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Authors: Karen English

Election Madness

BOOK: Election Madness
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Nikki & Deja Election Madness
Karen English
Table of Contents

Title Page

Table of Contents






1. You're Not the Boss of Me

2. Ms. Shelby's Good News

3. Let the Games Begin

4. The Lay of the Land

5. Nominations

6. Runoff Election

7. The New and Improved Deja

8. Campaign Speeches and Campaign Promises

9. Last-Ditch Efforts

10. When All Is Said and Done

Illustrated by Laura Freeman

Clarion Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston • New York

To all the Nikkis and Dejas everywhere
—K. E.

For Roberta
—L. F.

Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10003

Text copyright © 2011 by Karen English
Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Laura Freeman

The text of this book is set in 13.5 Warnock Pro.
The illustrations were executed digitally.

All rights reserved.

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book,
write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company,
215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.

Clarion Books is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publishing Company.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
English, Karen.
Nikki and Deja : election madness / by Karen English ; illustrated by Laura Freeman.
p. cm.
Summary: When Carver Elementary holds school-wide elections for the first time,
third-grader Deja puts all her efforts into running for school president, ignoring her
best friend Nikki's problems.
ISBN 978-0-547-43558-9
[1. Politics, Practical—Fiction. 2. Elections—Fiction. 3. Schools—Fiction.
4. Best friends—Fiction. 5. Friendship—Fiction. 6. African Americans—Fiction.]
I. Freeman-Hines, Laura, ill.
II. Title. III. Title: Election madness.
PZ7.E7232Nim 2011

Manufactured in the United States of America
DOC 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


1. You're Not the Boss of Me 

2. Ms. Shelby's Good News 

3. Let the Games Begin 

4. The Lay of the Land 

5. Nominations 

6. Runoff Election 

7. The New and Improved Deja 

8. Campaign Speeches and Campaign Promises 

9. Last-Ditch Efforts 

10. When All Is Said and Done 

1. You're Not the Boss of Me


Nikki isn't playing right. She's holding her paddle wrong and she isn't keeping her eye on the ball. Plus she's hitting too hard and the Ping-Pong ball isn't even bouncing on the table. Deja has to keep chasing it and she's getting tired.

"You're hitting the ball too hard."

"Am not."

"Yeah, you are." Deja lobs an easy one to her. Nikki completely misses it.

"You have to keep your eye on the ball, Nikki."

Nikki doesn't say anything. She just digs around in the bushes behind her. She throws the ball hard back to Deja so she can serve again. It sails softly over the table and lands right in Deja's hand. Nikki looks disappointed.

Deja hits the next ball lightly, right at Nikki, as if she were five years old and Deja was teaching her how to play Ping-Pong by going very, very easy. Nikki watches it bounce, then doesn't even trouble herself, it seems to Deja, to reach for it. She deliberately lets the ball bounce twice before she swings at it and misses.

Deja is exasperated. "You can't let the ball bounce twice, Nikki. It can only bounce once. And you're not even trying!"

"Be quiet!" Nikki shouts. "You're not the boss of me!"

Deja puts her paddle down. "What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing! I'm just getting tired of you bossing me around."

"I'm not even bossing you around! I'm just trying to tell you how to play."

Nikki's face is scrunched so that her eyebrows jut up on the ends like a Halloween mask. Her mouth turns down as if she is about to cry. Then she does cry. She slams the paddle on the ground and stomps off to the porch steps. She flings herself down and puts her face in her hands.

Deja checks to see if her brand-new paddle is harmed in any way, then marches over to Nikki.

Auntie Dee and her friend Phoebe had spent


the morning setting up the Ping-Pong table, first on the grass because there was more shade, then in front of the garage, where there was cement. Auntie Dee had thought the grassy spot under the tree was better because it would be cooler, but then she changed her mind and thought the table would be sturdier if it was on a hard surface. Finally, it was set up. It was Auntie's way of giving Deja more to do outside—away from too much TV.

"What's the matter with you?" Deja asks again, when she's settled next to Nikki on the steps. Nikki's nose is running. She reaches up and wipes it with the heel of her hand, then runs her hand over her pant leg to clean off the snot. She sniffs loudly.

"Nothing," Nikki answers quietly. "I just don't like being bossed."

"But nobody's gonna cry over that, Nikki. Tell me the truth."

Nikki looks like she's trying to make up her mind whether to tell Deja what's really going on.

She drops her face into her arms, resting on bent knees. Deja hears her mumble something, but she can't make out what it is.

"What? I can't understand what you're saying."

Nikki mumbles something again. Deja strains hard to make out the words, but she simply can't.

"Put your head up, Nikki, so I can hear you."

Nikki raises her head and from her quivering mouth come the words "I think my mom and dad are getting a divorce."

"What?" Deja wonders if she heard her correctly. She couldn't possibly have said what she thinks she said. "They're getting a
Deja blurts out.

"I said I
they're getting a divorce. They had a big argument on Tuesday and they haven't spoken to each other since." She looks over at Deja, her face smeared with tears, and takes in a shuddery breath. "They keep talking to each other through me! And I don't like it!"

