Constitution Day (September 17th)!Happy Constitution Day! To celebrate this holiday I suggest reading We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States illustrated by David Catrow. This book does not go into vast detail about the U.S. Constitution; however, it is a good way to begin a conversation about it. Catrow’s illustrations are fun and engaging. He inserts his dog Bubbs into each illustration and you find yourself looking for him each time you turn the page. The topic of the U.S. Constitution is a hefty one for children to chew. Catrow does a good job at putting the complex concepts of the Constitution into manageable chucks for children to understand. However, the approach has a very “kumbaya” feel to it. Meaning, it does not address that people of color were not included in the writing of the U.S. Constitution. He did not address this issue making me believe he wrote this for a very young age group. He did however; insert a very cute little black girl as a re-occurring character throughout the book. I thought that was nice even though the constitution was written without her in mind. This book has great illustrations and would be a great way to begin the conversation about the U.S. Constitution, but if you are looking for a book that is more encompassing of the entire dialog about the U.S. Constitution, this is not the book for that.
Things to Think About
The U.S. Constitution is heavy stuff in relationship to African Americans. We were not thought of when it was drafted, nor at the table, or afforded the rights within it. It is hard to address tough topics like racism and discrimination to young people especially when those encounters are far less than that of our ancestors. I think young people feel they are so far removed from such a discriminatory and racist past but they are not. We have been out of slavery less time than we were in it. When you really reflect on that it puts things into perspective.Reading Activity
In honor of National Constitution Day have your child(ren) write a household constitution. Start by reading We the Kids and discuss the issues above. Have your reader(s) read the definition of constitution (a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed). Explain that you all are going to draft a household constitution. As they begin to come up with ideas remind them to be inclusive and fair to everyone in your household. Get creative with it and put it on nice paper for them to decorate. Post it somewhere in the house for everyone to see and be reminded of their household rights.