Thank You for Voting Young Readers' Edition: The Past, Present, and Future of Voting

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
Thank You for Voting Young Readers' Edition: The Past, Present, and Future of Voting Book Poster Image
Lively fact-filled guide informs and inspires future voters.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Filled with dozens of informational insets on various topics: impact of Voting Rights Act, arguments for and against women's suffrage, when the "I Voted" sticker was created, what a "faithless elector" is, why presidential elections are held on Tuesdays in November. There are "Fun Facts" (Minnesota holds the all-time state turnout record of 79%), "Voting Tips" (never let your candidate's supposed chance of winning or losing keep you from voting), and "Political Jargon" definitions ("What is a 'swing state'?").

Positive Messages

You can make real change in the world and in your community by becoming a voter and actively encouraging others to vote.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Several pages focus on actor Yara Shahidi (Black-ish and Grown-ish), her 2018 We Vote Next Summit, and how she's creating a community to educate young people about voting and mobilize them to participate in the political process. 27-year-old political novice Katie Fahey and her grassroots army of volunteers put an initiative on the 2018 ballot in Michigan that would stop gerrymandering in the state by creating a commission composed of Republicans, Democrats, and people unaffiliated with either party. It won by a million votes.


Brief references to police beating civil rights marchers in 1965 and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.


Brief mentions of music and movie stars who support get-out-the-vote campaigns: Rihanna, Emma Stone, Sheryl Crow, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Yara Shahidi, and the Beastie Boys

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Erin Geiger Smith's Thank You for Voting Young Readers' Edition: The Past, Present, and Future of Voting details just about anything a young reader (or their parents) needs to know about being an informed voter in the United States. The three sections ("The Stories of How We Got the Vote," "Know Before You Vote," and "How to Get People to Vote") cover everything from the struggle for voter equality by women, people of color, and immigrants to polling, the Electoral College, becoming a wise consumer of news coverage, and inspiring young people to vote. The author highlights a number of liberal personalities and get-out-the-vote organizations.

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What's the story?

THANK YOU FOR VOTING is divided into three fast-moving and fact-filled sections. "The Stories of How We Got the Vote" covers the decades long struggles of women, African Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants to gain the right to vote and includes chapters on voter suppression, Jim Crow laws, and how 18-year-olds finally won the right to vote. "Know Before You Vote" tackles tough and sometimes controversial topics like gerrymandering, how to become an educated and discerning consumer of political news coverage, and how to understand polling and the Electoral College. "How to Get People to Vote" looks at young people and voting (what motivated them to vote in 2018?) and how to inspire people (especially young voters) to turn out to the polls. 

Is it any good?

This is a lively and engaging everything-you-need-to-know-and-more handbook that will educate and inspire future voters and young activists. Thank You for Voting is filled to overflowing with facts, stories, statistics, and tips, and although there are lots of brief insets to break up the text, some younger readers may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Thank You for Voting taught them about the importance of each person's vote. Do people in your family vote regularly? What gets them to the polls?

  • What did you learn about making certain you're getting accurate information about candidates from reputable news sources?

  • If you could vote in the next election (national or local), what issues would be most important to you?

Book details

For kids who love nonfiction and books about elections

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