We the People: The United States Constitution Explored and Explained

by Aura Lewis (Author) Aura Lewis (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

*2021 EUREKA! Nonfiction Children's Honor Book*

"An enlightening addition to upper elementary and middle school collections for its in-depth look at the Constitution and the U.S. government." - School Library Journal

See the U.S. Constitution in a new light with this bold, modern and accessible illustrated guide to the document that helped define democracy. With the unprecedented events and actions that have tested the American political system over the last four years, including the violent overtaking of the U.S. Capitol Building, there has never been a better time to take a closer look at the Constitution, the bedrock of U.S. politics. As part of the critical discussion of current events at school and at home, inquisitive minds will have their questions vividly answered - and new ones raised - by a mix of striking illustrations and clear, engaging text, including passages from the Constitution given in plain English. As well as a detailed history covering the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights and all Amendments, discover how this milestone in American democracy shapes and is shaped by the world at large. We The People shows that, far from a fusty old piece of paper, the U.S. Constitution is a living, evolving rule book that is as relevant today as it has ever been. A fresh take on a monumental document, navigating in style its history and its life today. Excerpts from the Constitution are presented here in plain English to help young thinkers better understand the role it plays in everyday life. Accessible, energetic text accompanied by contemporary, powerful illustrations allows children aged 10 and older to re-think the Constitution in a totally new way.A balanced examination that does not shy away from addressing the difficulties of interpreting and adapting the Constitution for the modern world. We The People takes the Constitution out of its display case, blows off the dust and re-imagines this piece of history for the next generation.

Kirkus Reviews

Buoyant if occasionally simplistic, with a distinct lean to the left. (glossary, index, reading list) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Publishers Weekly

Sargent and Lewis lead readers through a breezy, informative tour of the preeminent U.S. legal document, opening with a contextualizing note: "because it was written by a small number of white men with power, we have to read it critically." Short chapters dedicated to each article and amendment are punctuated with "Fast Facts" (the Senate has "100 members"), quiz-style questions ("How many presidents have served in the United States?"), and open-ended prompts (one about whether "people who don't agree can still be friends and respect each other"). Stylish design breaks complexities into digestible ideas, highlighting key words and phrases and interleaving historical asides, accented throughout in Lewis's modish digital illustrations. The creators' progressive lean is evident: Democrats dominate the capsule biographies, and concepts such as intersectionality, the prison-industrial complex, and privilege are centered. Still, it's an engaging introduction to a document that continues to shape American lives. A glossary and list of further reading concludes. Ages 10-14. (July)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8--This detailed overview of the U.S. Constitution incorporates engaging facts and profiles. Lewis and Sargent thoroughly explain various aspects of the government in a way that pops. Bright cartoon-style illustrations complement the organization of the book. The text features a mix of short passages, sidebars, discussion questions, lists, and profiles of important politicians and activists. The authors provide context that goes behind the basics. For example, in the section about the 19th Amendment, they point out that not all women were given the same freedom; the section describes the many ways women of color have tirelessly fought for equality, and offers an easy-to-understand definition of intersectionality. A glossary, an index, a search-and-find, and further reading are included. VERDICT An enlightening addition to upper elementary and middle school collections for its in-depth look at the Constitution and the U.S. government.--Molly Dettmann, Norman North H.S., OK

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"FIVE STARS. I'd give it a million if I could." - Heather Armstrong, Dooce
Aura Lewis
Aura Lewis is an illustrator based in New York City. She is a recent graduate of the MFA program in the Illustration as Visual Essay program at the School of Visual Arts.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
July 20, 2020

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