Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Liberty

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Cartoon Nation presents Liberty a book that contains tons of facts and information about the political philosophy concept of liberty. Since liberty identifies people's rights and the ability to act according to one’s own will this book is a good one to use during instruction about civics. The book covers many facets of liberty including its origin in the United States, what it has meant throughout history (specifically focusing on liberty in the United States). There are several chapters with discussions of the development of our government’s understanding of liberty and information about other countries who lack a sense of liberty and the implications these countries and their people face as a result of severe government control (examples presented: Darfur, Sri Lanka, and China). The book concludes with a great section about what America would be like without liberty and that liberty should never be taken for granted. The book encourages the reader as citizens of the United States to make wise and good decisions and act appropriately as thanks to those who fought for our freedom and that acting within reason is an important way of ensuring that as we grow we will continue to be able to make decisions for ourselves.

The book is written by Terry Collins and illustrated by Brian Bascle.

Curriculum Connections

This book can be used in the classroom during talk about citizenship, liberty, freedom, right, civics, or many other topics discussed in elementary social studies instruction. The book could satisfy many VA SOLs but I think this book would be best for grades 3-5 and I felt that is best aligned with VA SOL 3.10 and 3.12 for civics instruction. The book’s content covers all of these strands and many more additional points about liberty and American goverment matters.

The student will recognize why government is necessary in the classroom, school, and community by
a)    explaining the purpose of rules and laws;
b)    explaining that the basic purposes of government are to make laws, carry out laws, and decide if laws have been broken;
c)    explaining that government protects the rights and property of individuals.

3.12    The student will recognize that Americans are a people of diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who are united by the basic principles of a republican form of government and respect for individual rights and freedoms.

Additional Resources

Great blog for kids all about liberty !

Excellent kid-friendly interactive website about Liberty Kids!

Awesome website published by the White House that has everything to do with being young citizens of the United States of America!

General Information

Book:  Liberty

Author:  Terry Collins

Illustrator:  Brian Bascle

Publisher:  Capstone Press

Publication Date:  2009

Pages:  32

Grade Range:  Grades 3-5

ISBN:  978-1-4296-2340-7