Power to the People | Government, Law & Politics Series Nonfiction

Several series this season explore the electoral process as well as timely political issues such as immigration, the opioid epidemic, and hate crimes.


Several series this season explore the electoral process as well as timely political issues such as immigration, the opioid epidemic, and hate crimes. The evolution of laws for voters, consumers, workers, and the poor are explained. True crime stories are of perennial interest, and much information is presented on famous and intriguing cases, from the Lizzie Borden ax murders to the deaths of hip-hop legends Biggie and Tupac. Those looking for report information or support for classroom discussion on any of the above issues should find some of these volumes very useful.



Berne, Emma Carlson. Election Campaigns: A Kid’s Guide. ISBN 9781543592085.
Meister, Cari. Democratic Values: A Kid’s Guide. ISBN 9781543591415.
––––. The Electoral College: A Kid’s Guide. ISBN 9781543591385.
––––. Political Parties: A Kid’s Guide. ISBN 9781543591408.
Yomtov, Nel. Voting: A Kid’s Guide. ISBN 9781543591392.
ea vol: 32p. (Kids’ Guide to Elections). Capstone. Jan. 2020. Tr. $21.99.
Gr 3-5 –Various aspects of U.S. elections are introduced to elementary school students in these age-appropriate volumes. Brief facts are included. Colorful pictures of recent presidential campaigns complement the text. The narratives are mostly factual, if not engrossing. Unfortunately, there are errors in Voting (“Election Day is always the first Tuesday of November in an election year”) and Political Parties, which points out the Democratic Party was founded in 1828 then states that was more than 200 years ago. VERDICT Libraries should definitely pass on Voting and Political Parties. The other titles should be considered additional purchases.


Corso, Phil. The Electoral College. ISBN 9781725310766.
––––. Presidential Debates. ISBN 9781725310926.
Harts, Shannon H. Voting for the President of the United States. ISBN 9781725311046.
Haynes, Danielle. Inauguration Day. ISBN 9781725310841.
––––. Presidential Nominations. ISBN 9781725310964.
––––. Presidential Primaries and Caucuses. ISBN 9781725311008.
Linde, Barbara Martina. Fund-Raising for Presidential Candidates. ISBN 9781725310803.
McPartland, Lisa. Presidential Campaigns. ISBN 9781725310889.
ea vol: 32p. (U.S. Presidential Elections: How They Work). Rosen/PowerKids. Jan. 2020. Tr. $26.25.
Gr 4-6 –These seven books thoroughly cover every aspect of the presidential election process. Readers learn how candidates raise funds, how primaries and caucuses are conducted, the history of voting, details of the Electoral College, and the history of presidential debates. All titles cover every important detail of their respective subjects in an objective manner. Colorful photos from recent elections enhance otherwise uninteresting narratives. Much information overlaps (for example, the Electoral College is featured in multiple titles). Given this is an election year, this series will be useful for reports and classroom discussions. VERDICT These timely titles will be of value during the election year, and individual volumes should be ­selected as needed.


Kortuem, Amy. The City Mayor. ISBN 9781977113948.
––––. The U.S. House of Representatives. ISBN 9781977113931.
––––. The U.S. Supreme Court. ISBN 9781977113993.
––––. Voting in Elections. ISBN 9781977114006.
Rustad, Martha E. H. The President of the United States. ISBN 9781977113955.
––––. Serving on a Jury. ISBN 9781977113986.
––––. The State Governor. ISBN 9781977113917.
––––. The U.S. Senate. ISBN 9781977113979.
ea vol: 32p. (U.S. Government). Capstone/Pebble. Jan. 2020. Tr. $21.99.
Gr 1-3 –This series explains the duties and responsibilities of various civic roles in simple, straightforward language. Interesting facts are included (Barack Obama was the first African American president; Sam Houston was the only person to have been governor of two states). The narratives are adequate if not enticing. Colorful photographs enhance the text. Unfortunately, The U.S. House of Representatives contains a glaring error and misleading information: “Rhode Island has only one member in the House,” and “Other states, such as California, can have more than 50 members.” The other books provide age-appropriate information. VERDICT An election year means most of these titles will be serviceable in explaining government roles and, excluding The U.S. House of Representatives, should be considered as needed.

Mihaly, Christy. Ask a Congressperson. ISBN 9781731629111.
––––. Ask a Judge. ISBN 9781731629173.
––––. Ask the Attorney General. ISBN 9781731629142.
––––. Ask the Governor. ISBN 9781731629050.
––––. Ask the Mayor. ISBN 9781731629029.
––––. Ask the President. ISBN 9781731629081.
ea vol: 24p. (Governing the United States). Rourke/Discovery Library. Jan. 2020. Tr. $29.93.
Gr 1-4 –These easy-to-read titles provide basic introductions to various elected officials who govern at the federal, state, or local level. Each book explains the requirements of the positions as well as the duties of the jobs. Judges can be appointed or elected; congresspeople must be 25 years old; the president directs the armed forces; and governors run the executive branch of the states. Interesting facts are included: Judges can conduct weddings; most state attorneys general are elected; and congresspeople get free parking at the airport. All titles feature color ­photographs representing the diversity of people in the various offices. VERDICT This series ­provides sufficient introductory information on federal, state, and local officials that will be of value in the election year and beyond.


