________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 29. . . .April 1, 2016


The Art of the Possible: An Everyday Guide to Politics.

Edward Keenan. Art by Julie McLaughlin.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids, 2015.
64 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-068-1.

Subject Heading:
Political science-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Heidi Henkenhaf.

*** /4


We often think about arguments as bad things Ė a kind of fight, a conflict. And we mostly try to avoid conflict when we can, because it can make people angry. Itís easier and more fun to agree on things. But in a society, we sometimes need conflict, because itís how we figure out how to get along.


internal artThe common theme in The Art of the Possible: An Everyday Guide to Politics is that everything is political. Edward Keenan is an author and journalist based in Toronto, ON, and Julie McLaughlin is an illustrator living in Vancouver, BC. Together, they weave a tale about the role of politics in our day-to-day lives.

internal art     This book makes readers think about how all of life is political beyond government organizations. Very little of this book is actually spent on political systems and levels of government. Edward Keenan simplifies the definition of politics to how we get things done, make decisions and get along with one another. Age is not a factor, and participating in classrooms, schools, sports associations, teams, families, and work, are all political systems. In general, if you are a member of society, then you are part of politics. Priority is given to the important influences that play a role in political arenas such as: having ideas and getting others to support your ideas; the role of public opinion; how to make a strong argument to influence others; the good and bad of conflict; and knowledge is power. Most important of all is that each and every one of us participates. There are case studies included in each chapter to offer an example of how each topic has been successfully implemented to empower individuals or a society to make a difference.

     I recommend The Art of the Possible: An Everyday Guide to Politics because of the readability, practical examples and illustrations used to present this important material in an appealing format for the target audience. This book would be a good addition to public, school and/or classroom library collections as the topics of each chapter complement components of the social science curriculum.


Heidi Henkenhaf is a librarian at the Vancouver Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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