A simple explanation of the rights laid out in the First Amendment, with examples historical and otherwise showing them in operation.
Mihaly, an experienced lawyer and author of a nonfiction series on human rights, restates each constitutional right in plodding but easy-to-understand verse (“Freedom of assembly / means Americans can show— / with marches and with rallies— / what they want the world to know”), with each right allotted one to three double-page spreads. Dramatized tableaux with speech bubbles provide interpretation or context. George Washington responds to a Jewish questioner concerned about freedom of religion; readers meet Congressman Matthew Lyon, who was arrested in 1798 for bad-mouthing President John Adams (and reelected from jail); a fictive group of schoolchildren peaceably gathers to protest the planned closing of a local playground. In the interest of keeping it simple, she does veer into some gray areas; most notably, in an exchange between two children that consists entirely of “You can’t say that!” “Yes I can! It’s a FREE COUNTRY!” she implicitly leaves room for unprotected libel and hate speech. A prose closing section provides further information. Most of Montoya’s carefully individualized human figures are or look like children, even the historical ones, and she includes some characters with visible disabilities and people in religious dress in her racially diverse cast.
Staid but timely, valuable as a gateway to further study. (resource lists) (Informational picture book. 7-10)