Updated for a modern audience, the pre-eminent first lady’s views on what government is and does and why having a voice in it all matters.
The female and nonwhite firefighters, garbage collectors, public officials, and jurors in Lin’s bright, racially and gender-diverse illustrations—not to mention references in the narrative to calling 911, to “alderpersons,” and “selectpeople”—were likely not in the original 1932 edition. It’s easy, though, to hear Roosevelt, or at least her voice, in the pellucid descriptions of how local, state, and national governments are organized and the kinds of services they are charged with providing, both in the common-sense tone (“What seems good to you might not be good for the rest of the nation”) and in the inspirational message: “Marking your ballot is one of the most important—and exciting—things you’ll ever do.” Also at least partly new are descriptive notes about each amendment to the Constitution and each position in contemporary presidents’ cabinets, plus an eye-opening explanation of how electoral results can be manipulated through gerrymandering (using “blue” and “purple” voters as examples). Further comments by Roosevelt on citizenship and a brief biography focusing on her causes and character lead in to a short but choice set of more detailed sources of information about her life and work.
Lively, lucid, and timely. (Nonfiction. 8-10)