RE: Constitutions: Connecting Citizens with the Rules of the Game

Beka Feathers and Kasia Babis. First Second, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-23543-5
Sporting Schoolhouse Rock charm (sans peppy guitar soundtrack), this educational comics guidebook to constitutions takes on a commendable international scope. The YA-friendly framing device is clunky but effective: high school student Marcus, frustrated over an assignment to write about the meaning of citizenship, queries a multicultural mosaic of friendly and informed neighbors for help. A series of beaming chatterboxes with roots spanning Rwanda, India, and Kosovo, among others, patiently explain to Marcus how constitutions have similarities, but vary from country to country based on the needs of a nation’s people. Feathers applies her background as an international legal adviser in conflict zones with crisply delivered breakdowns of basic constitutional principles, though also some eye-roll–inducing dialogue (“But Dad, isn’t that just stuff that sounds good on paper?”). Helped along by Babis’s charming if somewhat overly smiley character drawings, the team goes beyond the basics to tackle more substantial examples (such as how Rwanda’s 2003 constitution required 30% of government decision-making bodies to comprise women) and urgent particulars (“the constitution is only as strong as the people who use it”). Granted, it’s more a work of advocacy—a democratic citizenry handbook—than objective reporting, but given the strain such documents are currently under globally, that might be exactly what’s needed. (July)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2021
Release date: 07/13/2021
Genre: Comics
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