If you've assumed your young children will remain blissfully unaware of this May's General Election, you might need to think again. If mother-of-two and writer Eleanor Levenson has anything to do with it that is; she's the author of a new picture book for those still many years off voting, called simply The Election.
Given the paths of politics and small children rarely cross beyond prospective MPs kissing the heads of babies during canvassing, what inspired her to write a book on the subject?
Ellie explains the idea was triggered during the last local elections: "We took our then three year old daughter with us to vote and started explaining the electoral process to her. I realised that it would be far better for children to be immersed in politics as a part of life every day rather than just at election time, so that it just became a normalised part of life, and what better way to do this than by a children's book that can be read at home any time."
She adds: "I don't think you're ever to young to learn about how society works. All children have a keen sense of what is fair and what isn't and it's easy to harness this along with their natural inquisitiveness to talk about why some people have opportunities and material goods and others don't."
Explaining democracy and voting to small children who are perhaps more interested in Peppa Pig than who the next PM will be, isn't going to be top priority for all parents. But for those who want to do so, the book is certainly beautifully illustrated and the story engaging even for little ones.
It tells the tale of two children who live near to each other, Alex and Evie. Alex's parents support the Stripy Party (that sounds a whole lot more fun than real political party names don't you think?) and Evie's the Spotty Party. The story gently weaves in explanations of all the key aspects of the election process – door-to-door canvassing, debates, voting and results night.
Ellie says: "We have a problem with voter turnout in this country so maybe by books like this one, and others, we can start to normalise politics into something that everyone does. I guess we'll know if it has worked by looking at the turnout in about 15 years."
The Election is published by Fisherton Press and available on Amazon.
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