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Review of Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box

bandy_granddaddy's turnGranddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box
by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein; illus. by James E. Ransome
Primary   Candlewick   32 pp.
7/15   978-0-7636-6593-7   $16.99

“Patience, son, patience.” That’s what the young narrator’s grandfather tells him as they wait for the fish to bite. That’s also what Granddaddy says when he puts on his church coat and tie, grabs his camera, and starts out on a mysterious long walk from the family farm. The grandson is confused until they get to town and he sees the VOTE HERE sign: Granddaddy plans to vote for the first time. Before he is able to, the deputy calls him Uncle and humiliates him with an unfair literacy test. Trudging home, shadowed in their shared discouragement, it’s time for the grandson to provide comfort. “Don’t worry, Granddaddy. I’ll vote for you one day.” The grandfather never does get to vote, but in an emotional final illustration, we see the grown-up grandson voting in his honor. Watercolor scenes of fishing and farm chores are bathed in warm greens and browns, reflecting the love of the older couple for their grandson. The plainspoken text offers a slice-of-life example of the injustices endured by African Americans during the mid-twentieth-century; however, even in the shadow of the fifty years that have passed since LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act, this book feels disappointingly timely.

From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Robin Smith About Robin Smith

Robin Smith is a second-grade teacher at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a reviewer for Kirkus and The Horn Book Magazine and has served on multiple award committees.



  1. Robin, thanks for the wonderful review of Granddaddy’s Turn. We sincerely appreciate it. We are all humbled by the impact that the book is having. Its nothing short of amazing. Best Regards

    Michael S. Bandy

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