Do you know Kelly DiPucchio’s Grace for President and Grace Goes to Washington (both illustrated by LeUyen Pham)? If not, then stick with me to hear all the reasons that you should, especially right now. Are you looking for books featuring strong female characters for Women’s History Month? Yes, Grace is fictional, but she breaks through a lot of barriers for women! How about books to read with your children during election madness between now and November? DiPucchio has you covered! Need a refresher on how the electoral college, the branches of government, and checks and balances work? Maybe read these more for yourself than for your children… A diverse main character and cast of supporting characters? Check! Wonderful messages of making good on promises and using teamwork and cooperation to find compromises that not only make everyone happy, but foster inclusivity? You betcha! Now that I’ve got you hooked, read on for a bit more about each of these wonderful titles.
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Let’s start with the first in the series, Grace for President. Grace Campbell, appalled by learning that we’ve never had a woman President of the United States, sets a lofty goal– she’d like to be President! Before she can be President of the United States, however, her teacher institutes a formal election, electoral college and all, for President of Woodrow Wilson Elementary. Grace’s opponent, however, is extremely smart, very athletic, and incredibly well-liked. Through the campaign, Grace learns the importance of not only making good on your promises, but also on making promises to your people realistic and actionable, as well as of investing in the community she hopes to serve. DiPiucchio includes an informative Author’s Note about how the Electoral College works, which may help adults who are trying to answer their kids’ questions just as much as the kids themselves!
In the follow-up, Grace Goes to Washington, we once again see Grace, this time fulfilling her role as school president. This time, Grace is balancing learning about how the United States government works (with regards to the three branches of government and their checks and balances) with working with the school principal and the rest of the student government to determine how to spend money earned through a bake sale. During a field trip to Washington, D.C., Grace finds herself at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, where she reads:
“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in.”
Taking these words to heart, Grace pulls together opposing student council members, as well as a new student in school, to agree on a new, unique, and incredibly touching way to spend the school’s money — the Friendship Mall.
If you only read one of these, please read Grace Goes to Washington. Yes, it teaches about important aspects of our governing bodies. But it is so much more than that! Grace models incredible empathy, inclusivity, teamwork, cooperation, and so much more. May we all strive to raise Graces in our lives!
If you liked this post, be sure to check out:
- Fantastic Reads to Build Teamwork and Cooperation Skills
- March Family Focus: Teamwork and Cooperation
- Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey by Danny Parker