This month I have decided to focus on America and the books that represent, explain, and tell the story of our great country. It seems only fitting to do this in the month of July since the 4th of July is such a celebrated holiday. The books in this list are all ones that can be used throughout the year for the many American holidays we celebrate as well as any unit you may do on American symbols.
Have you ever asked your students what America is really like? If you have then you have probably gotten some very narrow responses. Their knowledge of America is probably pretty limited to where they live and what they know. This book, America Is... by Louise Borden is a great way to introduce your students to what America really is. It is 50 different states that have different people, cultures, landmarks and lifestyles. This book looks at all of these things showing how diverse the 50 states are, but in the end we are all the same, Americans.
F is for Flag by Wendy Cheyette Lewison is a great book for Flag Day but can be read anytime you need to remind your students what the flag represents. The book shows that one flag can mean and represent so many things.
Bill the bird keeper does a great job giving students information about how the Bald Eagle lives as well as tells the story of how and why the Bald Eagle became a national symbol. The Bald Eagle by Norman Pearl is a great addition to your library. Your students will love learning about this amazing bird.
The Children's Book of Heroes by William J. Bennett introduces students to the many American Heroes from our past and present. Students are sure to find a hero they can look up to in this book, with lessons to be learned and morals and values to be reminded of. This book is sure to be a favorite in your class.
The Story of the Statue of Liberty by Betsy and Giulio Maestro is a wonderful book but what makes this book even better are the watercolor illustrations. The different angles and perspectives really give the reader a sense of the enormity of this grand lady. The book also gives the story behind Lady Liberty, where she came from, how she was built, and what she stands for. This is an awesome book!
Norman Pearl's books not only entertain his readers, but he simply explains the different American symbols. This book The Great Seal of the United States explains what an official seal is, how to recognize it and why it is so important to America. After reading this book you students will have a new fascination with the dollar bill.
The Story of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Patricia A. Pingry not only has the words to the first verse but tells the story of what Francis Scott Key saw during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814 that inspired the poem he wrote that later became our National Anthem. The book also explains all the ways to show respect as the song is played or sung.
In the book We the People - The Story of Our Constitution, Lynne Cheney does an amazing job showing the turbulent times right after the Revolutionary War. She includes all the key writers of the Constitution as well as illustrating the important events in the creation of this essential document. On each page is a significant quote by the different people involved in the meeting for and creation of the Constitution. This is also a great addition to your library.
Megan McDonald does an amazing job weaving a folklore story of a boy and his father helping to save the Liberty Bell with the history and importance of this important American symbol. The book Saving the Liberty Bell will soon become one of your students favorite books from your "America" book bin.
I hope there is something on this list that helps inspire a great lesson or piques your students curiosity of our great nation.