Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Grace for President

Grace for President

Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrator:  LeUyen Pham 
Picture Book
For ages
Disney-Hyperion, 2012   ISBN: 978-1423139997

One day in September Grace Campbell’s teacher, Mrs. Barrington, puts a poster on the wall in her classroom. The poster is covered with pictures of all the presidents of the United States. Grace is shocked to see that there are no “girls” on the poster, and she is even more shocked when her teacher tells her that the United States has never had a women president. After thinking about how “crazy” this situation is, Grace stands up and tells her class that she would like to be the president, and several of the kids in the class laugh. Mrs. Barrington then tells the children that there is going to be an election in their school. Grace is the only person in her class who is interested in being the school president and so she naturally thinks that becoming the president will be “easy.”

Then Mr. Waller’s class joins the election and Thomas Cobb, whose classmates have nominated him to be their candidate, joins the race. Thomas Cobb is a good student and athlete, and beating him is not going to be easy at all.

Each child in Mr. Waller’s and Mrs. Barrington’s class gets to pick a state name out of a hat, and each state is assigned a number of electoral votes. The presidential candidate who wins more than half of the available 538 votes will win the election. What Grace thought was going to be easy turns out to be hard work. She creates a publicity campaign, comes up with campaign promises, gives speeches, and holds rallies. Grace does not wait for the election to begin before she starts making good on her promises, and she does all of these things even though she might not win the election at all.

What makes this book engaging is the way in which the election unfolds. Grace works hard to win the confidence of the voters, while her opponent, sure that the voters will never choose a girl, rests on his laurels.

In addition to the entertaining story, children see, from one child’s personal perspective, how the election process in the United States works. Sometimes it is hard to understand what the electoral vote is, and the author finds a way to make this rather unique system easier to understand. At the back of the book readers will find further information about the Electoral College system.