Review Blog

Oct 30 2020

Vote 4 me by Krys Saclier

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Illus. by Cathy Wilcox. Wild Dog Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781742035956.
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. With bright, breezy illustrations by cartoonist Cathy Wilcox, the basics of the preferential system of voting are given in short, pithy sentences, easily understood and absorbed. Saclier is a well versed electoral educator, highly experienced in explaining the system of voting used in Australia to school children.  
In this book a class at Mount Mayhem School hosts an election. They are tired of their school uniform, the dreary healthy foods in the canteen and the lack of sports equipment. One person will represent them all in making change. Four people nominate for the position and these four names are placed on a ballot paper. Their teacher, Ms Sparks, explains that each child must put the numbers one to four next to the four candidates in order of preference. Each candidate tries to win the votes of their classmates: one using food, one being threatening, one by dressing up and one simply believing he is the best.
When the votes are counted, one boy, Farrel has more votes that the others, but not a majority. There must be 13 votes against someone's name for them to win. So the votes of the person with the least votes are used for their second preference, and so on until one person has a majority. The sequence is explained very clearly with voting papers, charts and figures used to follow each vote and addition of votes.
Eventually one person has the required votes and she wins. Change will occur at Mount Mayhem School.
At the end of the procedure is an outline of major government reforms through the time of European colonisation, leading children to question some of the decisions and possibly why they have not been made sooner. It begs the question what will be next?
This fascinating guide to Australia's voting system is accessible to all children. It provides a marvellous template for classes to follow. Teacher's notes are available.
Themes: Preferential voting, Elections, School, Change.
Fran Knight

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