Published May 2nd 2017 by Philomel Books
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
Did you know that when America was founded one out of every five people was a slave? Or that Susan B. Anthony was arrested for trying to vote? Or that 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a city bus nine months before Rosa Parks did? It’s true!
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he declared that all men should be created equal and everyone should have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It was an incredible idea, one that led to the founding of our country—but when Jefferson wrote it, there were lots of people who weren’t considered equal and weren’t free to pursue happiness. In this kid-friendly, fact-filled book, young readers will find out how Americans fought for—and won!—their freedoms.
This book is perfect for fans of The One and Only Declaration of Independence, John, Paul, George & Ben, and Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution—and after this fraught election year, is a great way to talk about our country, its values, and the rights we all enjoy.
It's a thoughtful, detailed look at the various struggles for freedom that have been undertaken in the history of our nation, both legislatively and historically. Shamir and Faulkner do a solid job of showing both how our founders constructed freedom, but also how that system has and hasn't worked out, throughout the decades, including candid explanations at how our nation has needed to do better when it comes to slavery, and women's right to vote.
Though Shamir and Faulkner do a solid job of presenting the book both in a linear and well-rounded format - they walk us through key events/creations of our government, and how it has impacted everything from 1776 to today - the sheer volume of information might be too much for younger picture book readers. But I can absolutely see it appealing to those who are beginning to understand American history for the first time, and would actually recommend it as a nice primer for first and second graders.
The art in this volume is just as great as the previous What's the Big Deal... volumes, and I'm looking forward to more from the Shamir/Faulkner team. These books are more important than ever, so highly recommend, full stop.
About the authors:
Matt Faulkner (www.mattfaulkner.com) is an award-winning children's book author and illustrator who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. With 39 illustrated books to his credit, Matt enjoys working on projects both historical and fantastical in nature (and he concentrates very hard not to get them confused). His most recent graphic novel GAIJIN: AMERICAN PRISONER OF WAR (Disney/Hyperion) won the Asian/PacificALA award for 2015. He is married to author and children's librarian, Kris Remenar. They worked together to create the delightful picture book GROUNDHOG'S DILEMMA (Charlesbridge). They live with their two kids and two cats in the lower right hand corner of Michigan. Follow him on Twitter @MattFaulkner1.