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From The Guide: American Politics 2016

hamilton_posterAfter months and months and months of campaigning, the presidential election is upon us. The following books, all recommended in recent and forthcoming issues of The Horn Book Guide, teach middle-graders about the American political system, providing some context for what the candidates have been fighting about.

—Elissa Gershowitz
Senior Editor, The Horn Book Magazine

Burns, Ken  Grover Cleveland Again!: A Treasury of American Presidents
94 pp.     Knopf     2016     ISBN 978-0-385-39209-9
Library ed. ISBN 978-0-385-39210-5
e-book ISBN 978-0-385-39211-2

Gr. 4–6  With David Blistein and Cauley Powell. Illustrated by Gerald Kelley. After an introduction, in which Burns suggests that understanding our political past encourages patriotism and compassion, the documentarian brings presidential history to life for middle graders. Each double-page-spread profile includes down-to-earth prose describing events during the president’s term; a quick facts chart; sidebars with unique tidbits of information; the official portrait; and a large, loosely rendered illustration. An appealing and useful survey. Glos.

Donohue, Moira Rose  The Civil Rights Movement Through the Eyes of Lyndon B. Johnson
48 pp.     ABDO/Core Library    2016      Library ed. ISBN 978-1-68078-029-1

O’Keefe, Emily  September 11 Through the Eyes of George W. Bush
48 pp.     ABDO/Core Library     2016     Library ed. ISBN 978-1-68078-034-5

Yasuda, Anita  The Louisiana Purchase Through the Eyes of Thomas Jefferson
48 pp.     ABDO/Core Library     2016     Library ed. ISBN 978-1-68078-032-1

Gr. 4–6  Presidential Perspectives series. These books look at significant events by focusing on the sitting presidents’ actions and motivations. The simply written texts are informative; some events are presented out of chronological order, but timelines help reorient readers. Sidebars include opposing viewpoints, primary source quotes, writing prompts, and critical-thinking questions. The open design includes archival reproductions and photos. Reading list. Glos., ind.

Donovan, Sandy  Media: From News Coverage to Political Advertising
64 pp.     Lerner     2015     Library ed. ISBN 978-1-4677-7909-8
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4677-8525-9
e-book ISBN 978-1-4677-8526-6

Donovan, Sandy  Special Interests: From Lobbyists to Campaign Funding
64 pp.     Lerner     2015     Library ed. ISBN 978-1-4677-7912-8
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4677-8523-5
e-book ISBN 978-1-4677-8524-2

Grayson, Robert  Voters: From Primaries to Decision Night
64 pp.     Lerner     2015     Library ed. ISBN 978-1-4677-7911-1
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4677-8529-7
e-book ISBN 978-1-4677-8530-3

McPherson, Stephanie Sammartino  Political Parties: From Nominations to Victory Celebrations
64 pp.     Lerner     2015     Library ed. ISBN 978-1-4677-7910-4
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4677-8527-3
e-book ISBN 978-1-4677-8528-0

Gr. 4–6  Inside Elections series. This series examines political issues that are pertinent to an informed citizenry participating in a democracy. Each book covers some phase of the voting process and provides enough information for a basic understanding of the selected topic. Inserts present pros and cons of viewpoints held by opposition groups. The dense texts are illustrated with small photographs and charts. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.

Forbes, Scott  You Rule!: Create Your Own Country
96 pp.     Lonely Planet     2015     ISBN 978-1-74360-784-8

Gr. 4–6  Illustrated by Emma Laura Jones. This quirky, thought-provoking book encourages young readers to think through all of the necessary steps to create and run their own countries. Location, kinds of leadership and government, infrastructure, currency and economics, and applying to the United Nations are just some of the many topics covered. An engaging layout features digital illustrations, photographs, quizzes, and fact-filled sidebars. Glos., ind.

Keenan, Edward  The Art of the Possible: An Everyday Guide to Politics
64 pp.     Owlkids     2015     ISBN 978-1-77147-068-1

Gr. 4–6  Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. Focusing on Western representative democracy (mostly Canada and the U.S.), Keenan’s readable introduction emphasizes the importance of the political process and touches on conflict resolution, compromise, polarization, public opinion, and the power of an informed citizenry. Unobtrusive drawings and inserts of case studies effectively complement the narrative. An informative, positive (if somewhat simplistic) view of politics for young readers. Bib., glos., ind.

Krull, Kathleen  A Kids’ Guide to America’s Bill of Rights: Revised and Updated Edition
230 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper     2015     ISBN 978-0-06-235231-6
Paperback ISBN 978-0-06-235230-9

Gr. 4–6  Illustrated by Anna Divito. New ed., 1999, Avon. Beginning with the text of the Bill of Rights and an overview of its history and importance, the book is divided into chapters focusing on each amendment. Legal cases (often involving children’s rights) are clearly explained. Final chapters discuss later amendments and constitutional controversies. The casual prose and amusing illustrations make this updated edition a kid-friendly introduction. Websites. Bib., ind.

From the November/December 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. These reviews are from The Horn Book Guide and The Horn Book Guide Online. For information about subscribing to the Guide and the Guide Online, please click here.

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