Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Election Book: The People Pick a President

The Election Book: The People Pick a President

Tamara Henneman, Carolyn Jackson
For ages 8 to 12
Scholastic Paperbacks, 2012   ISBN: 978-0545457835

For as much as a year before a presidential election takes place, the American public is bombarded with articles and advertisements about presidential candidates and their campaigns. It is a long, expensive, and arduous process, one that is so complicated in some ways that many Americans don’t understand how it works. One thing is clear, that each candidate has to earn the votes that he or she gets. Each candidate has to convince the American voters that he or she is the right person to take on one of the most difficult jobs in the world.

In this excellent little book, the author explains concisely and carefully what the President does and how he or she is chosen. Readers find out what the Electoral College is, and why some people feel that it is an antiquated system that should be done away with. They learn who is eligible to run for the presidency and why candidates have to belong to a political party. Though technically candidates don’t have to be Republican or Democrat and can belong to another party, no one belonging to a third party has ever won a presidential election since 1852.

The system currently in place favors candidates who belong to one of the two major parties. The author describes the history of the two parties and explains the role that the parties have in the months leading up to the presidential election. There are primaries and caucuses, and then the parties decide who is going to be their candidate.

In the months leading up to the election, the candidates have to give speeches, travel a great deal, and raise enormous amounts of money to fund their campaign. They give interviews that are aired on the television and radio, send out flyers, and rouse their supporters to work tirelessly on their behalf to gain support in the election.

After they have read this book, young readers will truly appreciate how a presidential election works and why the process involves so much time, effort, and money. The author takes pains to make sure that future voters can follow an election from start to finish, understanding the events that are taking place.