Our resident children’s librarian, Janssen, is here today with her picks for injecting a little history into your 4th of July celebration. Get those library cards ready!
Let’s be honest – on the Fourth of July, you’ll probably be outside, watching parades, having a neighborhood BBQ, and watching (or setting off!) fireworks. There may not be a lot of time for reading.
So we’re sharing this book list a little early so you’ll have time to read these books with your kids before the big day. This way, they can enjoy the celebrations with a little more understanding of what it’s all about.
- Those Rebels, John and Tom by Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham. This duo has written a couple of books and they’re all fantastic, but this one is perhaps my favorite. They point out the (many) differences between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who certainly had a tempestuous relationship. But they were willing to put those aside in order to work toward their common goal of creating a new nation built on the ideals of liberty.
- Grandma Drove the Garbage Truck by Katie Clark and Amy Huntington. A light-hearted picture book about a grandmother who runs the town’s garbage collection, this intrepid woman drives the truck herself when all three of her sons come down with the flu. Leave it to Grandma to accidentally garner an award during the Fourth of July parade.
- Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ted Rand. I memorized this poem back when I was in elementary school and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s such a great, patriotic (if not totally historically accurate) poem and the illustrations are just perfect. This would be a great poem to re-enact with your kids.
- The Flag Maker by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Claire A. Nivola. Based around the story of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner,” The Flag Maker explores the making of, and history of, one of the most famous American flags in history.
- A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women by Lynne Cheney and Robin Preiss Glasser. Cheney’s almanac doesn’t just feature 26 women, it showcases hundreds of American women, some famous, some who you’ve never heard of, who made a difference in US history. Definitely worth a read, plus you’ll have lots to talk about with your child.
- Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong and Margaret Chodos-Irvine. I love a book that explores the American experience from a different point of view. In this one, a Chinese American girl tries to convince her parents that making Chinese food at their neighborhood grocery store on such an American holiday is a mistake – no one will want Chinese food on the Fourth of July. Will they?
- George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer. This book (aimed at about 3rd grade and up) does an amazing job looking at both sides of the Revolutionary War and the main people involved in it. Plus, the illustrations are so fun and engaging, it’s perfect for a summer afternoon.
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