Sunday, February 7, 2010

Declare Yourself

Declare Yourself, by Declare Yourself Foundation. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2008. ISBN-10: 0061473324; ISBN-13: 978-0061473326. 352 p.

Plot Summary
This collection of essays from famous writers, actors, athletes, and other well-known people, celebrates the power of citizenship and voting. Voter participation by young people has declined since the 1970s. The nonpartisan, 503(c) nonprofit organization Declare Yourself partners with civic organizations, musicians, young actors, media companies, and others to help increase voter participation. These personal testimonials from prominent Americans describe the benefits they have seen from their political participation.

Critical Evaluation
This collection of essays from various well-known Americans offers a multitude of different perspectives on the voting process, from personal stories to political positions. Because of the wide variety in authors, there is bound to be at least one essay that may convince a young voter of the importance of their participation in the political process.

Reader’s Annotation
Do you know the actors Nick Cannon and Lauren Conrad? How about the writers Maya Angelou, Chris Crutcher, and Meg Cabot? Read their essays, plus lots more, about the power of voting!

Author Information
'"Exercising your right to vote is one of the most powerful—and personal—actions anyone can take in our country. We hope that sharing these very personal pieces will inspire millions of young people to vote for the first time—and write the next chapter in the on-going story of our democracy,” says Norman Lear, founder of Declare Yourself" (source).

Declare Yourself is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 503(c) organization founded by well-known television personality Norman Lear. Its purpose is to encourage young people 18 and older to vote. More information about the organization can be found at


Curriculum Ties
Civics and government

Booktalking Ideas
Do you remember the excitement of the last presidential election? Get out and vote at the next election so you can feel this excitement yourself!

Reading Level/Interest Age
Grades 9-12. Aimed at teens turning 18 and becoming eligible to vote.

Challenge Issues
Language in a few essays.

I included this book because it seemed like an interesting non-fiction book that was actually aimed at older teens.


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