This is a tough one. If you remember me reviewing this book: Just Fine The Way They Are, you will remember that I do not think politics belong in children’s books. Children have very impressionable minds and they don’t have the power to decide for themselves. They can’t always hear the other side of the story to choose what they believe. They just believe whatever they hear. And, I don’t think children should be burdened with politics when they are too young to really understand and shouldn’t need to worry about it yet. This book is a little different than the previous example. It is not a children’s picture book (although it has some great illustrations), it is written for an older audience, and it doesn’t hide what it is. You know just from looking at the cover that it is a political book, and that it has a conservative bias. Even with all these differences, I think I’m going to stick with my previous thoughts. Politics do not belong in children’s books. It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on or what you believe, children should be left out of it. Now, history is a different matter. Children should definitely be learning about our world, country, and state histories. They need to learn about our constitution and about our founding fathers. They need to be learning about events in our past that have made us who we are today. But, they should be learning it in an unbiased and nonpolitical way.
That being said, for what this book is, it is done well. It is well written, engaging, has some great illustrations, and definitely gets its point across. It is written in an easy-to-read and understand way, and is not boring. My 11 year-old would be able to understand it. There are some references to things that were popular when I was growing up (He-Man), that my son wouldn’t get, but they are explained well so it shouldn’t be a problem. The author gives quite a few quotes from the founding fathers, so it looks as though he did his homework. There are references to things like “Skype” and “Chat” that are humorous and kids today would understand. He also uses texting terms like “LOL” that make it so teens relate to it. There is also some very good historical information that is not biased: it is straightforward and informative. I like that the book talks about the importance of the family and having high moral standards. I don’t think those things are left or right, they are just good things all the way around.
I may be the only person out there that doesn’t think politics should be in books written for children, so I’ll just say that if it is read, I think it should be the starting point of a discussion. And it should be discussed with the parents. I also think you should read a book that leans the other way so children understand that there are other viewpoints. I don’t think this book should be read in schools because it leans too far to one side. It might be okay in a high school government class where the class reads a book written from left and right and they can compare and contrast viewpoints. If you lean conservative, you will probably really like this book. If you don’t, you will most likely not enjoy it.
Rating: G (It’s clean)
Recommendation: High School and Up. Once you get to high school, you begin thinking on your own. You start figuring out who you are and what you really think and believe, and you’re old enough to see hidden (or not hidden) agendas in books or movies.