Subscribe to The Horn Book
Family Reading logo

Read more Family Reading posts | Subscribe via RSS

Welcome to the Horn Book's Family Reading blog, a place devoted to offering children's book recommendations and advice about the whats and whens and whos and hows of sharing books in the home. Find us on Twitter @HornBook and on Facebook at

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


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:


“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.




About Kitty Flynn

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

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind