Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 09/01/2015 Gr 5–8—In this highly accessible introduction to politics, Keenan provides readers with a brief yet relatively thorough overview of how government policy works. Focusing primarily on North American political processes and emphasizing the importance of active, informed citizenship, Keenan explains concepts such as policy vs. process, the ideological spectrum, and the checks and balances built into many democratic systems. Supporting these ideas are real-life case studies and examples both familiar (Malala Yousafzai and her advocacy for girls' education) and lesser known (Jane Jacobs and her city planning activism) that make complex topics more clear and engaging; sidebars, diagrams, and in-text definitions of key words also keep readers involved while breaking up longer passages into more manageable blocks of information. McLaughlin's whimsical color illustrations perfectly suit the narrative by keeping the tone light without detracting from the content. The book's most noticeable drawback, however, is that it's too optimistic; examples from the darker side of politics are lacking, as are non-Western models of government. VERDICT A useful addition to most collections.—Audrey Sumser, Kent State University at Tuscarawas, New Philadelphia, OH - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 10/01/2015 This breezy introduction to becoming politically aware goes down easy, thanks to accessible content that will resonate with most students. Keenan avoids traditional approaches based on systems of government in favor of the compelling argument that, since everyone is affected by politics, everyone, including kids, should be aware of how politics work. He identifies three powerful tools—public opinion, public rhetoric, and public debate—and provides realistic examples and case studies that showcase their effectiveness. These scenarios often feature young activists, including international luminaries as well as local heroes active in grassroots movements, and an entire chapter is dedicated to staying informed, with an added focus on media bias.This offering will be especially powerful when paired with other accounts of social activism, such as Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala (2014) or Paula Yoo’s Twenty-Two Cents (2014). Politics can be a dense, complex topic, and this logical, relevant approach, combined with realistic suggestions on how to get involved, makes for an engaging alternative to standardized texts and just might spark some political careers. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

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