V is For Voting (Kate Farrell)

Hello, friends! Our book today is V is For Voting, written by Kate Farrell and illustrated by Caitlin Kuhwald, a phenomenal, alphabetical look at the importance of voting.

With empowering rhyming text, bookworms are given the A to Z of responsibility and engagement in a democratic society. The reader follows the central character, a brown-skinned and afro-puffed girl bedecked in red, white, and blue, as she and her fellow citizens learn, investigate, protest, educate, and act.

Powerful and inspiring. While the central conceit is an alphabet book – and indeed, it performs this function admirably – the raw energy in both the art and text of this title is intended to inform and empower. And remarkably, this picture book of complex issues manages to distill them to their essence in a way that can speak to even the smallest of bookworms; it’s a communication so simple yet effective that it astounds. Bold, full-color art presents a marvelously diverse cast and depicts a wealth of political, governmental, and civil rights luminaries. Shirley Chisholm, Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk – to name but a few – are lovingly represented and introduced in the backmatter, along with facts about suffrage and voting; icons RBG and AOC are visually alluded to. Diversity is openly celebrated in rainbow flags, transgender symbols, and Black Lives Matter icons. Teachers, free press, and social activism are lauded. A subtle visual showing a garden being planted in hope, then later shown having its lone surviving flower determinedly being tended to by the girl (“W is working for change, win or lose”) brought tears to my eyes. The length is perfect, JJ loved the art and spirit of the text. This book is simply beautiful, and should be in every classroom, to show young readers from the very first that they have the power and responsibility to themselves and their fellow Americans to act, to change, to think, and to vote. Emphatically Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

When You Grow Up To Vote (Eleanor Roosevelt, with Michelle Markel)

Hello, friends! Our book today is When You Grow Up To Vote, written by Eleanor Roosevelt with Michelle Markel and illustrated by Grace Lin, a wonderfully informative chapter book that walks children through the structure of the US government and the effect we can have on it.

Originally published in 1932, this second edition has been updated to be more inclusive and to reflect changes in government since Roosevelt’s day. Starting with an introduction to government employees such as police, firefighters, and sanitation workers, the topics move up through city, state, and national government. Readers are introduced to how bills become laws, how the electoral college works (and how it can be manipulated through gerrymandering), and above all, the importance of making one’s voice heard by voting in elections.

Both timely and timeless. This was a chapter book, and definitely meant for an age group older than JJ’s, but we did choose some key passages to read together and I was so impressed. It’s amazing how Roosevelt’s voice and passion for government carries across decades, and Markel has done a wonderful job of providing necessary updates to the subject matter. The information covered is vital for any citizen, yet it’s approached in a way that simplifies it for – yet never talks down to – its reader. The illustrations bring diversity and visual interest to what can sometimes be dry topics, and fits perfectly without overwhelming. The length is absolutely for older bookworms, but it’s a great way to introduce little ones to their own important place in government. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)