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DECLARE YOURSELF: Speak. Connect. Act. Vote: More than 50 Celebrated Americans Tell You Why

Author: Declare Yourself

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Publisher: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, ½2008

Material: paperback

Summary: Declare Yourself is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on increasing citizen participation in local, state, and national campaigns. With a forward by Norman Lear and an introduction by America Ferrara, fifty celebrities from all walks of life share their personal stories about the importance of participating in the voting process. This is a collection of essays about the importance of being active citizens written by widely recognized Americans, from political writers to rappers.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 12 and up; read yourself: 13 and up

Interest Level: 13 to 16

Reading Level: 5.1

Age of Child: Reviewed by a student at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, MN, as part of the Use Your ABCs program.

Young Reader Reaction: I picked this book because I liked the cover and the topic. After the first chapter I thought it would be very educational and that I would have to think about the book from everyone's perspective, and take into account what I knew about them before reading their story about their experience and advice for future elections. I liked that celebrities wrote their experiences with voting, especially the ones with the story about before they became famous. I also liked that they chose a variety of people for this book. The stories taught me the value of voting and that my vote can and does make a difference.

Adult Reader Reaction: The purpose of this book is to encourage increased voter participation at every level of the electoral process. Using celebrity testimonials to engage the reader provides the opportunity to answer the question of why voting is so important. At that point, the Declare Yourself program provides the reader with a simple step-by-step guide to registering and voting.

Pros: Everyone will benefit from reading this interesting and creative approach the subject of the importance of the electoral process. The manual can be tailored to meet the needs and interests of the audience to be served. This is an excellent tool.
Student review: This book will teach you what you can do for your own community and yourself during election time.

Cons: None.
Student reviewer: It seems to be a little long reading the same thing.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Use this excellent resource to educate non-voters on the importance of participation in the electoral process. The notoriety of the celebrities and their personal testimonials about the importance of voting engage the reader and encourages him/her to consider registering for and voting in an election.
Student reviewer: I would want to buy this book to have to read before an election.

If You Liked This Book, Try: 100 AMERICAN WOMEN WHO SHAPED AMERICAN HISTORY   DARE TO DREAM! 25 Extraordinary Lives  

Educational Themes: This is a primer for getting young adults to register to vote. The life stories shared by celebrities and the simple process of registering make this a recipe for success.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 5.1. The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - anthology, civics, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2008, November 2009

Other Reviews:


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