Our Government: How It Works, How It Protects | Government & Military Series Nonfiction

Readers are introduced to various aspects of the United States military and how the United States government works. 

Readers are introduced to various aspects of the U.S. military and how our government works. Symbols of America and information about the states, national parks, and presidents are also included. All are informative and some will be enjoyed by those interested in particular topics.



Besel, Jen. U.S. Air Force. ISBN 9781623107604.
––––. U.S. Army. ISBN 9781623107611.
––––. U.S. Coast Guard. ISBN 9781623107628.
––––. U.S. Marines. ISBN 9781623107635.
––––. U.S. Navy. ISBN 9781623107642.
––––. U.S. Special Ops Forces. ISBN 9781623107659.
ea vol: 24p. (Mighty Military). Black Rabbit/Bolt Jr. Jan. 2023. Tr. $35.70.
PreS-Gr 2 –Using simple language and straightforward narratives, the author of these six volumes succinctly relates basic details of the various branches of the United States military. Each volume contains diagrams of sample vehicles (e.g., Coast Guard cutter, aircraft carrier, fighter jet) or gear of a soldier and Marine. Readers learn various facts, such as the Marines require 13 weeks in boot camp, only half the candidates for Army Ranger school pass, the Coast Guard has 42,000 members, and the Navy was founded in 1775. Colorful accompanying photographs of personnel display the diversity of the modern armed forces. Young enthusiasts will also appreciate the pictures of ships, planes, and firearms. VERDICT Very young readers interested in the military will find these titles suitable introductions, and purchase should be considered where there is a demand.

Carr, Aaron. American Flag. ISBN 9781791144944.
––––. Great Seal. ISBN 9781791144975.
––––. Lincoln Memorial. ISBN 9781791145002.
––––. The Star-Spangled Banner. ISBN 9781791145033.
––––. White House. ISBN 9781791145064.
Lepp Friesen, Helen. Uncle Sam. ISBN 9781791134884.
ea vol: 24p. (Icons of America). Lightbox Learning/AV2. Jan. 2023. Tr. $32.84.
Gr 1-3 –Six uniquely American symbols are explained in these introductory volumes. Important facts are related, such as there have been 27 different versions of the U.S. flag since its inception, the Lincoln Memorial took eight years to build, the White House is the oldest federal building in Washington, D.C., and Thomas Nast popularized the iconic version of Uncle Sam. Complementary bright and colorful photographs are found on every page. The information is fairly comprehensive given the target audience, however, there are a couple of small errors. Great Seal states that the seal was “first used by President George Washington on September 16, 1782” (Washington did not use the seal until his presidency which began in 1789). Star Spangled Banner makes no mention of the music to which Francis Scott Key’s words were set, thus causing readerx to infer he wrote the music as well. Most of these topics are addressed in other titles, so these volumes, though attractive, may not be necessary.VERDICT Excepting the volumes Great Seal and Star Spangled Banner, this set of books succinctly and factually introduce important American symbols and should be considered only where titles need to be refreshed.

Huddleston, Emma. George Washington. ISBN 9781637394687.
––––. John F. Kennedy. ISBN 9781637394649.
––––. Theodore Roosevelt. ISBN 9781637394670.
London, Martha. Abraham Lincoln. ISBN 9781637394656.
––––. Franklin D. Roosevelt. ISBN 9781637394663.
––––. Thomas Jefferson. ISBN 9781637394632.
ea vol: 32p. (Influential Presidents). North Star Editions/Focus Readers. Jan. 2023. Tr. $31.35.
Gr 2-4 –What made six noteworthy presidents influential is explored in these volumes. Each begins with a momentous occasion in the subject’s administration: Lincoln’s ­Gettysburg Address, Washington’s and Kennedy’s inaugurations, and Theodore Roosevelt’s ascension to the presidency at McKinley’s assassination. Basic facts about the presidents’ lives are provided, followed by their accomplishments. Readers learn of Lincoln’s role in emancipation of slaves and the Thirteenth Amendment, the Roosevelts’s Square Deal (Theodore) and New Deal (Franklin), ­Washington’s encouragement of neutrality and selection of the first members of the Supreme Court, Kennedy’s advocacy of civil rights, and Jefferson’s arrangement of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Each volume is factual, and the subjects are presented in a mostly positive light, although the title on Jefferson does make note of his racial prejudices. Photographs and drawings complement the texts but do not necessarily enhance them. VERDICT Overall, these volumes offer little new information on presidents, for whom there are numerous titles, however they are informative and may be considered for purchase where new books are needed.

