NOTE: I wrote the below review before I heard about the riots. I want to present this review as it was before I had my feelings of the recent events. Before I knew that my cousin’s son was working (though in Virginia) someplace near Washington DC. Before I knew my cousin was hearing gunshots and racial slurs outside her apartment. Before she started playing phone tag to make sure her friends were safe. Before I became sick to my stomach at the horrors we keep seeing.
V Is for Voting might seem an odd book to read in January, but at the same time, it is a great time. We have the issues with the Presidential and Georgian elections and to top it all off, we should always be talking about voting and civics with younger people. And of course, adults too! This past year I noticed that campaign ads seemed to be out earlier and often. I was getting bombarded with so many, I was not sure which were for my state or the one either side of us (we are positioned so three states worth of politics can be found). Plus, I know that as a two-year-term governor state, our elected officials start campaigns for the next election cycle practically before the votes are counted for the current one. And I know that as a kid, I did not have civics classes. Then when I spoke with people who assumed I had a civics background; I was shown to be less then educated.
Therefore, I wish I had this alphabet book as a third to fourth grader. Now, an alphabet book for that older level is a bit tricky. But the concepts are not. Kate Farrrell created a picture book that deals with simple concepts like V is for Voting but there is so much more. The ideas presented are thoughtful and thought provoking. The author digs not just into the word, but the meanings and the why of each concept. Caitlin Kuhwald’s illustrations counter these more serious concepts with brightly colored images and lightly presented images. They are fun and easy to see, and not burdened with too much detail, while also complementing the text. They allow the feeling to not be too “heavy” or “dark.” And even the text, while tackling important things, is not weighing you down. One funny and one interesting thing I noticed about the book are the characters. On the cover a character is in red and another in blue, but inside the colors switched. The second is there are a lot of rainbows and love shown on the images. And that gives a subtle nod to the GLBTQ community and makes it cozy.
All ages could enjoy, but the younger side you will need to know the audience. What is the reader able to handle? There is also an afterwards that gives more details on each word and explains who some of the people are you will see. Some of the people representing a concept will be familiar, others not at all, and a few will be “Oh I know them…. What was their name again?” Regardless, this is an informational book that I think adults should read just as much as kids.