Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Our Constitution Rocks!

Juliette Turner (on twitter: @JuiletteTurner)  wrote a fantastic book on the US Constitution, Our Constitution ROCKS! Published when she was only fourteen (she's now sixteen), the book is intended to reach teenagers and young adults with the message that the Constitution is important and relevant today.

Even though its intended audience is young people, its message is not watered-down in the least. In fact, it is one of the most complete and detailed introductions to the Constitution that I've seen, literally examining every article, section, clause, and amendment.

The layout and graphics of the book are designed to appeal to young adults, so don't expect pages and pages of dry text like you might find in college textbook on the subject. Rather, expect 224 pages of interesting, easy-to-read explanations, facts, quotes, definitions, trivia, and other tidbits, broken down into short sections ranging from one sentence to a few short paragraphs. It is designed so that the information can be read and absorbed quickly by a generation of folks used to communicating via text messaging.


Each "chapter" of the book corresponds to a clause of the Constitution, and breaks the explanation of that clause into sections:

The Bottom Line: A simple, understandable modern-language version of what the clause it about.

What Were They Thinking?: Why they thought it was important to include the clause.

Why Should I Care?: How it affects us today.

Breakin' It Down: More detail and context.

How Can I Make a Difference?: How the reader can use the knowledge you just learned.

What Has It Done For Me Lately?: Modern day examples of the clause in action.

Fun Facts: Quotes, trivia, and other tidbits.

One thing I really like about the book is that Juliette Turner includes lots of quotes from our Founders as they debated over the Constitution. These quotes appear throughout the book, often in sections entitled "Debate" (see the picture below). These quotes help provide context and show what the Founders were thinking in their own words.


There is also a three page Bibliography in the back of the book which includes information on essays, books, articles, and websites that will help the reader further explore topics of interest to them.

Don't let the age of the book's author, or its intended audience, fool you. This is a complete, and very intelligent, introduction to the Constitution. Perfect for teens, it is also useful for adults, particularly for those needing a first introduction to the Constitution. Not only is it "not boring," like some might fear of a book on such a subject, but it is quite interesting and informative.

Going into the holiday season, I highly recommend this as a gift for any teens on your Christmas or Hanukkah list. And if you are looking for a good introduction to the Constitution, pick up a copy for yourself. You won't be disappointed, and you will learn a lot.

I should also note that Juliette Turner has a new book out, Our Presidents Rock!  I will post a review at a later date, after I've read it. 

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