"[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
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.