The US Congress for Kids: Over 200 Years of Lawmaking, Deal-Breaking, and Compromising, with 21 Activities

Overview

An interactive guidebook to the history and inner workings of the legislative branch of the U.S. Government

Providing a historical perspective on all that is going on today, US Congress for Kids examines the major milestones in congressional history, including the abolition of slavery, extending the vote to African Americans and to women, and investigating misconduct in both government and private institutions. Kids will be engaged by the focus on dramatic stories, ...

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The US Congress for Kids: Over 200 Years of Lawmaking, Deal-Breaking, and Compromising, with 21 Activities

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Overview

An interactive guidebook to the history and inner workings of the legislative branch of the U.S. Government

Providing a historical perspective on all that is going on today, US Congress for Kids examines the major milestones in congressional history, including the abolition of slavery, extending the vote to African Americans and to women, and investigating misconduct in both government and private institutions. Kids will be engaged by the focus on dramatic stories, personalities, and turning points while also benefitting from the clear discussions of Congressional purpose, structure, history, and ongoing issues. Educational, hands-on activities that illuminate the workings of the U.S. Congress include making a House ceremonial mace, creating congressional money, making a capitol dome, and designing a Congressional Medal of Honor.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A well-written, extensive history.” —Kirkus

“It explores some big decisions by Congress, including votes to outlaw slavery and give voting rights to black men and then to women. It also includes 21 activities to help explain the day-to-day work on Capitol Hill.” —The Washington Post

“Kids will be engaged by the focus on dramatic stories, personalities, and turning points while also benefitting from the clear discussions of Congressional purpose, structure, history, and ongoing issues.” —BookTrib

“On what typically is a rather confusing and dry subject, author Ronald Reis breaks everything down so that it is both completely comprehensible and at the same time fascinating. In fact, the explanation of how the US Congress is organized and what its functions are, is the best written summary on the subject I’ve ever read, bar none.” —Smart Books for Smart Kids

“This entry in the For Kids series offers both historical and timely perspectives of Congress.” —Booklist

“[The book] offers procedural and structural information about Congress, but it also describes how the "human factor" plays into the way Congress works.” —The Reading Tub

“It is difficult to not be very cynical when it comes to discussing the U.S. Congress and its members. We need a book like this to refocus us and help us show our young people what the institution is supposed to be all about.” —Bookloons

From the Publisher

“A well-written, extensive history.” —Kirkus
School Library Journal
10/01/2014
Gr 5–8—In exploring more than two centuries of American legislation, Reis provides an array of intriguing, challenging, and controversial episodes, but an unwieldy structure and unappealing DIY activities limit the value of this muddled introduction to the U.S. Congress. Writing with brief assists from Representatives Henry A. Waxman and Kristi Noem, Reis fails to settle on a fluent organizing principle to present the intricate, evolving history of the House and Senate. Frequent interruptions to discuss uninviting crafts, online search activities, and short bios further complicate the readability. The vastness of this subject also prevents the author from offering sufficient context for some individual stories, particularly with regard to government treatment of minority populations, resulting in some problematic passages. Coupled with the author's tendency to editorialize on potentially contentious topics, these worrisome exclusions and narrative stumbles overpower the virtue of a dedicated look at Congress past and present.—Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
2014-09-14
The latest installment of the For Kids series examines the history and functions of the United States Congress. Noting low approval ratings Congress receives from many Americans, Reis encourages readers to see what an amazing institution Congress is, pointing out its role in overthrowing slavery, giving women the right to vote, making strides in civil rights and challenging executive branch authority. Chapter 1—"Unfinished Business: Congress and Slavery"—opens with a lively account of Preston Brooks' attack on Sen. Charles Sumner on the eve of the Civil War, and following chapters continue the focus on volatile issues facing Congress and American society since our government's founding—creating the judicial system, enacting the Bill of Rights, seeking a policy on immigration, impeaching presidents and investigating potential dangers to American society. Unfortunately, this volume, like others in the series, is trapped by its "For Kids" formula, as the historical content is well-suited for an older, middle school audience while many of the activities are for younger kids: Create your own "Congressional Money," make a capital for a Capitol column using paper-towel cores and yogurt cups, and create a Capitol dome using toothpicks and gumdrops. Backmatter includes an excellent guide to websites for kids, and the bibliography notes books suitable for young readers. A well-written, extensive history that doesn't seem to know its audience. (afterword, source notes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613749777
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2014
  • Series: For Kids Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 689,074
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Lexile: 1160L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald A. Reis is the author of numerous nonfiction books for kids and young adults, including Christopher Columbus and the Age of Exploration for Kids, with 21 Activities. His biography of Buffalo Bill Cody won the 2011 Spur Award for the best juvenile nonfiction biography about the west, from the Western Writers of America. He lives in Calabasas, California. Henry A. Waxman, a Democrat, is the U.S. representative for California’s 33rd congressional district. Kristi Noem, a Republican, is the U.S. representative for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district.

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