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Knowledge Promotes Understanding: Democracy in America

Saturday January 30th, 2021

As a trusted community partner, The Library’s primary goal is to help those seeking knowledge and understanding, while serving the needs of all members of the community. 

In that spirit, and with your help, we’re continually developing our resources and reading materials for everyone who wants to explore the concepts of Democracy, our Constitution, Voting and Activism. We hope to create a pipeline for dialogue and increased awareness that will allow us to move forward as a united society. Below you will find access to online resources as well as some reading suggestions for adults as well as titles for adults to read with children and young adults.

How can we do better? Let us know at dcls.org/strategicplan.

> > This list will continue to be updated, help us by suggesting other titles to add to our collection on this topic.

> > Need help with your research? Ask a Librarian.


Online Resources


United Nations on Democracy

American Government / What is Democracy?

Pew Research Center Democracy Topics

For Children: Democracy in the United States



The Constitution of the United States - View digital images of its four pages, transcripts of its content, and links to other articles on this important historic document.

The Constitution of United States in Spanish

The U.S. Senate provides a transcript of the original text of The Constitution of the United States

Annotated version of the Constitution

Educational resources for teaching/learning about The Constitution of United States

         The Constitution Center

         The National Archives

The framing of the Constitution



History Daily: The History of Peaceful Protests in America

Georgetown Law Guide: history of the civil rights movement in the United States

TIME: Top 10 Nonviolent Protests – Photo Essays

Library of Congress

         Right to Peaceful Assembly: United States

         Nonviolent Philosophy and Self Defense

Why Civil Resistance Works – Journal Article

FindLaw: Right to Peaceful Protest


Reading Suggestions for Adults


Can Democracy work?: a short history of a radical idea, from ancient Athens to our world, James Miller

Democracy in America: and two essays on America, Alexis de Tocqueville

Democracy: stories from the long road to freedom, Condoleezza Rice


The idea of AmericaThe idea of America: reflections on the birth of the United States, Gordon S. Wood

The soul of America: the battle for our better angels, Jon Meacham

Writings, George Washington

Speeches and writings: 1859-1865: speeches, letters and miscellaneous writings, presidential messages, and proclamations, Abraham Lincoln



The everything U.S. Constitution book: An easy-to-understand explanation of the foundation of American government, Ellen M. Kozak

The heart of the Constitution: how the Bill of Rights became the Bill of Rights, Gerard N. Magliocca

How to read the Constitution and why, Kim Wehle


The lives of the constitutionThe lives of the Constitution: ten exceptional minds that shaped America's supreme law, Joseph Tartakovsky

The presidents and the Constitution: a living history, Ken Gormley

The annotated U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, Jack N. Rakove

U.S. Constitution, Dr. Michael Arnheim

The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay

The American Republic: primary resources, edited by Bruce Frohnen



Picturing resistance: moments and movements of social change from the 1950s to today, Melanie Light and Ken Light

#1960now: photographs of civil rights activists and Black Lives Matter protests, Sheila Pree Bright

Revolts, protests, demonstrations, and rebellions in American history: An Encyclopedia, Steven L. Danver

Together we rise: behind the scenes at the protest heard round the world, The Women's March organizers and Condé Nast

Why We MarchWhy we march: signs of protest and hope: voices, from the Women's March

Road map for revolutionaries: resistance, activism, and advocacy for all, Elisa Camahort Page

Rebels and renegades: a chronology of social and political dissent in the united states, Neil A. Hamilton

History teaches us to resist: how progressive movements have succeeded in challenging times, Mary Frances Berry

Working Americans 1880-2006: social movements, Scott Derks

Pamphlets of protest: an anthology of early African-American protest literature, 1790-1860, edited by Richard Newman

This is an uprising: how nonviolent revolt is shaping the twenty-first century, Mark Engler and Paul Engler

Say what you mean: a mindful approach to nonviolent communication, Oren Jay Stofer


His truth is marching onGandhi: selected writings, Mohandas Gandhi

His truth is marching on: John Lewis and the power of hope, Jon Meacham

The dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the speech that Inspired a nation, Drew D. Hansen



Our Sacred Honor:A patriot’s handbook: songs, poems, stories, and speeches celebrating the land we love, selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy

Our sacred honor: words of advice from the founders in stories, letters, poems, and speeches, edited with commentary by William J. Bennett

American journal: fifty poems for our time, selected with an introduction by Tracy K. Smith.