Winn, Kevin. How Are Laws Made? ISBN 9781668919392.
––––. How Do the Three Branches of Government Work Together? ISBN 9781668919415.
––––. What Does the President Do? ISBN 9781668919385.
––––. What Does the Vice President Do? ISBN 9781668919422.
––––. What is Democracy? ISBN 9781668919378.
––––. What is the Supreme Court? ISBN 9781668919408.
ea vol: 24p. (We the People: U.S. Government at Work). Cherry Lake. Jan. 2023. Tr. $30.64.
Gr 2-4 –An overview of the various facets of the United States Government is provided in these six introductory volumes. Readers learn how a bill becomes a law, how the three branches of government work together, and the roles of the Supreme Court, the President, and the Vice President. Facts provided are informative; for instance, space is dedicated to the concept of checks and balances, the composition of Congress, and the age and residency requirements for the President. Additionally, the narratives display their currency with references to President Biden and newest Supreme Court Justice Jackson. Photographs accompany the texts. Targeted readers will not find these reads exciting, but they will use them for reports. VERDICT There are other titles available on the same topics, but the currency of these volumes should be considered by selectors who need to update their collections.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Billings, Tanner. Biosecurity in Warfare. ISBN 9781502665614.
––––. Cyber Tech in Warfare. ISBN 9781502665584.
––––. Drones in Warfare. ISBN 9781502665461.
––––. GPS in Warfare. ISBN 9781502665492.
––––. Missiles in Warfare. ISBN 9781502665522.
––––. Rockets and Satellites in Warfare. ISBN 9781502665553.
ea vol: 48p. (STEM in the Military). Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC/ Cavendish Square. Dec. 2022. Tr. $33.07.
Gr 4-8 –Overviews of modern technology employed by the U.S. military are featured in the six fact-filled volumes. Readers learn of the potential of bioweapons to spread disease, the importance of keeping computer networks secure from hackers, and how drones are used to conduct warfare remotely. Other interesting facts include the history of and current innovations in missiles, how rockets are employed to launch satellites, and how GPS assists military personnel in locating troops. Photographs accompany the texts. Informative and comprehensive, these volumes will attract those with an interest in military technology and innovations. However, the dense text and specificity of the subjects may turn away browsers. They will be useful for reports. VERDICT These titles accomplish what they set out to do, and interested readers will benefit from the content; selectors should consider where there is a demand.

Bolt Simons, Lisa M. What If You Were on the Pacific Front in World War II?: An Interactive History Adventure. ISBN 9781666390872.
Doeden, Matt. What If You Were on the European Front in World War II?: An Interactive History Adventure. ISBN 9781666390933.
––––. What If You Were on the Russian Front in World War II?: An Interactive History Adventure. ISBN 9781666390919.
Lassieur, Allison. What If You Were on the African Front in World War II?: An Interactive History Adventure. ISBN 9781666390896.
ea vol: 112p. (You Choose: World War II Frontlines). Capstone.Jan. 2023. Tr. $32.65.
Gr 4-7 –Various World War II scenarios are explored in these volumes, placing readers on the front lines in Africa, Europe, the Pacific, and Russia and allowing them to choose their roles and subsequent actions in these combat zones. Choices include nurse, saboteur, pilot, scout, and photographer. The narratives for each option describe the circumstances the protagonist (the reader) finds themselves in and the decisions readers makes can end in success, disgrace, or death. The authors do a fine job creating suspense and presenting the grizzly details of the realities of war, with characters being shot, injured in bomb attacks, captured, and even killed. More importantly, they demonstrate how critical and necessarily spontaneous decisions can determine the outcome of life and death situations. However, the value of readers’ experiences is dependent on their appreciation for the “You Choose” construct, and while many will enjoy this format, others may find the constant flipping of pages a nuisance and be confused or discouraged from continuing, despite the intriguing narratives. Maps at the conclusion of each volume provide locations, although the map in What If You Were on the European Front contains glaring errors, labeling the Battle of the Bulge as being in south central France. VERDICT The engaging tales provided will intrigue and inform readers who enjoy the “You Choose” series and selectors should base their purchase decisions on the popularity of the titles, although the erroneous map in The European Front makes it a questionable choice.


Upper Middle School to High School

Conley, Kate & Lyra Stevens. The States Encyclopedia. ISBN 9781098290498.
Lassieur, Allison. The National Parks Encyclopedia. ISBN 9781098290474.
McKinney, Donna B. The Presidents Encyclopedia. ISBN 9781098290481.
Mooney, Carla. The Government Encyclopedia. ISBN 9781098290467.
ea vol: 192p. (United States Encyclopedias). Abdo Reference/Encyclopedias. Jan. 2023. Tr. $47.07.
Gr 5-8 –These four volumes provide basic reference information on the U.S. states, presidents, the National Parks, and the United States government. In The States Encyclopedia, readers learn elementary facts about each state such as the capital, points of interest, date of entry into the union, and climate. The National Parks Encyclopedia provides two to four page spreads on every national park. The Presidents Encyclopedia provides overviews of each presidency, beginning with Washington and ending with Biden. The Government Encyclopedia details the origins of the American government, the United States Constitution, its articles, and voting rights. Photographs accompany the texts, but there is nothing outstanding about them. The useful facts provided make these volumes practical starting places for reports; however, much of the information provided can be found in easily accessible databases and government websites. VERDICT While the information in these volumes will support curriculums, selectors will probably consider them an unnecessary purchase, as everything contained is more inexpensively accessed online.


Young readers eager for information on the military will appreciateMighty Military (Black Rabbit) and find useful facts in STEM in the Military (Cavendish Square). Those looking for a good story while learning about the dangers of combatants in World War II will appreciate the “You Choose: World War II Frontlines” (­Capstone) series. The currency of the ­volumes in “We the People: U.S. ­Government at Work” (Cherry Lake) will be appreciated by report writers.

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