Monday, April 26, 2004
In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America's Bill of Rights
Freedman, Russell. 2003. IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY: THE STORY OF AMERICA’S BILL OF RIGHTS. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 0823415856 [Suggested Grade Levels 5 and up]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
Once again, Russell Freedman has provided an informational book steeped in careful research while still reader-friendly in its presentation and style. Freeman weaves together the historical background for each Bill of Right along with contemporary examples of how each right has been tried and tested. He even discusses conflicting and ambiguous interpretations and leads young readers to understand that the Bill of Rights is subject to continuing re-interpretation.
The organization of information is clear and sequential and the book’s contents include a one-page listing of the full ext of the Bill of Rights (also available on the dust jacket). Nearly every two pages incorporate photographs and graphic images that provide visual interest as well as information. Freedman’s work is an outstanding example of a straightforward nonfiction book that presents information in clear, linear fashion and still manages to hook the reader with fascinating details and the author’s own passion for civil rights issues.
Divide into pairs or small groups with each pair/group taking responsibility for a different chapter and Bill of Right. They can read their chapter and dig for current examples of their Bill of Right in the newspaper or on the Web. Then each group can present their findings to the class/large group as a whole.
As young readers consider the civil rights issues presented in Freedman’s book, they can discuss which Bills seem to pertain most to children and to children’s rights. They could even brainstorm their own “Kid’s Bill of Rights.”
Other books for young people about the Bill of Rights:
Krull, Kathleen. A KID’S GUIDE TO AMERICA’S BILL OF RIGHT: CURFEWS, CENSORHIP, AND THE 100-POUND GIANT. ISBN 0380974975
Meltzer, Milton. THE BILL OF RIGHTS. ASIN 0690048076
Rappaport, Doreen. TINKER V. DES MOINES: STUDENT RIGHTS ON TRIAL. ASIN 0064461149
Other books by Freedman that could be connected with this one:
KIDS AT WORK: LEWIS HINE AND THE CRUSADE AGAINST CHILD LABOR. ISBN 0395587034
GIVE ME LIBERTY!: THE STORY OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. ISBN 0823414485
By Sylvia Vardell