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On Patricia and Fredrick McKissack’s “You can be president” (from March 1997)

patricia-and-fredrick-mckissack

Patricia and Fredrick McKissack

“Our Sunday evening news conferences with the presidents were always intense, informative, and a whole lot of fun.”

I don’t know about you, but on this Monday before election day, I’m in dire need of something hopeful. “You can be president,” from the March/April 1997 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, is just that. I remember reading the McKissacks’ short piece when it was published and being struck by how naturally the elder McKissacks encouraged their kids’ interests while unobtrusively guiding them to learn more. The McKissacks, who together wrote over one hundred books about the African American experience, saw infinite potential in their boys, whether the young McKissacks looked to the past for inspiration (John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman) or boldly went where no kid had gone before (“President of the Earth in the year 3060 A.C. (After Consolidation)”).

I guess when one’s parents are award-winning children’s book authors, Sunday night dinners are bound to be lively. Things aren’t as scholarly at my house, but in a completely serendipitous occurrence, I found this sign on the dining room table yesterday:

calvin1

“Calvin for presedit. Frst tigr and vise presedit hobs. vote calvin.”

With the McKissacks as inspiration, I found my own Calvin and Hobbes and asked them questions about their platform. Their campaign slogan: “Kids rule, grownups drool!” They are “pro more allowance and candy for everyone.” Pandering to their base, obviously, but we had fun (imagine!) discussing the issues. And they even spent time reading to each other from their strategy book.

calvin2

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About Kitty Flynn

Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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