What Can a Citizen Do?

by Dave Eggers

Other authorsShawn Harris (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2018



Call number



Chronicle Books (2018), 40 pages


"[This] charming book provides examples and sends the message that citizens aren't born but are made by actions taken to help others and the world they live in." --The Washington Post This is a book about what citizenship--good citizenship--means to you, and to us all: Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but ultimately connected actions by different children, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community--and watch a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be. What Can a Citizen Do? is the latest collaboration from the acclaimed behind the bestsellingHer Right Foot: Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris. For today's youngest readers about what it means to be a citizen and the positive role they can play in society. Includes beautiful illustrations and intriguing, rhyming text. "Obligatory reading for future informed citizens." --The New York Times What Can a Citizen Do is an empowering and timeless read with an important message for all ages. Great family read-aloud book Books for kids ages 5-8 Picture books for grades K-3… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member JaxlynLeigh
Great book to introduce citizenship! This book presents many different, achievable ways that kids can understand. Can't wait to use to introduce citizenship!
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Author Dave Eggers and illustrator Shawn Harris, who collaborated previously on Her Right Foot, a picture-book devoted to the story of the Statue of Liberty, join forces again in this look at the role of the citizen. The sing-song narrative sets out the many ways a citizen can get involved, from writing letters to changing laws, while the collage-style artwork depicts a diverse range of children in action...

I found Eggers and Harris' Her Right Foot a surprisingly good book, when I read it some time ago. Although I often find that authors famous in fields other than children's literature - Eggers is a celebrated name in the world of adult American letters - erroneously assume that this means they will have the skill to write for children, in the case of that other book, I thought it was a well-told tale, one that would be engaging for young readers. Given that this was so, and that I also enjoyed Harris' artwork, I went into What Can a Citizen Do? with every expectation of enjoyment. Unfortunately, although I found the visuals here quite appealing, with collage artwork that is energetic and expressive, I found the text somewhat muddled. Its heart is in the right place, and the message I think that Eggers is trying to get across - that citizens need to be informed, engaged and active - is a good one. That said, there simply isn't enough here - no explanation of what a citizen is, for instance - to ground the sing-songy list of things a citizen can do. There isn't enough information to be educational, nor enough story to be emotionally resonant.

I wish this one had been stronger, and that I could recommend it as a book to introduce children to the idea of citizenship - what it means, and what it entails, in terms of responsibilities and rights - but it isn't, and I can't. This one is nice enough, as a kind of general "get involved" book, but that's about as far as it goes.
… (more)


Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 8.25 inches


1452173133 / 9781452173139

Other editions

Page: 0.2612 seconds