Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: We the Kids

Are you looking for a great introductory civics book? Look no further!  Before your next civics lesson, read We the Kids:  The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, written and illustrated by David Catrow, to learn all about America's ideals.

A long time ago some smart guys had some smart ideas, and they wrote them down in the Preamble to the Constitution.  You have probably read it before, but do you know what it means?  And did it ever make you laugh?  Now it will!  With David Catrow's hilarious art, this fun-filled look at the Preamble provides an accessible look at America's founding ideals for citizens of all ages.  Catrow (2005) writes, “For me, the Constitution is simply a list of rules and promises written down by people just like you and me”(pg 1).  So begin a discussion today  in your classroom!

Curriculum Connections:  In the area of civics, the  Virginia History and Social Studies SOL’s for grades K-3 stresses the importance of  understanding basic civics concepts and that we are united as Americans by common principles.  We the People:  The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States is appropriate for multiple grade levels and could be used to directly address SOL’s 1.10a, 1.12c, 2.12b, 3.11a, and 3.12.

If you would like to create some civics sense in your classroom and find out more about the basics of being a good citizen,  here are a few suggestions for grades K-3:

  • Read the book out loud and ask questions throughout
  • Begin a discussion about the rules of the classroom
  • Ask opinions of your students:  What does it mean to be a good citizen?

Additional Resources:  Try these websites where you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, activities and free online games to aid in your civic education quest.

  • Education World -  a link that takes you directly to ideas for teaching citizenship,  for K-1
  • PBSKids - a link that takes you directly to a civics activity for older kids,for 5th grade.
  • Edible Map – also from PBSKids – an acivity where you create an edible map to learn about the location of their local government buildings.

Book:  We the Kids:  The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States
Author:  David Catrow
Illustrator:  David Catrow
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date:  2005
Pages:  32 pages
Grade Range:  K-3
ISBN-13:  978-0142472064