Oh, how tough life must’ve been back in the late 1700s! Our narrator, Abigail Adams, takes the reader through the history of democracy from as far back as we know to the present day.
We are taken on a journey through the beginning ideas of democracy from Ancient Egypt to its spread and rise in popularity throughout Europe. The book focuses on how democracy came to be how it is today in the United States. It chronologically explains not only major events and turning points, but highlights lots of interesting facts.
Author, Don Brown, doesn’t sugar coat this story either. It was clearly not a smooth, straight path to arrive where America is today. Examples include startling events such as the entire Roanoke colony failing to survive, and disappearing after being one of two colonies sent by King James I to colonize in Virginia. Meanwhile the colony in Jamestown barely survived and even had to resort to eating their deceased neighbors to prevent starving to death. It is not graphic or inappropriate for children, the author simply shares harsh facts of the challenges people faced. It ends on the note that things are not perfect and there are still areas in which America can improve to ensure a free and fair democracy for all.
Author and illustrator, Brown, has a simplistic drawing style that makes reading a densely fact filled book like this a lot more fun. Oftentimes, pictures add a lot of clarity for the reader, such as providing a map of the location discussed, or visually showing the struggle that people faced. This adds a lot of clarity for readers who could be unfamiliar with some of the vocabulary used. To end tis work, there is a timeline included, a short biography of Abigail Adams and a very well done section of references that include corresponding page numbers.
Overall, this is an awesome nonfiction graphic novel. It is packed with information, nicely illustrated and includes a full reference list at the end. I have never read a middle school graphic novel that has so much detail and is so well researched. I am really impressed with this book and look forward to learning more by reading the rest of the books in this series.
Big Ideas That Changed the World, vol 4: We The People Vol. 4
By Don Brown
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)