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Children's Nonfiction Politics & Government

The Art of the Possible

An Everyday Guide to Politics

by (author) Edward Keenan

illustrated by Julie McLaughlin

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Nov 2015
Politics & Government, Customs, Traditions, Anthropology, Sociology, Social Activism & Volunteering
Recommended Age
10 to 14
Recommended Grade
5 to 8
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2020
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


We all know what a politician looks like, right? They’re old people who wear suits and make long, boring speeches full of indecipherable words. Not so fast! As The Art of the Possible explains, everyone is a politician — even young people who aren’t yet eligible to vote. We all have influence over how politics function.

But what are politics, and why do we need them? This book answers the universal query in nine short chapters that explain everything from why we form societies and the basic types of governments to the power of public opinion, methods of rhetoric and the reasons why politicians “lie.”

Written in an accessible, conversational voice and packed with anecdotes and case studies from across history and around the world, this book helps foster independent thought and curiosity about how a government works — or doesn’t work. Readers will come away equipped with the knowledge they need to understand current events and elections, and maybe even be empowered to civic action themselves.

Informational text features: table of contents, chapters, diagrams, sidebars, in-text definitions of key terms, glossary, index and sources

About the authors

EDWARD KEENAN is a writer, talk radio host, youth baseball and hockey coach, and father of three children who lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. He is the city columnist at the Toronto Star where he covers people and politics, and has previously worked as a senior editor at The Grid and Eye Weekly, and as a blogger for The Walrus. His first book, Some Great Idea, a study of the political history of Toronto, was published by Coach House Books in 2013.

Edward Keenan's profile page

Julie McLaughlin is an award-winning illustrator whose work includes commissions for editorial, advertising and publishing clients from around the world. Her previous books have been nominated for several awards, and she won the 2015 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction for Why We Live Where We Live. She is the illustrator of What Animals Want in the Orca Think series and Pride Puppy! Julie grew up on the Prairies and now resides on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.


Julie McLaughlin's profile page


  • Long-listed, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction
  • Short-listed, The Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada 2016 Information Book Award
  • Winner, An OLA Best Bet

Editorial Reviews

"Thanks to accessible content that will resonate with most students...this logical, relevant approach, combined with realistic suggestions on how to get involved, makes for an engaging alternative to standardized texts and just might spark some political careers."


"Informative and insightful."

Waterloo Region Record

"Easy to take to heart, and has the potential to change the way young people see their world."


"An excellent and indispensable resource."

Canadian Children's Book News

"An optimistically presented introduction to politics."

Kirkus Reviews

"Succeeds in conveying a topic often not covered at this grade level...a necessary book. Recommended."

School Library Connection

"A highly accessible introduction to politics...a useful addition to most collections."

School Library Journal

"A demystifying resource that encourages readers to take interest and take action."

Publisher's Weekly

"The readability, practical examples and illustrations...present this important material in an appealing format for the target audience. Recommended."

Canadian Review of Materials

"Easy to understand...examples are very concrete. An ideal entry point for youth...may even serve as inspiration for anyone looking to become more involved."

Resource Links

"A great addition to a school curriculum's study of government."

The Calgary Herald

Other titles by Julie McLaughlin