Deja doesn't know what to say. She doesn't even know what expression to put on her face. "Just because they're not speaking doesn't mean they're getting divorced. People stop speaking to each other all the time." The words sound truer to Deja as she goes along. "Auntie Dee and her friend Phoebe stopped speaking for a long time once."

Nikki wipes her eyes, and when her hands come away, she looks hopeful. "When was that?" she asks.

The trouble is, Deja doesn't remember when it was. And maybe she exaggerated about it being a long time ... but she likes the look on Nikki's face.

"What was it about?" Nikki presses.

Deja is trying to think of something to say when Auntie Dee sticks her head out the door and calls, "Who wants to go to the mall?"

"We do," Nikki and Deja say together, and Nikki jumps up to run next door to her own house to get permission.

Auntie Dee has picked up her friend Phoebe, even though she just lives across the street and down some. Now they are headed for the mall.

In the back seat of the car, Nikki whispers to Deja, "How much money do you have?"

"How much do you have?" Deja replies, wondering if Nikki is getting ready to ask her for some of her money.

"Two dollars."

"Oh, I have five."

Nikki looks out the window as if she's thinking about this. Then she whispers, "Do you think your auntie will let us go to the Candy Palace?"

"I'll ask." Deja knows she has to handle this just right. Auntie is a vegetarian and only eats organic stuff. She makes Deja eat all kinds of healthy meals and snacks. Getting permission to go to the Candy Palace is going to be tricky. Nikki looks over at Deja expectantly, but Deja just stares out the window. It's better to wait.

"Don't wander off," Auntie Dee says as they go through the heavy doors at the mall entrance. That means they have to follow Auntie and Phoebe into Lily's Shoes and watch while Phoebe tries on one pair after another.

Finally, they get to leave that store and move on to the next. Phoebe's still looking for shoes. Auntie's giving her advice and looking for a new bag while she's at it. Deja can already tell this is not going to be fun. The one good thing is that they're moving in the direction of the Candy Palace. She can see the words
Candy Palace
lit up in tiny rainbow-colored lights. Who could resist wandering in there?

Auntie Dee and Phoebe are walking at a brisk pace. If Deja doesn't make her move, they're bound to pass right by the shop and all its heavenly confections. "Auntie Dee..." She puts just the right amount of whine in her voice.

"What is it?" Something has caught Auntie's eye on the other side of the walkway. She's elbowing Phoebe and they're about to cross.

"Can we go look in the Candy Palace?" Deja blurts. "Puhleeze..."

Auntie Dee sighs. She twists her mouth, thinking. Deja holds her breath. She can feel Nikki holding her breath as well. "All right. You can buy
thing. I mean it—
one thing.
But you can't eat it until after you've had your dinner."

This is not exactly what Deja had in mind. She can't help but frown a little. She's just about to protest when she catches Nikki's excited smile. She knows Nikki's already thinking of the sour sugar whips and the gummy balls and the whirly suckers. Deja's mouth begins to water. She'll promise anything for the chance to go into the Candy Palace. "Okay, okay," she says with growing anticipation.

"Phoebe and I are just going to check that shoe store across the way. As soon as you get your
one thing
I want you to come directly there to meet us. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Auntie Dee."

Auntie Dee and Phoebe head to the shoe store, and Nikki and Deja turn in to the Candy Palace.

There's so much to choose from, but they have their favorites. Deja's mouth waters again at the sight of the cherry sour whips crammed in their plastic case, the sugar granules glittering under the store lights. Nikki pauses in front of a case filled with hot cinnamon suckers. Deja sees her swallow. Slowly they walk along, scanning the walls that are covered floor to ceiling with displays. While the clerk waits on a slowly deciding older lady, they scrutinize the candy-filled cases. Deja doesn't want to make her decision too hurriedly. Perhaps there's something she might like better than sour whips and hot cinnamon lollipops.

"May I help you?" the clerk finally asks. He's tall and skinny with pimples on his forehead. He looks tired even though it's still morning.

Deja moves to the counter. "Nikki, come here." Nikki is still staring at things on the wall.

"I'm not finished looking," she protests.

"Come on, Nikki. You know what you always get." Deja turns back to the clerk. "I want five hot cinnamon suckers, five sour whips—cherry—and, um..." It's hard for Deja to decide what else she wants to spend her money on. She scans the case in front of her. Everything looks so good.

"Auntie Dee said one thing, Deja," Nikki reminds her.

"I know what she said."

"Well, you're getting more than one thing," Nikki says, and Deja doesn't like the goody-good tone in her voice.

"I'm only going to eat one thing today, one thing tomorrow, and one thing the next day," Deja explains.

Nikki narrows her eyes. "Your auntie is going to be really mad, Deja, when she sees all that candy."

"You can keep it for me at your house and then I'll just get one thing a day."

"I don't know..."

"Come on, Nikki."


BOOK: Election Madness
8.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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