They're going to lose their innocence in degrees, anyhow, so you might as well take this opportunity to introduce your offspring to Howard Zinn's chronicle of America's powerless versus American power. Abridged, illustrated, and updated, this is a perfect prelude to fireworks for the thinking tween or teen. Point your young idealist to volume one's Revolutionary War narrative (Washington's army cuts Loyalists' bodies into pieces!). The rest of the story will make for edifying summer reading.
A Young People's History
of the United States
Volumes One and Two; By Howard Zinn, adapted by Rebecca Stefoff; $16.95-17.95