It’s Presidents Day here in the USA, a day that never fails to make me consider what qualities make a good and effective leader.
Seeing the list made me wonder where I last saw all of these characteristics in one person. The answer was easy – the very last Middle Grade book I read – Meg Medina’s MERCI SUAREZ CHANGES GEARS. Merci would make an excellent president.
And so would so many other Middle Grade characters. I jotted down a few names from my childhood reading. (They’d be plenty old enough by now). Ramona Quimby (remember her No Smo King campaign?), Peter Hatcher (anyone who can manage Fudge can manage the White House), and Cassie Logan (who knew more about standing up at the age of 9 than most adults ever will) rose to the top of the list. Each one of them would make an excellent world leader.
As would wise, kind, and clever Charlotte from CHARLOTTE’S WEB. (Why limit ourselves to people?)
I had so much fun playing with this idea that I asked some of my author friends to help me out and nominate a Middle Grade Character they’d most like to see as President. Lucky for me (and for our readers) they had some great suggestions.
Karuna Riazi, Author of The Gauntlet and The Battle
“Valencia Somerset from HELLO UNIVERSE. As she says herself in the book, she has a name that seems like you could follow it into battle. She’s smart, she’s sweet, she has big dreams, and I think her and her new friend Kaori Tanaka would be an awesome running team.”
Jarrett Lerner, Author of Enginerds and Revenge of the Enginerds
“Beatrice Zinker (from Shelley Johannes’s books)! She is a courageous, creative, out-of-the-box (in fact upside down!) thinker. And perhaps most importantly, she has a big, kind heart.”
Melissa Roske, Author of Kat Greene Comes Clean and Mixed-Up Files Member
“I would elect Willy Wonka from Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Yes, Mr. Wonka is a bit odd, but his heart is always in the right place and he gets things done. And let’s not forget the free candy.”
Lindsey Becker, Author of The Star Thief
“Hm, first thought was Ramona Quimby, but she’s probably blowing things up at JPL…
Folly from HOW TO STAGE A CATASTROPHE is a born leader with big ideas. I’d give him a vote.”
Heather Murphy Capps, Author and Mixed Up Files Member
“How about Nancy Drew? She’s methodical, diplomatic, takes no prisoners, observant, and kind!”
Andrea Pyros, Author of My Year of Epic Rock and Mixed-Up Files Member
“Anne Shirley, from the ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series. She’s smart and strong-willed (a president needs a strong backbone) and hard-working. Plus, though Anne hasn’t had it easy in life, she still finds a way to survive and thrive. A role model for us all!”
Rob Vlock, Author of Sven Carter & the Trashmouth Effect and Sven Carter & the Android Army
“Ooh, I think I’d pick Bartimaeus from Jonathan Stroud’s BARTIMAEUS series. Sure, he’s a sarcastic, irreverent (and arguably evil) djinn, but I think he’d be a big improvement for our country!”
Samantha Clark, Author of The Boat, the Boy, and the Beast and Mixed-Up Files Member
“I’d vote for Gaby from Varian Johnson’s THE GREAT GREEN HEIST. She’s my kind of president with organic food and sharing.”
David Neilsen, Author and Mixed-Up Files Member
“I nominate Hermione Granger. She’s the smartest character out there, level-headed, strong, and would have the country running at peak efficiency in no time!”
Rosanne Parry, Author of Heart of a Shepherd, Second Fiddle, Written in Stone, and The Turn of the Tide and Mixed-Up Files Member
“I’d nominate Tenar from the Wizard of Earthsea series if I was choosing from my childhood reads.”
Janet Sumner Johnson, Author of The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Club
“Mikayla (Mickey) Delgado (from TAKEDOWN by Laura Shovan). She works harder than anyone to accoplish her goals, and doesn’t give up when things get hard. Best of all, she inspires others to stand up for themselves, too.”
Which Middle Grade character would you nominate for President this Presidents Day? Please share below, so we can add them to our list. And, if you’re looking for a more traditional Presidents Day book list, check out this one by Michele Weber Hurwitz.