The Bill of Rights in Translation — Review 1

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Children’s Literature Independent Information and Reviews

What if you could not think and talk freely? What if you went to jail for your thoughts? The text begins with these questions, helping students immediately grasp the importance of the Bill of Rights. As part of the “Kids’ Translations” series, this book includes sections on the meaning of the document, five reasons to care about it, a history and timeline, a vocabulary review, and suggested internet sites. There is also a short index, so this book can be a useful reference tool. The “translation” section works particularly well for the Bill of Rights, with its ten well-defined amendments; about half of this 32-page book is devoted to a clear, concise explanation of each “right.” Because each of the amendments covers a separate legal concern, these pages could be read in any order or be assigned individually. The history section is shorter than in other books in the series, but it is adequate for this topic and includes a short section on how old documents are preserved. The graphics are engaging, using a good mix of photographs and drawings. Several historic documents are shown, but the text is too small to be read. It would have been useful to include a close-up of a section of the Bill, so readers could observe the lettering, spelling, and language used in the eighteenth century; however, an internet link at the end of the book leads readers to federal government sites that allow them to view some documents at high resolution and to learn more about the Constitutional Convention, the ratification process, and the adoption of the Bill of Rights. — Leigh Geiger, Ph.D (Children’s Literature).