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Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation Paperback – February 1, 2009
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After the war for independence, there really wasn't much of a United States of America. There were just thirteen separate states. Problems. One big problem was money. Each state printed its own. States wouldn't accept the money of other states. And who would fight for these thirteen separate states? Finally, fifty-five men came together from twelve states (no Rhode Island) to figure things out and the result was the amazing Constitution of the United States. It still works today because of the brilliance and cooperation of those who met together to create this document.
Cold hard facts are the text of this book, but it is the fun illustrations that really explain and expound upon the the subject. It is the illustrations that kept me reading along. Very kid friendly. And for a subject that can be way over the heads of many ten year olds.
An afterword explains the process of the Constitution in detail as does a notes section that expands upon the most complicated parts of the book in a clever question-answer format. The book also includes a web link to the Constitution with an invitation to read the document for oneself and a lengthy bibliography.
There's a readers' theater script available online at the author's website which further extends the value of this book in the classroom. It's a simple 4 page script incorporating 18 parts. Students find delight in this fresh approach! Watch students "get it" as they assume the various roles and re-enact the Convention! Bravo!
An additional praise ... the author has put together a story that embraces our multicultural population and demonstrates that our constitution is for "We the people!"
Love the book! (And the readers' theater that goes with it!) A treasure!
I'm not a big fan of the illustrations in this book, but I love the idea of acting out American History. This book is great on why the Articles of Confederation could not work. It is ok on separation of powers and the Connecticut compromise. It is silent on specific regional differences and the slavery headcounts in the 3/5 compromise. It claims the Constitution is a "living document" - bah. The illustrations are a combination of GREAT (backdrops/historical buildings/creative scenery) and WRETCHED (the horrid people).
All in all, after you have taught about the Articles of Confederation, this modern- cartoonish book might be just the thing to help your kids get creative.