Reading Suggestions for Adults, Young Adults and Children to Read Together

Board Books

A is for ActivistA is for Activist, Innosanto Nagara

An ABC of equality, Chana Ginelle Ewing; illustrated by Paulina Morgan

Baby loves political science: democracy!, Ruth Spiro; illustrated by Greg Paprocki

The Constitution for babies, senior editors: Shannon Beatty, Dawn Sirett


Juvenile Picture Book

Boycott blues: how Rosa Parks inspired a nation, Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrations by Brian Pinkney

If I ran for president, Catherine Stier ; illustrated by Lynne Avril

Grace for PresidentGrace for president, Kelly FiPucchio; pictures to LeUyen Pham

Peaceful fights for equal rights, Rob Sanders; illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr

Vote for me!, Ben Clanton

We march, Shane W. Evans


Juvenile Early Reader/Nonfiction

I'm an activist, Wil Mara


Juvenile Nonfiction

The Constitution decoded: a guide to the document that shapes our nation, Katie Kennedy; illustrated by Ben Kirchner; contributing editor, Kermit Roosevelt

Democracy for dinosaurs: a guide for young citizens, Laurie Krasny Brown; illustrated by Marc Brown

A fair deal: shopping for social justice, Kari Jones

The little book of little activists, introduction by Bob Bland, co-chair of the Women's March on Washington and afterword by Lynda Blackmon Lowery


No Voice to SmallNo voice too small: fourteen young Americans making history, edited by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley; illustrated by Jeanette Bradley

Sit-in: how four friends stood up by sitting down, Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Brian Pinkney

We the people: the story of our Constitution, Lynne Cheney; illustrated by Greg Harlin

What can a citizen do?, Dave Eggers; art by Shawn Harris

What is the Constitution?, Patricia Brennan Demuth; illustrated by Kevin McVeigh, Tim Foley


Juvenile Poetry

One TodayOne today, Richard Blanco

The poetry of us: with favorites from Maya Angelou, Walt Whitman, Gwendolyn Brooks, and more: more than 200 poems that celebrate the people, places and passions of the United States, edited by J. Patrick Lewis

That is my dream: a picture book of Langston Hughes’s “Dream variation”, illustrated by Daniel Miyares

When thunder comes: poems for civil rights leaders, J. Patrick Lewis


Young Adult

Dear Martin, Nic Stone

The hate u give, Angie Thomas

Make TroubleMake trouble: standing up, speaking out, and finding the courage to lead, Cecile Richards with Lauren Peterson; adapted by Ruby Shamir

Bernie Sanders guide to political revolution, Bernie Sanders; with illustrations by Jude Buffum

Into the streets: a young person's visual history of protest in the united states, Marke Bieschke

Making it right: building peace, settling conflict, Marilee Peters

One person, no vote (young adult adaptation): how not all voters are treated equally, Carol Anderson

You call this democracy?: how to fix our government and bring power to the people, Elizabeth Rusch

We are power: how nonviolent activism changes the world, Todd Hasak-Lowy


Poetry for Young Adults

Dreams from many rivers: A Hispanic history of the United States told in poems, Margarita Engle

For everyone: a poem, a nod, a nothing to lose, by Jason Reynolds


IndivisibleIndivisible, poems for social justice, edited by Gail Bush & Randy Meyer

Ink Knows no Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience, edited by Patrice Vecchione

Say Her Name, Zetta Elliott



How can we do better? Let us know at dcls.org/strategicplan.

> > This list will continue to be updated, help us by suggesting other titles to add to our collection on this topic.

> > Need help with your research? Ask a Librarian.

Christina Lauver

Marketing & Public Relations Manager

The above piece represents the views of the author and is meant to inspire dialogue and increase understanding and a sense of community. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of The Library. Members are welcome to comment below or contact us privately by using our online contact form >