Acks, Alex. Key Labor Laws. ISBN 9781502655301.
––––. Key Social Safety Net Laws. ISBN 9781502655332.
––––. Key Voting Laws. ISBN 9781502655363.
Hurt, Avery Elizabeth. Key Environmental Laws. ISBN 9781502655240.
MacCarald, Clara. Key Consumer Rights Laws. ISBN 9781978514324.
Ohnaka, Kathryn. Key Civil Rights Laws. ISBN 9781502655219.
––––. Key Immigration Laws. ISBN 9781502655271.
ea vol: 80p. (Laws That Changed History). Rosen/Cavendish Square. Jan. 2020. Tr. $35.65.
Gr 7 Up –These seven volumes provide overviews of their respective topics. The text explains the amendments guaranteeing citizens’ rights, various civil rights acts, labor laws, environmental protections, and laws protecting consumers, minorities, workers, and the poor. Histories of movements are reviewed. Most of the information is presented chronologically and is current, with the inclusion of the Green New Deal and universal basic income. Laws pertaining to each topic are discussed as well as related court opinions. The authors strongly advocate for the various rights. Overall, these titles are quite readable. Key Consumer Rights Laws and Key Social Safety Net Laws address topics not frequently found elsewhere. VERDICT These perennial report topics are informative. Libraries should purchase as needed.


Allen, John. Detaining and Deporting Undocumented Immigrants. ISBN 9781682827833.
Allman, Toney. Birthright Citizenship. ISBN 9781682827635.
Cummings, Judy Dodge. Border Control and the Wall. ISBN 9781682827659.
Gallagher, Jim. Refugees and Asylum. ISBN 9781682827673.
Sheen, Barbara. The Dreamers and DACA. ISBN 9781682827697.
ea vol: 80p. (Immigration Issues). ReferencePoint. Mar. 2020. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 6 Up –Immigration is certainly a hot political topic, and these five volumes provide a comprehensive overview of its numerous aspects. Readers learn how the United States is one of the few countries that recognizes jus soli (birthright citizenship). The text also explains the history and role of Border Patrol, problems with detaining undocumented immigrants, President Obama’s executive order allowing Dreamers certain rights, and under what circumstances asylum is granted. All titles are generally positive in championing the rights of immigrants. Issues not frequently found elsewhere (such as birthright tourism) are discussed. The information provided is current through 2019. VERDICT The timely issue of immigration is well explored in these volumes, which should be of use to readers with an interest in the topic and report writers alike.


Braun, Eric. Big Pharma and the Opioid Epidemic: From Vicodin to Heroin. ISBN 9780756564117.
Smith-Llera, Danielle. Hate Crime in America: From Prejudice to Violence. ISBN 9780756564094.
––––. Immigration in America: Asylum, Borders, and Conflicts. ISBN 9780756564155.
Stanborough, Rebecca. She/He/They/Them: Understanding Gender Identity. ISBN 9780756564131.
ea vol: 64p. (Informed!). Capstone/Compass Point. Jan. 2020. Tr. $35.32.
Gr 5-9 –Current political topics are explored in these four informational volumes. All books contain up-to-date information and facts, but they are far from comprehensive. The authors convey strong convictions: Pharmaceutical companies are the primary cause of opioid addiction; hate crimes are mostly committed by white supremacists; and undocumented immigrants are largely responsible for the successful economy. She/He/They/Them devotes several pages advising how the LGBTQ community should be addressed and treated. VERDICT She/He/They/Them is the standout title in this series. However, readers seeking more balanced information on complex issues covered in the books will need to look elsewhere.


Burling, Alexis. The Son of Sam Killings. ISBN 9781532190148.
Edwards, Sue Bradford. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. ISBN 9781532190087.
––––. The Murders of Tupac and Biggie. ISBN 9781532190124.
Kortemeier, Todd. The O.J. Simpson Murder Case. ISBN 9781532190131.
Mooney, Carla. The Lizzie Borden Ax Murders. ISBN 9781532190100.
––––. The Zodiac Killer. ISBN 9781532190155.
Regan, Michael. The Gardner Museum Heist. ISBN 9781532190094.
Streissguth, Tom. The Manson Family ­Murders. ISBN 9781532190117.
ea vol: 112p. (American Crime Stories). ABDO/Essential Library. Dec. 2019. Tr. $37.07.
Gr 6 Up –Fans of crime stories will find these eight volumes informative. Each explores the respective crimes in detail and includes time lines, histories of the criminals, and theories for the unresolved cases. The books share important information: the chronology of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the facts of the Borden murders, witness accounts of the Zodiac Killer’s crimes, paintings stolen in the Gardner Museum heist, and the backgrounds of the suspected killers of Tupac and Biggie. While the Son of Sam and Manson murders have been resolved, the other cases still pose questions. Facts are presented objectively. Unfortunately, the narratives tend to be a little tedious, with the exception of The Zodiac Killer; its description of the murders and abductions is quite chilling. VERDICT True crime stories continue to fascinate; those looking for information on these famous cases will find these books helpful. Purchases should be based on demand.

Readers will find “U.S. Presidential Elections: How They Work” (Rosen/PowerKids) useful for reports in the election year. Likewise, some of the titles in “Kids’ Guide to Elections” (Capstone) and “U.S. Government” (Capstone/Pebble) will be serviceable. “American Crime Stories” (ABDO/Essential Library) will provide helpful information to readers with an interest in true murder mysteries. Finally, “Laws That Changed History” (Rosen/Cavendish Square) and “Immigration Issues” (Reference Point) will enhance discussions in social studies units.


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