By Travis Jonker, Guest Blogger
Until they turn 18 and can vote, kids are largely left out of the democratic process. No more! Hold a kid lit election in your school. Empower students to vote their conscience, and have some fun along the way.
Step 1: Choose your candidates.
At my school, we chose Squid (from President Squid by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Sara Varon) and Duck (from Duck for President by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin).
For you overachievers out there (or those who have a hard time choosing things), you could also pick a bunch of candidates, then narrow down through a series of student “primary” votes.
Step 2: Discuss voting with students.
This is the good stuff - using books to help give students a taste of democracy in action. This voting conversation can be as broad or detailed as you want to make it, depending on the age of students you're working with.
Step 3: Read the books with students.
Step 4: Vote.
You can make a fancy voting booth and ballot box, or keep it simple. I do recommend putting pictures of the books/candidates on the ballot, so it's clear who is who.
Step 5: Tally the votes and announce the winner.
The moment of truth! I’ve found that the winner announcement also opens the door for a discussion about being gracious in defeat.
Don’t wait four more years wishing you had given it a shot - set up a kid lit election in your school and join in the fun.
Travis Jonker is a school librarian at Dorr Elementary in Dorr, MI. He also writes a blog about children's literature called 100 Scope Notes and co-hosts a children's literature podcast called The Yarn.