In this addition to civic-minded literature for children, students learn how to become informed voters.
In her debut picture book, subtitled “A Fruitful Election Tale,” preschool owner and author Iaco presents young children with the concepts of voting and fair and honorable campaigning. A teacher tells a cheery classroom of students of different races and ethnic backgrounds that, with election time in the United States drawing near, grown-ups will soon be voting “for the people they want to help run the country.” And, she informs the pupils, they will be voting, too—for their favorite type of fruit. Three students are picked to campaign for the fruit of their choice (apples, oranges, or bananas) to see which will receive the most votes. When the students’ campaign tactics go astray, Miss Jenn, their teacher, offers guidance to help them discover the ethical path. Danielle shouldn’t promise to give all of her classmates bananas the next day if they vote her way (what if the store is closed or hasn’t enough bananas?). Marcos “didn’t need to say bad things about those other fruits” to win votes. He simply needed “to tell the truth” about the nutritional and tasty characteristics of oranges. Kristyn finds that bullying the class to vote for apples or “I will not be your friend” isn’t as effective as a positive approach. The author maintains a light touch throughout, gently promoting critical thinking and underscoring the book’s easily digested lessons in Miss Jenn’s congratulatory summation: it’s important “to make promises you can keep, to tell the truth, and to be nice.” (Lessons that would benefit many real-life politicians.) The book’s simple but polished design sets Iaco’s well-considered text and debut illustrator Civati’s easily relatable images of the students and their school against backgrounds of complementary colors (admirably avoiding an overuse of red, white, and blue). The volume ends with an invitation for readers to go to Iaco’s website and cast their ballots for the fruit they would have selected.
An appealing, thoughtful, and age-appropriate political lesson for the younger set.