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Teaching kids the ABCs of democracy

Gloria Gavris of Newton wrote her book to inspire enthusiasm among youngsters for the American electoral process.
Gloria Gavris of Newton wrote her book to inspire enthusiasm among youngsters for the American electoral process.

Growing up in a political family equipped Gloria Gavris of Newton with firsthand insight into the power of voting. Her brother, Frank Mastrocola Jr., became a state senator at age 24, winning a special election in 1977. Their father, Frank Mastrocola Sr., ran two tightly contested mayoral elections in Everett in the 1980s.

“I know the excitement of a great win,” she said, “and also the disappointment of defeat.”

While following the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections with her two sons, Gavris said, she became aware of the need for more education at the elementary-school level around the various aspects of electoral politics. A retired lawyer, lobbyist on Beacon Hill, and community volunteer, she decided to add published author to her resume in order to “build a farm team of young, engaged future voters, one book, one child at a time.”

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Her new book, “E is for Election Day,” leads readers on a bipartisan tour, from A through Z, of the country’s electoral process. Illustrated by Shawn McCann of Minnesota, pages include B is for Ballots, D is for Debates, G is for Grassroots Efforts, and Y is for You — teaching that everyone has the power to make a difference in government.

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Gavris dedicated the book to her parents and brothers, and also to her hometown of Everett “for instilling in me my love for election season and civil engagement” as she campaigned in her youth up and down its triple-deckers. As a first-time author, Gavris said, she felt “validated in my message” of promoting that same knowledge and excitement of politics, voting, and democracy when the book was recently recognized with a Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Medal for Non-Fiction Juvenile Children’s Book Ages 9-12.

Still a political junkie, Gavris has enjoyed meeting the presidential candidates while selling her book at political conventions. In fact, her greatest hope is to inspire the highest level of political aspiration in her young readers.

“If I can make an impact on one child who runs for president someday,” she said, “that would be the ultimate bonus.”

“E for Election Day” costs $8.95 in paperback and $17.95 in hardcover. For more information, visit www.eisforelectionday.com.

Cindy Cantrell

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.