This basic look at the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens is presented in a graphic format that will appeal to upper elementary students as well as those in higher grades that are struggling with reading. The facts are well laid out but given a light touch to make them accessible and interesting. The graphic-style illustrations are accompanied by speech bubbles, insets of "factoids," and historical vignettes. Starting with an exploration of "people power," this title in the Graphic Library's "Cartoon-Nation presents" series, gives readers a brief explanation of voting rights, "What makes a person a citizen?" the benefits of U.S. citizenship, the early history of citizenship, and a discussion about how some people become citizens through testing and an oath. The status of "Nationals" is explained with information about those living in Puerto Rico and Guam. The book examines the status of immigrants both legal and illegal in a compassionate way but does make light of the border restrictions on people entering the country. The illustration shows a person seeking entry to the U.S. and explaining that his "papers" might have been eaten by his dog, which is shown burping. Deportation is defined in one of the insets and the scene shows an official escorting a person to an airplane and saying, "I'm sorry, but you'll have to go back home and get the proper permission to enter the United States." This is a gentle way to introduce a difficult subject to a school-age audience. The importance of a "citizen's responsibilities" is stressed in the final part of the book and will speak loudly to those who will have the opportunity to vote upon turning eighteen. Theplight of those who did not have the opportunity to vote is well covered, and the struggles of citizens to change the constitution, as in the Civil Rights movement, is well documented. Direct quotations from primary sources are indicated by a yellow background, and the sources are identified on the verso of the title page. The back matter includes a time line, a glossary, a "read more" section, directions to the Fact Hound web site, and an index. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
Concepts in American government brought to you in a kid-friendly, graphic/cartoon format, with irreverent art and concise text.
Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 8 to 12.
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