Graphic Novel Review: We The People! (Big Ideas That Changed The World) by Don Brown

We The People! (Big Ideas That Changed The World) by Don Brown. Amulet, 2022. 9781419757389. 124pp. including notes on specific pages, which name sources for quotes (yay!), a selected bibliography, author’s notes, a fairly detailed index, a timeline, and a short biography of Abigail Adams.

Brown’s history of American democracy is narrated by Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams. It begins thousands of years ago before there were countries (with a roast beef sandwich). (She’s a brilliant narrator, and she’s very well-positioned to comment on how men ruled.) The first leaders and the first cities (and Hammurabi’s Code) lead to monarchies, but Adams explains that even thousands of years ago there were republics in India, Africa, and Australia, which leads to a quick description of the republic in ancient Greece. This all takes up a little more than 20 pages of this fast-paced graphic nonfiction book, which makes a point of looking beyond common myths about the founding of the U.S. to point out its hypocrisies (slavery, treatment of Native Americans) and its many influences, like the Iroquois Confederacy. As with other books by Brown, it’s simply and effectively drawn, and it also cites its sources!

Worth noting: this book is intended for kids, but I truly enjoyed reading it. Put a bunch of copies where students can find them. (Here’s hoping they read this book to their parents, who might enjoy it too.)

Other books in the series deal with vaccinations and infectious diseases, rockets, and computers.


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