Right to Vote Earned Through Bravery


Vote, the Day Gogo Went to .Rights. suffrage51aaST9VCXL._SX382_BO1,204,203,200_TV coverage on the upcoming presidential election floods the airwaves. Children  will certainly recognize importance of voting. Most kids naturally assume that all citizens have the right to vote and that it has always been the case. When children learn that in the past women were banned and minorities were barred from voting, kids are puzzled and shocked by this unfairness.

Unless we share the history of the rocky road to universal suffrage, kids will be completely unaware of the sacrifices made by courageous individuals to ensure that women and people of color had both the legal right and the actual access to cast their ballots. In many countries, including our own, the right to vote did not come easily.

Narrated through the voice of six-year-old Thembi’s eyes, The Day Gogo Went to Vote is set in South Africa. It shares a tender, universal story of the bond between a grandchild and Gogo, her beloved grandparent. Their bond is deep and affectionate. Little Thembe is concerned by her Gogo’s declining health. After recovering from a serious illness, Gogo no longer leaves her home. She falls too weak even to attend church; instead, the priest comes to her

Imagine Thembe’s shock when she hears 100-year-old Gogo announce she will take the bus to the poll and insists that show will walk if she has to do so. No matter what it takes, she will vote. The little girl is stunned by Gogo’s vehemence and her passion. From her grandmother’s stance Thembe understands voting is a very important right. Children will be amazed to learn that the events in this story occurred, not long, long ago but in April 1994 after most of their own parents were born.

Although set in South Africa, this story can easily open conversations about various groups in America who had to struggle for their right to vote. Written by Elinor Batezat Sisulu and illustrated by Sharon Wilson.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens:

Adoptees benefit whenever they reduce feelings of isolation or of being the only one who faces being “othered.” One way to create this sense of shared experience is by learning that there have been many groups who have faced the  trauma of being “othered,” of being treated differently because of the way one’s family was formed, or one’s gender, faith or race. This heart-warming book illustrates that one can succeed in the face of huge difficulties and defeat the prejudices and limitations which cultures impose. It is possible to expect and receive the full measure of one’s rights as person and as a citizen.
Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Share your favorite book or books that take place in a different country than where you live! (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

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4 comments

    • gswift says:

      Yes, this is yet another way in which we are more alike than different from one country to another. I have not read “Granddaddy’s Turn; I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.

  1. Marjorie (MWD) says:

    This sounds a really special book – and so topical. I was just hearing on the radio today, here in the UK, about concerns about the low numbers of young people turing out to vote – they could have done with a book like this when they were children!

    And I so love Sharon Wilson’s art – do you know The Grandad tree (written by Trish Cooke) – it;s another beautiful inter-generational story about the death of a grandaparent…

    • gswift says:

      Yes, my daughter who is in her twenties read the book and said it deepened her appreciation for the privilege of voting.

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