As the 2020 Presidential Election Nears, Young Picture Book Readers Might Ponder a Question. Wouldn’t it be great to be President of the United States?
If I Were President
By Catherine Stier; Illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
With not so many weeks to go before the presidential election of 2020 and candidates’ debates to be televised, it can hardly be missed as a topic at dinner table conversations around the country.
One can only wonder what enters young readers’ minds as they consider their parents helping to elect the next president of the United States. They must be wondering what does a president do all day? And why would anyone want the job?
With all the hype, hullabaloo, venom and vitriol surrounding this one, come Tuesday, November 3rd, why not try to put this presidential election in a positive light now for young readers.
This picture tries to answer the question, “Just what would it be like to be president of these United States” and what might young readers have to do if they were? You might get some very interesting answers, filled with practical wisdom.
Catherine Stier’s picture book, coupled with DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan’s art, perfectly relates the presidency from a pint-sized perspective. Both a young boy or girl alternately pictured, fill in presidential roles, and it’s just the right fit for pre-election reading for young ones.
The cover of the book has a young lady sitting at the desk of the Oval Office on a phone. And that, merely reminds us that the potential candidate might be of either sex, not that one is advocating for a female president specifically…just the potential that is available for every young man or woman, born a citizen of the United States that is 35 years of age or older, and has lived there for a minimum of fourteen years.
Ms Stier prefaces her picture book with some facts of George Washington being the the first elected President and Abraham Lincoln being the sixteenth. And, unlike other countries that have kings and queens who are born into their jobs, the President of the United States is an elected position chosen every four years.
According to an important plan called The Constitution, he does not do this solo. A group called Congress make the laws and judges explain the laws.
Some of the work might seem like fun to young readers like the handing out of medals and flying in the presidential jet all around the world,
But, as she carefully explains, it is a serious job that includes such choices as:
Spending the country’s income.
Getting along with other nations.
Helping to make new laws.
Commanding the fighting forces of
Being the leader of his political party;
usually the Democrats or the
Once elected, he or she would take the oath of office that says, I promise to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
A new residence called the White House is the your new home with over 100 rooms. And your new address when mailing out letters would be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C..
Some of the perqs would be a bowling alley and a private theater. And your own chef would cook up whatever you wanted.
I could even have two desserts
Sounds like fun, right?
But, on the other hand your day would start bright and early in the Oval Office. Can you just imagine this quote from the book resonating with young readers – and for that matter politicians in general:
Although I’d try to decide what’s best
for my country, not everyone would
agree with my decisions.
Help is available for those decision your young reader would have to make from a group of people called the cabinet.
If I were president, the people
would be my boss, and I’d have
to find out what they wanted.
It wouldn’t be easy – different people
want different things.
The Armed Forces comprised of the army, navy, air force, and marines would be in your charge.
Yearly, you would give a speech to Congress called The State of the Union which is a sort of report on “how our country is doing and suggest ways to solve our problems.”
Congress would present bills that are ideas for new laws, and that, you might says yes to and sign and make it a law or “veto” it which would be a no.
My favorite picture in the book is the description of the Secret Service that guard the president.
Picture the Rayban-wearing solemn Secret Service agents on a tea and saucer amusement ride, accompanying the would- be young President.
Whether it’s comforting people in times of hurricanes, earthquakes or floods or lighting the White House Christmas Tree, the President’s job can be fun, yet full of responsibilities.
Young readers can just picture the house they are now growing up in, becoming famous, and their every word seen and read on TV, newspapers and magazines worldwide.
Even the family pet would make headlines.
But, just as in this year’s election, at the end of an eight-year term, a new president is chosen, and it’s time for the current president to find a new home and a new job.
For young readers whose parents face presidential choices at the polls come this November, these same young ones will face similar choices some day.
It’s never too early to start the educational process of the import of how serious those choices will be, and how in a country as great as America, anyone meeting the criterion for election, with vision, determination and drive can rise to that position.
Ms. Stier’s book is filled with facts, describing both the skill sets, ceremonial aspects and perqs that are part of reaching the lofty role of President.
Maybe the young man asleep in his bed at the close of the picture book is dreaming that anything is possible.
And who knows? Someday I just
might be president of the United
I wonder if that was what Bill Clinton, the teenager, was thinking in that now famous photo taken as he shook the hand of President John F. Kennedy?
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