Friday, October 16, 2009

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation

As a lover of history, historic landmarks, and tours of houses ("not another dead person's house" is the cry of my youngest) I was surprised that I had forgotten how flexible and unique a document our constitution is. One would think a graphic adaptation might be a silly book, or have a point of view. I don't believe that this applies to author Jonathan Hennessey or illustrator Aaron McConnell. I was very impressed with their knowledge and how they interpreted this document in pictoral form.

The very beginning of the preamble, "We the People" is a broad picture of our fellow citizens. This is followed by a brief history of how our country fought for independence, then the explanation of the preamble into the Articles explaining how the government works. The artwork is wonderful, especially the representations of the three branches of government: legislative (a man in a suit with the Capitol for a head), executive (a man in a suit with the White House for a head), and judicial (a person in a judicial robe with the Supreme Court building for a head).
This book brought new understandings of why articles were written; specifically how population was counted in order to appeal to southern states in order to pass the document and make our federal government. The book explains the Bill of Rights and the amendments that have been passed. The reasons that the Supreme Court still struggles with decisions is easier to understand now that I've "re-read" this U.S. Constitution.

If you have someone taking American History in 8th or 11th grade, do them a favor and make sure they see this book. It will help young people understand their rights and responsibilities. It will be a refresher course for grown-ups !

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