Friday, January 20, 2017

Our Country's Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency

Title: Our Country's Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency
Author: Ann Bausum 
Publisher: National Geographic 
Publication Date: January 10th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Informational 
GoodReads Summary: National Geographic presents the 43 individuals who have led the U.S., plus America's newest commander-in-chief, in this up-to-date, authoritative, and lavishly illustrated family, school, and library reference. It features comprehensive profiles of the 43 former presidents along with timelines and descriptions of crucial events during their terms. Information about the 2016 president-elect is also included. 
Thematic spreads cover a variety of topics from the history of voting rights to writing a presidential letter. Full-page portraits, famous quotes, and fascinating facts help kids get to know each leader. This new volume is a fascinating read and excellent reference for students and kids of all ages." 
What I Think: This book is a wealth of knowledge. It's colorful and the photographs are vibrant. It gives information about each of the presidents and his place in history but also ties ideas from the past into our current context. That's what I see as the power of history. We can learn from the past if our discussions come back to what we know now or what is happening now.
     Today is an important day to the United States. It's the inauguration of a new president. We as people should all be aware of history and how our government works, as we all play our part. I'll be reading this book with my own kids, talking about presidents of past and helping them see what they can do to impact local and federal governments. Reading books like this is the one of the best ways to open kids up to the history that has shaped our world and to help them see themselves in it.
     In the section about Barack Obama there is a quote,

"For as long as I live, I will
never forget that in no other
country on Earth is my story even possible."
Barack Obama
March 18, 2008
And that is a great message to celebrate with students. Their story is possible. Even when it might feel like we as citizens are far away from the officials elected to hold office, the truth is, they are people too. Students can reach out to local representatives and senators or others in office locally and connect with them. This is a start to realizing that they are people and that they listen to the people they represent and work for. Now as much as ever, we have to help students see the active role they can take in government matters.
     I'd also recommend reading Our Country's Presidents with Time For Kids' Presidents of the United States to spur even more discussion. The books are similar but different but both share the stories of the presidents of the United States. As with any discussion of history, it's important to gain different perspectives so I wanted to share this resource as an example of how to do this with students.
Writing Prompt: Write about one things you would like to see the president (or even local legislatures) do for the world?

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