In an August post I asked what character you’d most like to see in the White House. While I was visiting Tenacre Country Day School recently, and admiring the students’ book-inspired pumpkins, I had the pleasure of seeing which book characters the school’s fifth graders would most like to send to Washington. Wonderfully creative school librarian Esther Frazee had had the students in fifth grade nominate a character who they thought would make a good President "based on personal qualities" and record their reasons for why. Later each student gave a three-minute speech to their classmates in which they articulated their character’s strengths. After the speeches, an election was held in which students were each given a ballot and voted for their top two choices.
I learned about all this from a fantastic display Esther put together in the school library, showcasing the students’ nominations. I thought the fifth graders’ arguments were so creative that I had to share some of them here and (as usual) I’ve included lots of photos! Click on each one to view it larger.
The year’s race was a very close one, with Freddy the Pig, nominated by Patrick Henderson, winning by just two votes (see photo at the start of this post)! Patrick’s very persuasive arguments in Freddy’s favor are as follows: "Freddy the Pig makes all of his stories have happy endings so why would you want anyone else? He has experience in being a leader. He has his own bank, he writes great poems, he owns his own newspaper and he has his own detective agency. If you want happy endings then you want Freddy. If you want a smart and bold person then you want Freddy. If you want the fiction world to work right then you want Freddy. Remember this is not a non-fiction world or a science fiction world this is a fiction world where miracles can happen. If you want happy endings then Freddy is the person that can have that happen. So stand up and vote for Freddy and get one step closer to happy endings." (Pasted below is a photo of Patrick’s actual nomination card.)
And just who will be accompanying Freddy to the White House? Esther explains: "Patrick asked if he could address the class and at that time he asked Sophie Cloherty and her candidate, Percy Jackson, if she would like to be his vice-president. Percy had come in second in the voting."
And just what qualifies Percy for this position? Sophie’s arguments appear on the card below. (WARNING: SPOILER!!) My favorite bit (AGAIN, SPOILER!) is this: "Percy is half human and half god and he has the power to control water because his dad is the god Poseidon which would be useful if the country is ever under attack from the water. He could also stop hurricanes and other disastrous water related things." All very persuasive points!
I love, love, love reading the reasons that each student printed on their nomination cards. What follows are a few other nominations, as I think you’ll enjoy reading them too.
Balto, real-life dog celebrated in several non-fiction books, nominated by Annie: "I think Balto would make a great president because he is really smart and even if he doesn’t want to do something he will still do it."
Bartimaeus of Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy, nominated by Isaac: "I would like to nominate Bartimaeus, a demon, for his courage and experience (5,000 years of it)."
Clarice Bean, star of picture books and chapters books by Lauren Child, nominated by Madison: First note the slogan "With Clarice Bean there’s no be’n mean." (Love it.) "She has the concentration of a fly but that hasn’t stopped her so don’t let it stop you!"
Mary Anne, the steam shovel half of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, nominated by Sean: "I am nominating Marry Anne [sic] because it is nice of her to dig holes for people. Marry Anne also puts lots of perseverance into her work."
Odysseus (duh), nominated by Graham: "When things go really bad he makes a promise not to let anybody be left behind or Die. [I] also think he should be president because he is really creative. Once he thought up the trick of hiding an army in a wooden horse to sneak into a city."
Skiff Beaman, protagonist of Rodman Philbrick’s The Young Man and the Sea, nominated by Carley: "Skiff is really smart and is good at making money because when he and his dad were poor he went out in a boat caught a tuna and sold it for five thousand dollars. Skiff could easily raise money for our country."
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to photograph ALL of the students’ cards or record the details of their nominations, but I can at least list a few of the other candidates who were in the fifth grade mix:
The Little Engine That Could
Roy of Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Mullet Fingers of Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Calvin of "Calvin and Hobbes"
Horton of Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
Mr. Fox of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox
Susan of The Chronicles of Narnia
Here’s a photo of the full display as it appeared
the library on the day I was there:
Didn’t these students do a fantastic job?
Anyone else there holding such elections in your schools/libraries/bookstores? If so I’d love to hear the results!