Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, October 30, 2023

BIG IDEAS That Changed the World: We The People! by Don Brown

BIG IDEAS that Changed the World: We The People! 
Don Brown
Amulet Books. 2022

In one year, it will be time for another presidential election. As conversations heat up as to who has a right to vote, We The People! is a perfect resource for those students who have questions about the history of our democracy. Paired with Brown’s signature illustrations, this is a great resource for all ages. Adults, too. 

Narrated by Abagail Adams, the wife of one of our Founding Fathers, John Adams, readers are given a civic lesson is just how the United States set about creating our democracy where every American citizen has a right, and duty, to vote in all elections.

It was in 1754, when the colonies had grown to thirteen, “Colonial leader Ben Franklin believed binding the colonies together would make them stronger.”  Franklin was influenced by the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Seneca, and Tuscarora tribes of North America that allowed both men and women to play critical roles in governing. It was in 1787, after the colonists won the American Revolution did the Constitutional Convention met to come up with some kind of plan of government. 

The idea of the three-branch government was based on the Virginia Plan, which took its name from the Virginia sponsors. It took a lot of convincing to go from states governing themselves to a national government. 

Throughout this engaging nonfiction graphic novel, Abagail offers important insight. After the signing of the Declaration for Independence, Abagail comments, “But a Big Idea with a flaw: “Men” meant white landowners and left out everyone else.” She also comments on the injustice of slavery, what led up to the Jim Crow era, women’s right to vote, and ends with Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington (1963) and his belief, “that all men are created equal,” regardless of race, religion, and nationalities. 

“The Big Idea - a Perfect Union - is unfinished, a grand tower wanting completion, its timbers forever being thrown up, then torn down, just to be remade once more, the work of ever-hopeful buildings - we the people.” 

The book includes a select timeline of the making of the United States democracy, a brief bio on Abagail Adams, source notes, author’s note, and index.

The United States is the world’s oldest democracy. How will it age?

Click here to view the art of this book.

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