Happy Constitution Day

Happy Constitution Day, everybody! Here it is, in all its glory. I have been trying, at various points in my life, to memorize the amendments, and slowly I'm making progress.

I was curious to see what a google search for "children's books Constitution Day" would produce. Mostly it seems to be the "celebrating America" type of book (see here, for example). It seems to me more to the point to compile lists of books that describe the need for the amendments, the struggle to enact them, and the consequences of their enactment. The amendments may perhaps be hard to memorize but they are oh so important to our lives, and what better way to learn about them than through fiction? (I say, as one who learns most easily that way).

Take, for instance, the story behind Amendment 26, the voting right set at 18 years, passed in 1971. Before 1971, you could drink and get drafted at 18, but not vote, now you can vote and get drafted, but not drink. Hmmm....But has this amendment made it into a ya book yet as an interesting (?) sub-plot?

Here are two amendments particularly rich in Story Potential:

Amendment 13 - Slavery Abolished. Ratified 12/6/1865 -- Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Amendment 19 - Women's Suffrage. Ratified 8/18/1920--the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

I thought it would be easy-peasy to go on line and find rich bibliographies of children's fiction (not picture books) on these two topics, but I was wrong. If they are out there, where are they? Sure, some places list two or three books, but is that it?

One of the more immediately relevant amendments for bloggers would be the First Amendment. A good book on this topic is Nothing but the Truth, by Avi, and here's a guide to discussion about it. There must be more books out there on freedom of speech, but they aren't coming into my head. Perhaps I should go look at the lists of banned and challenged books.

Anyway, I'm here celebrating Constitution Day by exercising my freedom of speech, blogging cheerfully away, with little real fear of government interference. Here are some voices from elsewhere in the world on that topic.

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