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Emma Turner holds her chil­drens’ book on the Con­sti­tution.
Courtesy | Emma Turner

Most children have little interest in learning about con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments. Freshman Emma Turner said she thinks she has found a way to change that.

For her high school senior project, Turner wrote and illus­trated a children’s book called “My Living Con­sti­tution: A Children’s Guide to U.S. Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ments.” The book dis­cusses the framers’ role in the cre­ation of the Con­sti­tution, as well as what an amendment is, how amend­ments are passed, and why they are important.

While attending the Waldorf School of Orange County, Cal­i­fornia, Turner said she became pas­sionate about pol­itics, history, and the U.S. Con­sti­tution. When Turner was assigned her senior project, she knew exactly what to do. 

“I wanted to develop a project that would combine all these pas­sions while also making an impact in my com­munity,” Turner said.

The topic of her project was to demon­strate that the Con­sti­tution is a living doc­ument, able to adapt to a current societal context. Turner hoped to use the his­torical amendment process to prove this point.

Growing up, Turner and her mother, Jen­nifer Turner, lis­tened to con­ser­v­ative radio on car rides, which kindled a love for pol­itics at an early age.

“So we were talking about a lot of dif­ferent sub­jects, and I said, ‘Well, make it some­thing that’s mean­ingful to you. Make it some­thing that you really want to feel pas­sionate about,’” Jen­nifer Turner said.

Jen­nifer Turner said her daughter spent hours drawing and per­fecting the book.

At first, Emma Turner took on lengthy research to obtain accurate infor­mation. Next, she worked on illus­tra­tions for several months, ensuring that every intricate detail was correct. After com­pleting the research and illus­tra­tions, she learned how to format and self-publish her book.

Emma Turner said she also found herself fas­ci­nated with the beauty of the Constitution. 

“The Con­sti­tution was never perfect to begin with; it was written by imperfect humans,” she said. “But it was perfect in the way that it could be changed to fit the time, and near-per­fection can be achieved through amendments.”

Turner said she seeks to unify Amer­icans with her book. Specif­i­cally, she said she believes that Amer­icans must find their com­mon­ality under the Con­sti­tution in order to become a united people. 

“We live in a very divided country, and I believe that regardless of your eth­nicity, gender, age, or political party, we are all united under the U.S. Con­sti­tution, and we can share this unity through pre­serving this doc­ument for future gen­er­a­tions and striving to make it more perfect through amend­ments,” Turner said.

Turner said she has had a talent for telling stories since she was young. She decided to use her abil­ities to combat the wide­spread lack of edu­cation on the Con­sti­tution. According to Turner, it has always been her dream to be an author.

“I knew that this project would be the perfect way to realize this dream,” Turner said. “I also strongly believe that children need to learn these truths in order to inspire change and patri­otism in younger generations.”

The book fea­tures col­orful illus­tra­tions, which direct the reader to concise sum­maries of con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments. One page sum­ma­rizes the First Amendment. It includes illus­tra­tions of free speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press, and the right to petition. Turner’s book costs $12, and is available for pur­chase on stargirljewelryco.com/books.

“I created this book with lots of bright colors, illus­tra­tions, and dia­grams, so that it could be easy to follow along at a younger age, but also be inter­esting and applicable to older children,” Turner said.

Turner said many of her peers dis­ap­proved of the project. They also dis­ap­proved of Turner’s internship with the Orange County Repub­lican Party, where she helps with office work and cam­paigns for can­di­dates such as Larry Elder. As she pub­li­cized her con­ser­v­ative values, she was met with increasing anger and even lost some friends. Turner’s mother said that it was brave of her to proceed with writing the book. 

“She went to a pretty non-tra­di­tional school that had a lot of liberal values,” she said. “Her internship with the Repub­lican Party outed her for her con­ser­v­ative beliefs. When she did the Con­sti­tution, there were a lot of people that felt that it was a racist doc­ument and that it shouldn’t exist.”

Others, like various edu­cators who pur­chased the book, pro­vided more pos­itive responses.

Laurie Birt, a teacher from Shawnee Mission School Dis­trict in Kansas, said the book was a rea­sonable price, and the sale was professional.

I’m a first grade teacher who owns hun­dreds of books, and I have to tell you that your book knocked my socks off,” Birt said. Not only were the illus­tra­tions engaging and child-friendly, but the text makes one of the hardest topics to teach to first graders so simple and relatable. Once teachers get word of some­thing great, they pounce!”

Turner’s final senior project included not only a children’s book on the Con­sti­tution, but also a lecture to accompany it. In this lecture, posted on YouTube, Turner explains her project’s over­ar­ching theme. 

“The main message I want everyone to take away from here is that from movie stars, con­struction workers, and football players, to moms, chefs, and busi­nessmen, we are all Amer­icans. We must respect each other for our dif­fer­ences to ensure the long life of the United States,” Turner said. “This message is the last line in my children’s book, and it is some­thing I believe we need to remind our­selves of, espe­cially now.”