The Art of the Possible: An Everyday Guide to Politics by Edward Keenan & Julie McLaughlin (Illustrations)

This is a thorough, thoughtful exploration of politics.

It begins by proclaiming that, "You are a politician," and then continues on to show us how this is true. Near the end, Keenan pulls it all together in a chapter on citizenship and the power of knowledge. In between the book looks at why we need politics, unpacks different levels and types of government, explains the difference between policy and process and shows the reader how to understand different kinds of arguments. He examines different kinds of conflicts and the problems with polarization. There is even a section on selective perception and confirmation bias.

Keenan explains that you don't have to be grown up to engage in politics, and then highlights a number of young people who have changed their world for the better without having the ability to vote. 

I especially appreciate that Keenan focuses so much on how important it is to be a knowledgeable citizen as well as how to become one. My suspicion, given the state of truthism in North America today, is that we are sorely lacking people like this. I have a few adult friends who I would like to give copies of this to. 

There are all kinds of text features that make this a stellar resource. Julie McLaughlin's illustrations enhance and add some humour to the text. The case studies provide real life examples of the issues being discussed and make the ideas easier to understand. 

Definition boxes are set out in coloured boxes. There are all kinds of graphic organizers to make the information more accessible. The sidebar in the section on arguments recaps and reinforces how to think critically about issues. The book also includes a glossary, a bibliography (called sources) an index and a page of acknowledgements.

Every school library in North America should have a number of copies. Since many adults will also find it informative, copies should be in both the adult and children's sections of public libraries.  Everyone can learn something from this book. I discovered where the terms left wing and right wing come from. If you don't already know this, you will have to read the book yourself to find out. 

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