It’s a free country! But what does that mean? Find out the five liberties protected by the First Amendment. Vivid examples from history and everyday life demonstrate the meaning of freedom of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights to assemble peacefully and to petition the government.
Christy Mihaly writes for young readers because she believes that our best hope for the future is raising kids who love to read. She has published more than 20 children’s nonfiction titles on topics from free speech to food to fashion. After stints residing in six other states, and Spain, she settled happily with her family in rural Vermont where she writes under the careful supervision of her dog and cat. She enjoys walking in the woods and playing the cello (though not simultaneously). Christy’s picture book “Free for You and Me: What Our First Amendment Means,” is a lively introduction to the freedoms protected in the First Amendment. “Hey, Hey, Hay! (A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them),” a 2019 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, follows a farm girl and her mother as they bring in the hay. Both picture books offer additional information in the back—including a recipe for switchel in HAY.
Manu was born in Medellín, Colombia in 1990.
She Studied Graphic Design and Advertising at the University of Medellín in her home town and Art Direction in ELISAVA in Barcelona where she actually lives.
She grew up both in the city and the country, and spent most of her childhood drawing, playing with plants, animals and exploring the woods.
Manu has worked for advertising agencies such as DDB and McCANN Worldgroup and as a children illustrator for SM editorial, Cruïlla, Penguin Random House and others.
She loves working with gouache, colored pencils, ink and digital media; Her favourite technique is collage.
What made you want to write a picture book about the First Amendment?
I’m glad you asked! I’d often heard kids telling one another “It’s a free country!” but I realized they didn’t always know what that meant. In fact, I realized a lot of adults aren’t entirely sure of some of our constitutional principles.
But I thought I’d start with kids, and began playing with the idea of a book to introduce young readers to the Constitution. The challenge was how to boil down those complex concepts in an engaging way.
I often experiment with poetry, which can effectively cut to the heart of a feeling or idea. I started writing short poems about the First Amendment, and the book grew from there. I wrote a poem about each of the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment (free speech, free press, freedom of religion, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government) and then added stories and historical background.
It was really fun to see the bright, kid-friendly illustrations that Manu Montoya created for this book, and I hope kids and adults enjoy reading this together—and having some interesting discussions about the ideas in the book, and in our Constitution.”
To Erzsi, for her belief in the First Amendment and in me.
To my family
VERDICT A nice addition to library collections that target second and third graders.