Friday, July 12, 2013
By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Actors from the Youngstown Playhouse brought “Bad Kitty for President” to life June 18 and taught children a little about the election process at the same time.
“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 is not the way an election works in a democracy.
Children filling the Boardman branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County for 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 kids also made campaign posters and voted for their favorite candidate.
“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.”
Melissa Schmitt said her son, Alex, has been reading the Bad Kitty series of books.
“He’s read all of the books,” Schmitt said. “And he signed up for the summer reading program and they had mentioned [the play] was today, so we wanted to come.”
Another child, Lizzie McCrea said she hasn’t read any of the Bad Kitty books, but might now that she has seen the play.
Some of the children made “Vote for Bad Kitty” posters during the performance, while others created some for her opponent.
“I think it was fun,” Julia Basista said about making posters.
Bad Kitty shook hands, high-fived with children in the audience and debated her opponent, all in an effort to become president of the association. But, to the disappointment of many in the audience, her opponent was victorious.
Nick Bruel will be at the Austintown branch at 2 p.m. July 30 and at the Boardman branch at 7 p.m. the same day.