(B) Ages 4-8, (C) Ages 8-10, (D) Ages 10-12, Booklists, Middle Grades, Picture Books, Resources
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Patriotic Book List for Independence Day

It’s Independence Day this week, and, naturally, we’ve got you covered with a book list! Every few years or so, we compile a patriotic book list for the 4th of July or Veterans Day or Memorial Day or….

Today’s list is full of classic patriotic children’s literature plus some newer gems. Snag a few from your local library before you head to the lake or beach this week!

Previous Patriotic Book Lists include:

Patriotic Book List

Books are labeled picture book, chapter book, middle grades, etc. instead of with recommended ages. Most of these books have a wide age-range appeal and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Honoring the Flag

Blue Sky, White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus. Using word play to show the beautiful complexities of our nation, this book is a salute to the flag and all it signifies. Picture book.

Star Spangled Banner by Peter Spier. A wordless depiction of the events that led to the writing of the poem by Francis Scott Key that became our national anthem. So much detail in the illustrations! Picture book.

Our Flat Was Still There by Jessie Hartland (new in 2019) expands on the “Star-Spangled Banner” with the story of Mary Pickersgill, a Baltimore seamstress hired by the commander of Ft. McHenry to stitch a flag so large the British could see it. The project had to be finished in a local brewery to accommodate its 30′ x 45′ size. The banner observed by Francis Scott Key survived for 200 years and now is proudly preserved by the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Patriotic Heroes

John, Paul, George, and Ben by Lane Smith. Hilarious. You just never knew how these great men developed their talents in their childhood, did you?

George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz and illustrated by Tomie DePaola. Delightful early chapter book with a unique vantage point on George Washington from a boy who was named for him.

Phoebe the Spy by Judith Griffin and illustrated by Margot Tomes. Another historical fiction chapter book gem about George Washington, told through the eyes of a young African American enslaved in Washington’s house.

George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen From Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer. King George vs. General George, this picture book looks at the Revolution from both sides of the pond.

George Washington, Spy Master: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War by Thomas B. Allen. Double agents, George Washington’s code book, and more! Middle grades.

George Washington’s World by Genevieve Foster. A hefty book that looks at world history during George Washington’s life. George Washington’s biography is woven throughout. Middle grades and up.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Longfellow, illustrated by Christopher Bing. Longfellow’s famous poem turned into a captivating picture book.

Mr. Revere and I: Being an Account of Certain Episodes in the Career of Paul Revere, Esq., as Revealed by His Horse by Robert Lawson. “Sherry” used to be a famous horse in the king’s army, but she becomes the secret star of Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride. Humorous historical fiction. See our review. Illustrated chapter book.

Paul Revere and the Minute Men by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. One of the Landmark biographies, by the author of the beloved Understood Betsy. Middle grades.

Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta. What ideas did Benjamin Franklin have besides experimenting with electricity? You might be surprised at his enduring innovations. Picture book.

Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Ben Franklin by his Good Mouse Amos by Robert Lawson. Humorous depiction of Ben Franklin and his brilliant inventions that were, of course, all inspired by his good mouse Amos. Historical fiction illustrated chapter book.

Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? (and more in the series) by Jean Fritz. This chapter book series by Jean Fritz introduces readers to various patriotic heroes in an engaging, well written format. Highly recommended!

Answering the Cry for Freedom: Stories of African Americans and the American Revolution by Gretchen Woelfle and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. A biography anthology looking at 13 African Americans during the American Revolution: some were spies for the British, some worked for the Americans, some emigrated to Africa after the war, some returned to their homes in America…. See our starred review. Middle grades.

Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff. Beautifully illustrated picture book about a little known hero of the American Revolution.

Revolutionary Rogues: John André and Benedict Arnold by Selene Castrovilla. Not exactly “patriotic heroes,” still, this story is an important one! Read our review. Picture book. See also: The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin; middle grades–see our review.

American Revolution in General

Sleds on Boston Common by Louise Borden. A historical fiction picture book about an event in Boston during 1774.

The Boston Tea Party by Russell Freedman and illustrated by Peter Malone. A meaty picture book about the Boston tea party. See our review.

Everybody’s Revolution by Thomas Freeman. Text heavy picture book. Goes beyond familiar names in a more in depth look at the American Revolution.

The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh. Another text-heavy picture book about the American Revolution.

Our Independence and the Constitution by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Another Landmark title about the founding of our country by the talented Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Middle grades.

Yankee Doodle America: The Spirit of 1776 from A to Z by Wendell Minor. An alphabet book that introduces readers to key people, symbols, and locations from the American Revolution. The alphabet is the organizing principle; this is not just an ABC book for preschoolers!

Folklore and Geography

From Pie Town to Yum Yum: Weird and Wacky Place Names Across the United States by Debbie Herman. Fun trivia about the U.S.A. and its quirky places. Picture book.

From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. Compiled by Amy L. Cohn. Beginning with the early inhabitants of our country, through the European explorers, colonization and Declaration of Independence, to immigration and civil rights…this is a marvelously compilation of stories, poems, songs, and beautiful illustrations.

Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America by Lynne Cheney and Robin Priess Glasser. A family travels across the 50 states, starting in Massachusetts, and ending in Hawaii. As they go along, they write letters to family, visit historical places, and bring back souvenirs. Picture book.

The Diane Goode Book of American Folk Tales & Songs. A shorter collection that starts with Yankee Doodle and ends with a family trying to blow out a candle. Songs and short stories.

Go In and Out the Window: An Illustrated Songbook for Children by Dan Fox. A lively collection of American folk songs coupled with famous American art as illustrations. Highly recommended if you can find a copy!

How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. by Marjorie Priceman. A cheerful look at all the components that go into a cherry pie (including the cooking implements). This, of course, requires a journey around the U.S.A. Picture book.

Don’t Know Much about the 50 States by Kenneth C. Davis. Fun trivia about our 50 states.

What did we miss? What are your favorite patriotic books?

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1 Comment

  1. Cheryl says

    I would add Eric Metaxas’s book, If You Can Keep It. My family and I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Metaxas speak last evening, during which he outlined key principles from the aforementioned book. He highlighted that the current zeitgeist is to focus on all our mistakes and failings. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging these faults; but we shouldn’t stop there – we shouldn’t be like the parent who says, “See the mess you’ve made – you’ll never amount to anything!” Instead, we need to learn from our mistakes, while also appreciating the freedoms we have. We must keep working toward the ideal embraced in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, recognizing what an unprecedented form of government these documents commenced.

    But this freedom is quite tenuous. After the completion of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin realized the success would not just be dependent on the document, but also on the people. When he was posed this question, “Well, doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin pithily replied, “A republic, madam-if you can keep it.”

    Mr. Metaxas made the case that Franklin understood the fragile nature of the experiment – that it requires (the concept which he borrowed from Os Guinness) the “golden triangle of freedom” (freedom requires virtue, which requires faith, which requires freedom…). Each generation needs to understand and embrace these foundational components so that we can continue to “keep it.”

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