To say I loved A Small History of a Disagreement is an understatement! First, it sneaks a huge lesson in one of my favorite subjects, social studies, and then it creates it in one of my favorite mediums, books! Through a school disagreement, this book teaches the topics of protest, debate, critical thinking, civics, voting, freedom of speech, and campaigning. There are numerous lessons that can be learned every time you read it!
The story takes place at a school in Chile. The students come to school one day to find out that the monkey puzzle tree on their campus is going to be torn down and replaced with more classrooms. The monkey puzzle tree is an endangered species of tree that is considered millennial and has been around for thousands of years. The students and faculty start a heated debate with some being for and others against the idea of its removal. Within this simple narrative civics is brought to life.
The author, who holds a Ph.D. in political science, brilliantly breaks down the voting process in a way that children can understand and are excited to be a part of. The students begin by researching the history of the monkey puzzle tree and laws specific to its removal. They then follow the voting process with campaigning and debates which lead up to voting day that ends in a tie. They both then decide to make a comprise giving both sides a chance to get what they believe in. As the book states, “…good ideas could come out of the disagreements.” I love how the whole process was peaceful and in the end, it ultimately brought the entire school together. I highly recommend this book for any families trying to teach their children how to be informed and engaged citizens!
Author: Claudio Fuentes S.
Illustrator: Gabriela Lyon
Publisher: Greystone Books | Naturally Great Books – Greystone Books Ltd.
Add to your bookshelf!
To pair with this book I had my daughters prepare their own arguments on their position on the removal of the monkey puzzle tree. We then had a family vote!
I was kindly given this book for my honest review but all opinions are my own.
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