Independence Day is just around the corner and it’s been a while since I have reviewed books about the United States. This group of books aren’t specifically for the 4th of July , but I will link to some at the end of the post. These books are about America, about the flag, about the states and are perfect to read all year long.
America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates and illustrated by Chris Gall is a stunning book. The author is the original author of the poem turned song that even this Canadian knew as a child. The illustrator is her great-great grandnephew who pays homage to his family legacy and should feel proud with the results. Each page illustrates the lyrics beautifully while showcasing different parts of the country, country’s history and simple nostalgia. My son liked it, and particularly loved the page with 9-11 firefighters raising the flag , which brought tears to my eyes. At the end of the book there are short blurbs about each illustration for further information as well.
ABC USAby Martin Jarrie is another beautiful alphabet book! Like most alphabet books it devotes a page to each letter with vibrant illustrations . Not everything in this book is by any means unique to the United States but most are. I specifically appreciated the I for Immigrants page, both from a historical and personal perspective, my son loved the J for Jazz and we both loved all the whimsical illustrations. There are a lot of learning opportunities presented as well, school age children could really benefit from it as well the 2 letters that stood out for me for further learning were U for Underground Railroad and V for Valley Forge. How ever you use this it’s worth a look for certain.
Celebrate the 50 States! by Loreen Leedy is not a story book about the 50 states but really an illustrated short form non fiction book about each and every state. Each page is broken into columns with 2 states ( all in alphabetical order) with a few historical facts, a basic map of the state and fun facts even parents probably don’t know! I love books like this and wasn’t surprised when my husband picked it up , leafed through it and said ” Hey this is a pretty cool book.” It is. It is far too detailed to hold a young preschooler’s attention but it a great reference book even for kids as young as 3, just don’t try to read the whole thing in one sitting with such a little one. Older kids will like the trivia question posed for each state and checking their answers at the back of the book.
America: My Land, Your Land, Our Land by W.Nikola-Lisa is a really interesting concept for a book. The book showcases how The United States is made up of drastic opposites. Each page is devoted to two opposing features such as bright and dark, yours and mine, old and young. Then the illustrations reflect these opposites. What makes it so interesting is that there isn’t one illustrator , their are 14! Each showcasing their view of one of these opposites. My son enjoyed this book because he is all about seperating and classifying things right now and the text was short and illustrations beautiful. Parents will probably enjoy it on a different level because many of the illustrations hold deeper meanings if you have some more mature knowledge about historical facts.
The National Anthem (True Books, American Symbols) by Patrica Ryin Quiri is a great book for school age children ( 5-10) to learn about how the American flag and anthem came about. I learned a lot from this book and I have a minor in American History! It talks about the evolution from a poem to an anthem, with easy text, great photos and illustrations. I particularly liked seeing the author’s original handwritten poem. It humanizes the song for readers and makes it even more special.