2 for 1! Granddaddy’s Turn and Lillian’s Right to Vote

With Election Day nearing, it’s a great time to share these two beautiful new books. I’ll give you a two-for-one deal this week and take next Friday off.  After sharing these two, you should be inspired to get out there and vote!!

photo 2 Title: Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box
Written by: Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein
Illustrated by: James E. Ransome
Candlewick Press, 2015, historical fiction
Suitable for ages: 6-9
Themes/topics: civil rights, family, history

Opening: Where we lived, I didn’t need an alarm clock. I woke up to the cock-a-doodle-do of my pet rooster and the chucka, chucka, chucka of my granddaddy’s tractor. “Hurry up, boy,” he would shout. “I’m coming, Granddaddy,” I’d say.    

Brief synopsis: (from book jacket) Life on the farm with Granddaddy is full of hard work, but despite all the chores, Granddaddy always makes time for play, especially fishing trips. Even when there isn’t a bite to catch, he reminds young Michael that it takes patience to get what’s coming to you. One morning, when Granddaddy heads into town in his fancy suit, Michael knows that something very special must be happening–and sure enough, everyone is lined up at town hall! For the very first time, Granddaddy is allowed to vote, and he couldn’t be more proud. But can Michael be patient when justice just can’t come soon enough?

Title: Lillian’s Right to Vote, A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Written by: Jonah Winterphoto 3
Illustrated by: Shane W. Evans
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015, historical fiction (shelved in nonfiction in my library)
Suitable for ages: 5-9
Lexile: AD1030L
Themes/topics: civil rights, family, history

Opening: A very old woman stands at the bottom of a very steep hill. It’s Voting Day, she’s an American, and by God, she is going to vote. Lillian is her name.

Brief Synopsis: (Library of Congress) As an elderly woman, Lillian recalls that her great-great-grandparents were sold as slaves in front of a courthouse where only rich white men were allowed to vote, then the long fight that led to her right–and determination–to cast her ballot since the Voting Rights Act gave every American the right to vote.

Resources/Activities:
Teaching About the Selma to Montgomery Marches, Grades K-5: http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/61314.htm
Incorporate into citizenship, history, and election lessons.
Compare and contrast the two books.
Hold a mock election.
Discuss nonviolent ways to work for change or work through differences.
English Language Learners (ELLs) – Social Studies support: Use these two picture books to provide comprehensible input for older learners.

Why I like these books: Both of these books present African Americans’ historical journey to gain the right to vote. In both that journey is personal and real, and the reader understands what a special privilege it is to be able to vote.
Granddaddy’s Turn covers about forty years and is narrated by a grandson who carries on his grandfather’s wish to cast a ballot. In Lillian’s story, we see her on the way to vote, remembering six generations of struggle to obtain the right.
I like both of these, and couldn’t choose between them, as they remind us that the right to vote should not be taken for granted, and both bring an important part of our history to a young audience.

Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent resources.


7 thoughts on “2 for 1! Granddaddy’s Turn and Lillian’s Right to Vote

  1. History be told! Love your picks. Both are on my list to read. So many wonderful books coming out that will educate. Too many of these stories are not included in school texts and if the topic is, these books make those topics more relatable to kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow…Beth…two great books…I am going to try to get both. As we write nonfiction ourselves, it’s really helpful to read what is out there. And you are right…so many Americans don’t take advantage of their right to vote…we need to honor that right by voting. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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