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Review of This Is Our Constitution: Discover America with 
a Gold Star Father

This Is Our Constitution: Discover America with a Gold Star Father
by Khizr Khan with Anne Quirk
Intermediate, Middle School    Knopf    216 pp.
10/17    978-1-5247-7091-4    $16.99
Library ed.  978-1-5247-7092-1    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7093-8    $10.99

This clearly written, straightforward study of the U.S. Constitution, written by Pakistan-born Khan (who spoke passionately at the 2016 Democratic National Convention about our most formative document, which he carries in his pocket), is addressed to young people as “the custodians of the 
Constitution, and of our country’s values and future.” After a brief look at the origins of the Constitution, he launches right into his favorite two sections — the First and Fourteenth amendments. Chapter three offers a version of the Constitution written in current everyday English, and chapter five provides the full original text of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Khan’s personal voice, plus an abundance of sidebars, speech bubbles, black-and-white photographs, and diagrams, makes what could have been just another dry text interesting and readable. Though his enthusiasm for American democratic ideals is infectious, Khan doesn’t completely overlook the more egregious parts of our history, such as the “shameful compromise” over slavery in the Constitution, the Dred Scott decision of 1857, and Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. Back matter includes a plea to young people — indeed, all people — to be ready to take a stand for the Constitution and a valuable guide to landmark Supreme Court decisions.

From the March/April 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Dean Schneider

Dean Schneider teaches seventh and eighth grades at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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