Books About the US Constitution for Kids

It's always good for our children to learn about government and civics and the best place to start is by learning about the Constitution. People have been arguing about what the various clauses in the Constitution mean almost from the day it was ratified. Your children can learn about the history behind the Constitution and how it forms the basis for our government. They can also learn about how the Constitution is interpreted. Here are some books to help them learn all about it.

This is a good starter book for young children on the meaning of the Constitution. It doesn't deal with the entire Constitution, just the preamble. The illustrations present the ideas in the preamble in a fun and amusing way. For example, on one page, a dog stands guard while the kids play in a tent. This drawing illustrates the phrase "provide for the common defense." Kids may not learn all there is to learn from this book, but it could certainly spark their interest and open the door to some discussions and further learning. For ages 5 and up

This book provides some background on the Constitution, helping children understand the story behind its creation. The title provides a hint about part of the story - the Constitution was written in secrecy. What many people don't know is that Americans were not eager to form a strong central government! There are many facts that parents will no doubt learn along with their children. The book explains why certain parts of the Constitution were included. It's not all dry text, though; the story is told in a way that appeals to children and the drawings (by Tomie DePaola) are appealing and sometimes amusing. A copy of the Constitution is included in the book. Ages 7 and up

This book provides some basics on the creation of the Constitution. It starts with the decision to hold a convention and goes through to the adoption of the Bill of Rights. While it doesn't cover all the details of all the debates at the convention, it does cover the major achievement of the delegates which was to establish a governmental system that has lasted for over 200 years. At the end of the book, children can find additional information, including easy to understand summaries of the Articles of the Constitution and the amendments. Ages 6 and up

After the Revolutionary War, America was a new nation struggling to survive. The ties holding the states together were lose and were making it difficult for the new nation to function. This book tells the story of how delegates from the 13 new states come together in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to write a new Constitution, one that would create a more unified confederation of states. The book describes the issues these men faced and the arguments that they needed to resolve in order to complete their task. Each page has a beautifully drawn illustration that helps bring the story to life and at the bottom of each page is a quotation from one of the Founding Fathers. Ages 8 and up

This book tells the story of the framing of the Constitution in a way that allows children (and their parents) to easily find answers to questions they have. Rather than telling the story as a narrative, this book uses a question and answer format. Here are some of the questions:

  • What was the Declaration of Independence?
  • What rules did the thirteen states have before the Constitution?
  • How well did Congress work under the Articles of Confederation?
  • What was George Washington like?
  • What were the two sides at the convention?
  • What was missing from the Constitution?

Ages 6 and up

This is an excellent book that discusses what a constitution is as well as why it is so important. It explains why the 13 states felt the need to form a new constitution and describes five of the better known delegates to the convention, Ben Franklin, for example. In addition to discussing the convention and some of the problems the delegates solved there, the book also explains how the Constitution affects us today. Ages 7 and up

It's important to understand the story behind the Constitution - how it came to be, how delegates worked hard to iron out their differences, why they made the choices they made, and what they hoped to accomplish. But just as important is understanding the Constitution itself. This book help provides some basic information of how the Constitution came to be, but also helps kids kids understand how the Constitution set up the three branches of government and how it protects the natural rights of citizens, and much more. Ages 7 and up

This book focuses on the Constitution itself, not on how it came to be. It explains much of what the Constitution has set up and what it says what each branch of government can do.  Here's a quotation from the book to give you an idea of its approach:

"Here's the most important thing you need to know about the Constitution: The Constitution does not tell you and me what we can or cannot do. The Constitution tells the government what it can and cannot do."

The book also provides some advice to help kids (and their parents) determine if a government action is legal. It's a wonderful way to get kids prepared to participate in the democratic process. A text of the Constitution, written in modern English, is included.

This book isn't ABOUT the Constitution; it IS the Constitution. While there is some information about the Constitution - like a timeline of its creation and factoids about it (it's the oldest and shortest Constitution in the world!) - this book is primarily a translation of the Consitution in modern English making it easy for kids (and their parents) to understand. The best part, though, is that the original wording is provided as well. Each page is divided into two columns: one side has the original wording and the other side has the translation. Ages 10 and up

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