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PAPA’S MARK by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert


by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert & illustrated by Colin Bootman

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 2004
ISBN: 0-8234-1650-X
Publisher: Holiday House

Talk of the upcoming election permeates the African-American community because, for the first time, they will be permitted to vote alongside their white neighbors. There are indications that this will not be an easy task, as many whites do not want that to happen. Simms is enormously proud of his Papa’s determination to vote in spite of all the obstacles and fears. But Papa cannot read or write and he desperately wants to write his name instead of his mark when he votes. Discouraged by the “chicken scratches” he makes, he elicits help from Simms and practices diligently. On Election Day, Papa writes his name, and he and Simms put the ballot in the box together. Battle-Lavert tells the story simply, letting the pride, compassion, and love between father and son shine through. Bootman’s oil paintings add further dimension as they carefully complement the words and the mood. Heartfelt. (Picture book. 6-10)