Quarto Kids | 08 Jul, 2020
Meet the Author: Aura Lewis and Evan Sargent

Earlier this month, author-illustrator Aura Lewis and debut author Evan Sargent released We The People: The United States Constitution Explored and Explained, a children’s book that examines the US Constitution as a living, evolving rulebook that is as relevant today as it has ever been.

Why did you decide to create We The People: The United States Constitution Explored and Explained, especially now?

We wanted to create a book that makes American government more accessible to everyone. We realized that a good way to start was to go back to one of the foundations of the American political system and democracy- the Constitution. To so many it is an opaque and antiquated document, but it is vital that we become more familiar with it so that we can understand the basis of American law and governance, and know our rights! We ourselves wanted to learn more about the constitution, and were excited to bring it to life through a modern and democratic lens. We also wanted to bring a more diverse and feminist perspective to the Constitution, and expand the original meaning of “We The People,” so that it would truly include all Americans.

How did you divide up the work for this book?

We spent a long time planning, outlining and concepting together. We had some intense working weekends in some fun and inspiring places! Then we both did research, writing, and editing (of each other!), with lots of iteration. Aura made the illustrations and then we both worked on design and art direction.

What do you hope kids will take away from your book? Why do you think a title like this is necessary for young children?

We really hope our book serves as a fun and interesting introduction to the U.S Constitution. We feel that it is imperative for young people to be familiar and personally relate to this important text as a basis for political involvement, engagement, and activism. In order to be an aware citizen and someone who can fight for your rights, you need to have knowledge, information and a personal connection!

What was your research process like? What challenges did you encounter while writing this book? What surprised you most

We researched the history of the constitution, and how the amendments have been used and interpreted throughout the years. We read commentary and also looked for interesting anecdotes relating to American history and the different parts of the Constitution. It was challenging to put everything we wanted into one book! There is so much history and so many interpretations, so we had to be very selective in what we included. It was surprising to learn some of the back stories of the constitution and how in some cases it took many many decades to pass certain amendments.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself (career, background)? How did your work contribute to this book?

Evan: My background is in advertising, and now I run a business called COMMIT. We build brands for world-changing entrepreneurs and organizations in a day or a week. I get to work with amazing political candidates, social entrepreneurs, and organizations with incredible missions who are disrupting the world as we know it, and I love it! I’m thrilled to bring my creative skills to a new arena with this book.

Aura: I’m an author-illustrator and have long been interested in feminist and women’s history (my first two books are about American feminism). I love doing research and finding fascinating details about the past, and then bringing them to life. In recent years I became more interested in political activism, and as a book maker I wanted to create a vibrant and visual source that people can turn to for an introduction to the American political system.

What do you do when you’re not writing and illustrating?

Evan: I can be found working with my wonderful business partners and clients, spending time with my family and friends, and dipping my toes into various types of political engagement and activism.

Aura: I illustrate all day! I also take daily walks in nature where I think of new ideas. I love practicing yoga, listening to podcasts, reading books and learning new languages. 

We also each have 3 kids so that keeps us pretty busy!

What are you working on now? Any chance you’re working on something together??

We are working on developing our next joint project, which we’re really excited about!


About the authors

Aura Lewis is an author-illustrator with an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is inspired by fashion and culture from all over the world, playful color, vintage ephemera, and social activism. Aura’s books include Gloria’s Voice (published in March 2018 with Sterling Publishing) and The Illustrated Feminist (published in March 2020 with Abrams).

Evan Sargent is an intuitive creative director, strategist and designer with a knack for seeing the big picture. Her background includes over a decade as an art director and creative director in advertising – more recently, she has become a political activist and community organizer. We The People is her first children’s book.

 
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