For more than a century, bean soup has been a favorite menu tradition in U.S. Senate restaurants. In the 1780s, Quebec, Canada, passed on becoming part of the United States because its leaders didn’t like the Articles of Confederation. The word “gerrymander” is a combination of one our Founding Fathers’ names and the word “salamander.”
These and many more fun factoids fill a new book from National Geographic Kids, Weird But True! Know-It-All: U.S. Government. The book, aimed for children ages 8-12, is also filled with educational information of how our government works, from a federal to a local level.
The Santa Fe, N.M.-based author Michael Burgan, who has been writing for kids for more than 35 years, penned this latest book in the Weird But True series, balancing both the “nuts and bolts” of how government works with interesting historical tidbits.
“Teaching kids the mechanics and the importance of being involved and realizing how much these decisions that are made far away can impact their daily lives, I think that’s important to explain that early on,” he says. “It’s good to have a factual understanding of what government does and what it’s supposed to do.”
Fun and factual
The book’s style, combined with its engaging graphics and artwork, should appeal to both kids and adults. It covers the three branches of government, how the electoral college works and the process on how a bill becomes law. It doesn’t take a partisan slant – the book teaches kids what they need to know. However, like many political subjects, there are topics that are up for debate.
One of Burgan’s favorite parts in Weird But True! Know-It-All: U.S. Government are “The Great Debate” sections, which address topics like the filibuster or term limits. Each section defines what the subject is and makes a case for and against it.
“It’s in bites; you don’t have to read it cover to cover to get good information out of it,” Burgan says. “National Geographic Kids has such great designers and access to great photos. They draw you in with the different fonts and colors. I’m so amazed how they can translate what I’ve written and really grab your attention.”
This informational book also outlines how kids can be good citizens.
“We do have a section for what kids can do to get involved,” Burgan says. “Getting informed, helping candidates, speaking up for public officials on issues that are important to them.”
Know it all
This book would be a great gift not only for kids who are interested in history and government, but all kids so they can better understand their country.
“I hope it’ll help children understand how important government is. It impacts our lives and it’s good to know how it works,” Burgan says.
If your Scout is working on the Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation or Citizenship in the World merit badges, this would also make a great companion read.
You can find Weird But True! Know-It-All: U.S. Government on Amazon, where it retails for $12.99 paperback and $9.99 on Kindle.
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