ONE WEEK UNTIL U.S. ELECTION DAY : Please Vote November 4!!!

 By now, I assume most voters have made a decision and I am not using this blog to promote anyone specifically, though some folks may know where I stand. The best thing about our election process is that our vote is a personal right and choice. Many people do not have that right or chance and we should not take it for granted or waste our opportunity to vote.

OK, now that I got that off my chest, I would rather talk books. There are many books about the candidates, and by them as well, which are available through most major booksellers and sites. There are also a plethora of books out this year about US politics, elections, media, history, presidents [old and new], and treatises on why we should or should not choose one or the other. Of course, reading is still the best way to form your own opinion, but I do not have time or patience for most of those. I do read a lot of non-fiction in general, but fortunately, this year I have also found some entertaining reads about voting and politics and the USofA both for myself and for my children. Read on!

 Duck for President by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

 This book actually came out four years ago, but is guaranteed to resurface every election [like nader, haha]. Follow Duck’s rise to political glory from his start as a humble farm employee to the highest office in the land. This book offers children a simple view of the election process, on every level [local, state and national] and will also please their political junky parents. When Duck sees a problem, he exercises his right to participate in the government. He also learns that leadership is hard work, success is not always fulfilling and that there really is no place like home. But it is no way as serious as that makes it sound, and will keep all readers laughing, from silly puns like “A Fresh Bill on Capitol Hill” to the fun illustrations including great placards and an homage to JFK. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to share non-partisan politics with a future voter. Please check the link for their hilarious political ad as well as educational resources and cool printable Duck for President buttons and a contest.

 

Madam President by Lane Smith

Well, it is definitely the Year of the Political Woman, and while we aren’t quite there yet, today’s girls know there is no reason why they should not be. My daughter was a bit too young to enjoy this book as much as I did, but it is definitely one I want to add to the collection {we were the first ones to check it out at our library!} Lane Smith has had a lot of success with his historical fiction for children ["John, Paul, George and Ben" is not about the Beatles] and has scored again with this one. The title-character is a precocious, confident, future leader of whom any mom or dad would be proud. She conquers a typical school day with all of the determination and diplomacy that any world leader [or second-grader] needs to shine. My favorite part is Smith’s fantastic illustrations which include real pictures of famous feminists and political leaders, as well as real book covers ["Profiles in Courage"!] which just may spark a little interest in some little readers. At best, they could be used by parents and teachers to improve some cultural literacy.

 

On Account of Conspicuous Women by Dawn Shamp

I admit I picked up this book solely because of the title, or more specifically, the word “conspicuous” which stuck out [sorry, it's punny but true]. I think it so well encompasses the movement of women, politically and socially, in our culture. Nowadays, of course, some young women strive to make themselves as conspicuous as possible, and are often rewarded for it. Little do they know just how precious that right is.

I love historical fiction, feminist history and politics, and Southern literature. This book has all of these things. I would hesitate to call it a “chick lit” book, though I guess it falls somewhere near that umbrella. It is the story of four young women, as well as their family, friends and partners, in a small town in North Carolina in 1920. The 19th Amendment has finally been ratified giving women the vote, and changing American society forever. Of course, the women’s movement did not end with the suffrage movement, and life for some women did not change much, but many towns were greatly affected. This book offers a look into a historical era that needs to be remembered, through the eyes of women who were more like us than we might expect. There would never be a female president or vice-president if there were not suffragists working for our rights.

I admit that my favorite parts are when the feminist character, Bertie works in D.C. with the National Woman’s Party, and we get a literary glimpse at Alice Paul and some of the work being done. Bertie also learns that there are politics and controversies found even among the feminist idealists.  Not all of the characters are raging fems, but they are all strong women [and, yes, conspicuous in their individual ways], forging their lives in the changing American culture, while still living a small-town life, whether as wives, widows or businesswomen. Another fundamental point the author illustrates is that even with the vote, the struggle has not ended for all, particularly the Black women who faced both racism and sexism at the polls. Yet another reason for us to all count our blessings and VOTE!