politics can often get ugly.

“Sometimes we see them saying positive things about what they plan to do for the country. Other times we see them (or people speaking on behalf of them) saying negative things about their opponent.”

Plus, this readable book for children covers the important ways they can participate before becoming eligible to vote at age 18. Gutman encourages readers to pick up a newspaper, watch debates, research the candidates on their websites, volunteer time at local campaign headquarters.

“After the election is over, don’t stop caring. If you feel strongly about something, write a letter to the president (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500). The president might even write you back.”

Election! A Kid’s Guide to Picking Our President by Dan Gutman is a worthwhile read appealing to both children and their parents on the civic duty of becoming informed and engaged voters.

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction, History

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