AN INTERVIEW WITH MARGARET FINNEGAN AUTHOR OF SUSIE B. WON'T BACK DOWN (Atheneum BYR; $17.99,…
OUR COUNTRY’S PRESIDENTS (2020 Edition):
A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency
Written by Ann Bausum
(NatGeoKids; $24.99, Ages 8-12)
PRESIDENTS’ DAY 2021
This excellent sixth edition of Ann Bausum’s comprehensive coverage of our nation’s presidents aptly titled Our Country’s Presidents makes this the go-to book for at home or in school. It also includes the 2020 election so readers will be up-to-date if using the book as reference material. While Joseph R. Biden was recently elected 46th President of the United States, this book spans all the way back to the nascent days of the U.S. presidency with fascinating facts, all meticulously researched and presented in 224 color pages.
Our Country’s Presidents can be read in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons and can be enjoyed by children as well as adults. I appreciate how at the start readers are provided with a full page describing how to use the book. This follows a Foreward by author and 60 Minutes correspondent John Dickerson and an Introduction. Then the book is broken down into six historical time periods from 1789 to the present making it easy to jump around depending on the era or president in question. There is an illustrated timeline at the start of each section to help frame all of the events that impacted the period, from “wars to inventions, explorations to protests.”
Additionally, those keeping up with current events can learn about the electoral college, the role of the vice presidency, the two-party system, plus first ladies, the White House construction and things you didn’t even realize you wanted to know! ” I decided to look up different presidents I knew little about and found interesting facts: Did you know that Martin Van Buren, our country’s 8th president, was the first one to be born a U.S. citizen? Previous presidents had been born during colonial America making them British subjects at birth. Or that Andrew Johnson, our 17th president, went on to become a U.S. senator? He was the only one to do so after his presidency.
Key features include:
- Information about the 2021 president-elect and the 2020 election results as of the publication date
- A brand-new thematic spread on the impeachment process and its history
- Revised terminology around the language of slavery and analysis of early presidents who benefitted from and relied on enslaved labor
- Comprehensive profiles of all the former presidents along with timelines and descriptions of crucial events during their terms
- Thematic spreads covering a variety of topics from the history of voting rights to how to write a letter to the president
- Full-page portraits, famous quotes, and fascinating facts to help kids get to know each leader
I have always been a fan of National Geographic nonfiction books for kids and this one is no exception. You may have to wait your turn to read it because I bet your tween will be hooked. It’s entertaining, educational, timely and is packed with 400 illustrations, famous quotes, presidential portraits and nicknames and so much more. Our Country’s Presidents provides the chance to find out about a plethora of presidential “scandals and shining moments” you won’t soon forget.
- Reviewed by Ronna Mandel
Click here to read a review of another middle grade book for Presidents’ Day