Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction

That’s Not Fair! introduces kids to rights, freedoms, and making choices

notfairThat’s Not Fair! Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms, by Danielle McLaughlin/Illustrated by Dharmali Patel  (Apr. 2016, Kids Can Press), $18.95, ISBN: 9781771382083

Recommended for ages 7-11

The latest book under Kids Can Press’ CitizenKid imprint, That’s Not Fair! is a companion introduction to civics for middle graders. Using a series of six case studies/short stories starring Mayor Moe and his fellow councilors, each study looks at a problem that arises, a decision to address the issue with a new law, and the consequences – intended or, more usually, unintended – of that law. Bug, the only councilor that seems to think things through, is the first to exclaim, “That’s not fair!” and points out why proposed legislation is unfair, leading to a deeper discussion on the topic. It’s a smart way of explaining the often convoluted legal process to kids, who are quick to point out when something is fair versus unfair (bedtimes were big battlefields in my home).

Each story concludes with talking points for readers: Why did the councilor(s) make their decision? Did the new law achieve its purpose? Were there any unexpected results? These aren’t right/wrong answers; they’re jumping off points for discussions to provide understanding. A Note for Parents and Teachers and definitions of the rights and freedoms covered in each story are included at the end of the book. Dharmali Patel’s illustrations are brightly colored and fun, keeping kids’ interest as they visualize each scenario. Bug is depicted as a somewhat literal lightning bulb literary reference, buzzing and lighting up to call attention to problematic legislation and ideas.

A good companion book for collections that feature books on how communities work and function, and the legislative process.




I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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