By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
“Bad Kitty for President” came to life at the Austintown library through a performance by Youngstown Playhouse actors June 19. Children learned a little about the election process as they watched and participated.
Bad Kitty for President, a children’s book by Nick Bruel, tells the story of Bad Kitty’s attempt to become president of the Neighborhood Cat Association. Though she first appoints herself president, she quickly learns that’s not the way an election works in a democracy.
“A dramatization of a book increases kids’ comprehension skills,” said Jo Nolfi, manager of youth services and programming for the library system. “It helps them to visualize concepts that might be somewhat difficult.”
Children at the event had a chance to be part of the play. Bad Kitty needed a running mate and an opponent, and both were chosen from the audience. The children also made campaign posters and voted for their favorite candidate.
Rebecca Klinesmith brought her three-year-old daughter Grace to see the play.
“We’ve been coming [to library events] since she was six months old,” Klinesmith said. “We come to the usual reading time each Wednesday, just to give her some social time with friends and more interest in literacy.”
Though she isn’t familiar with the Bad Kitty series of books, Grace said she was excited about the play.
“She couldn’t sleep last night,” her mother added.
Rita Cole and her son, Hayden, enjoyed the show.
“It’s great,” Cole said. “The Playhouse always puts on a nice program at the library every summer.”
Some of the children made “Vote for Bad Kitty” posters during the performance, while others created some for her opponent.
Camilla Sutherland made campaign posters for Bad Kitty’s opponent – and gave a thumb’s down to it. She hoped Bad Kitty would win, she said.
Bad Kitty shook hands and debated her opponent, all in an effort to become president of the association. But her opponent was victorious.
Nick Bruel will be at the Austintown branch at 2 p.m. on July 30 and at the Boardman branch at 7 p.m. the same day.