The Fundamentals of Democracy | Government & Civics Series Nonfiction

Several series this season will be useful for report writing and readers whose interest has been ignited by press coverage of the 2020 presidential election.



 Several series this season will be useful for report writing and readers whose interest has been ignited by press coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Histories of political parties, the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers are explained. Young readers who have an interest in the United States military will find suitable introductions to the various branches.



Chang, Kirsten. Governor. ISBN 9781644872017.
––––. President. ISBN 9781644872031.
––––. Vice President. ISBN 9781644872062.
Schuh, Mari. The House of Representatives. ISBN 9781644872024.
––––. The Senate. ISBN 9781644872048.
––––. The Supreme Court. ISBN 9781644872055.
ea vol: 24p. (Our Government). Bellwether/Blastoff! Readers. Aug. 2020. Tr. $25.95.
K-Gr 3 –These six titles describe offices of the U.S. government. Important facts and the requirements for each position are listed. The simple language is suitable for beginning readers, and the colorful pictures complement the text. In The House of Representatives, the photographs of the respective leaders depict racial and gender diversity, but they lack political diversity. There is only one congressperson shown who is not a member of the Democratic Party (Matt Gaetz). These eye-catching titles provide accurate information, but the target audience may not be interested in these subjects. VERDICT These informative, well-packaged books will best serve school libraries where the topics are a part of the curriculum.



Finch, Fletcher C. Article III: Building the Court System. ISBN 9781538258606.
Kawa, Katie. Article II: Building the Executive Branch. ISBN 9781538258569.
Keppeler, Jill. The Constitutional Convention: Creating the Constitution. ISBN 9781538258484.
Levy, Jane. The Bill of Rights: Guaranteeing Liberty. ISBN 9781538258682.
Machajewski, Sarah. The Constitution’s Last Four Articles: From States’ Rights to Amendments. ISBN 9781538258644.
McDonnell, Julia. Article I: Building the ­Congress. ISBN 9781538258521.
ea vol: 32p. (The Constitution Explained!). Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2020. Tr. $26.60.
Gr 4-6 –This series provides overviews of the main facets of the U.S. Constitution, as well as a history of the Constitutional Convention. The Bill of Rights details the original 10 amendments and offers commentary on various interpretations. For instance, the ongoing debate about the Second Amendment is featured. The Great Compromise is explained in The Constitutional Convention; the text also discusses the challenge of ratification. Reproductions of paintings and photographs of current representatives and senators match the text without necessarily enhancing it. Though more informative than engaging, these titles will be valuable for students interested in the hows and whys of American government. VERDICT An election year often reinvigorates public interest in the Constitution. This series delivers required information for reports and will be useful in school and public libraries.

Morey, Allan. U.S. Air Force. ISBN 9781645274193.
––––. U.S. Army. ISBN 9781645274216.
––––. U.S. Coast Guard. ISBN 9781645274230.
––––. U.S. Marine Corps. ISBN 9781645274254.
––––. U.S. National Guard. ISBN 9781645274278.
––––. U.S. Navy. ISBN 9781645274292.
ea vol: 24p. (U.S. Armed Forces). Jump!/Pogo. Aug. 2020. Tr. $26.99.
Gr 2-5 –These titles spotlight the U.S. military branches. Job descriptions are explained in simple language. Special services are mentioned, such as the Navy SEALS and Army Rangers. Some weapons are featured, including the C-5M Galaxy aircraft, the M1 Abrams tank, and aircraft carriers. The text highlights the everyday activities of military personnel. Peacetime activities (disaster relief and sea rescue) are centered rather than the combat roles of the different branches. Readers learn important facts: A college education is required to become an officer; the primary mission of each branch is to defend the United States. Large, vivid photographs include women and minorities and help emphasize the diversity of the modern military. VERDICT These attractive, informational volumes are recommended for school and public libraries and will appeal to those with an interest in the armed forces.

Weber, M. Democracy. ISBN 9781503844995.
––––. Our Founding Fathers. ISBN 9781503844971.
––––. Political Parties. ISBN 9781503844988.
––––. The White House. ISBN 9781503845008.
ea vol: 24p. (How America Works). The Child’s World. Aug. 2020. Tr. $29.93.
Gr 3-6 –This fact-filled series provides straightforward information. In Democracy, Weber explains the history of the concept and includes facts about the Athenian democracy of Socrates and Plato. Our Founding Fathers profiles some early American statesmen, including George Washington, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. Political Parties examines the founding of the Democratic and Republican parties while using simple language to describe each party’s views and philosophy. The White House outlines a history of the mansion and describes the changes made by various first families. The text shares interesting facts, such as the White House has 96 full-time employees and the United States is one of the world’s oldest democracies. The narratives are basic and utilitarian, but Weber maintains objectivity. The text does not pass judgment on the Founding Fathers, and the ideals of the two major political parties are presented in a factual, direct manner. Colorful photos and reproductions of portraits complement the text. VERDICT These well-informed volumes will be useful for report writing. Democracy and Political Parties will have a greater demand during this election year.

Wesgate, Kathryn. Famous Presidential Elections. ISBN 9781538259689.
––––. The General Election. ISBN 9781538259528.
––––. The History of Political Parties. ISBN 9781538259481.
––––. How Does Voting Work? ISBN 9781538259603.
––––. Landmark Voting Laws. ISBN 9781538259641.
––––. Primaries and Caucuses. ISBN 9781538259566.
ea vol: 32p. (A Look at U.S. Elections). Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2020. Tr. $26.60.
Gr 2-4 –These comprehensive titles provide objective coverage of elections in the United States. Readers learn various facts: The 1800 presidential election was tied; voters must be at least 18 years of age to cast a ballot; the 15th and 19th Amendments impacted voter eligibility. The text also explains the roles of primaries and caucuses in presidential elections, why election day is held on a Tuesday, and the formation of U.S. political parties. Close-up photographs, especially those of ballots, candidates, and people at the polls, enhance the text and depict the diversity of voters. The information throughout gives readers a better understanding of the election process. VERDICT This series will engage readers who are interested in this year’s election cycle. Students who need these resources for report writing may be pleasantly surprised.

“A Look at U.S. Elections” (Gareth ­Stevens) offers enjoyable narratives and information for report writers. The large, bright photographs of United States service people in “U.S. Armed Forces” (Jump!/Pogo) will appeal to young armed forces enthusiasts. “Our ­Government” (Bellwether/Blastoff! Readers), “The Constitution Explained!” (Gareth Stevens), and “How America Works” (The Child’s World) provide sufficient information for reports ­detailing an election year.

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