June 23, 2024
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June 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Author Ruby Shamir Makes Civics Approachable and Fun

Award-winning author Ruby Shamir is on a mission to inspire children to civic action. Her notable “What’s the Big Deal About…” series of picture books on American history and civics includes topics such as “First Ladies,” “Freedom, “Americans” and “Elections” and has also been formatted into chapter books, geared to 6-9 year olds. Author and illustrator Matt Faulkner contributed the fun, engaging illustrations.

Each chapter begins in a Q&A format so Shamir can engage with her readers as equals. “I wanted to show them respect and the idea that their questions are worthy of being answered,” she shared. “We wield a tremendous amount of people power. Kids are a somewhat disempowered population so I wanted to give kids an idea of their power—to speak their minds, engage and advocate for what they care about and continue that activism into adulthood.”

Shamir has a long history in public service, working in government and politics—in both the White House during the Clinton administration and in Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate office—and she wanted to “find a way to talk about the work that I’ve done with kids. To give them an understanding of our system and how remarkable and unique it is.”

Kinneret Day School, where two of Shamir’s children attend school, ordered “What’s the Big Deal About Elections?” to incorporate into the curriculum this year and help students understand the political environment swirling around them. Head of School Rabbi Aaron Frank commented, “Students are into it—and [Shamir] is hearing from her child that kids are having a blast with it.”

Shamir speaks at schools all over the country encouraging civic engagement and she is “really excited to share these ideas with kids and get kids excited about civics and American democracy. Especially in times like these when we’re surrounded by it and things can be confusing, I want to make sure kids know they have a place in our civic life.”

By Michal Rosenberg

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