With July 4th approaching very quickly, a lot of people are thinking about fireworks, parades, barbecues and baseball. I have selected a variation of books that commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the essence of this patriotic federal holiday. So before heading out with your kids to eat those yummy barbequed baked beans and watch those razzle-dazzle fireworks at your 4th of July celebration, do a little reading of one of these books and capture the true spirit of the day.
Written by Judith St. George
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Reading level: Ages 5-8
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Philomel (May 19, 2005)
Publisher’s synopsis: Everyone would agree the one and only Declaration of Independence deserves the best. After all, it’s at the heart of our country. But since it was signed in 1776, the Declaration has had as many ups and downs as the United States itself. It has been rolled up, copied, hidden away and traveled by horseback, sailing vessel, mail truck, railroad car and military tank. After being front and center of a new nation, it has escaped two British invasions and survived for more than two centuries of both peaceful times and devastating wars.What a journey! And it remains proudly the one and only Declaration of Independence.
Judith St. George, author of So You Want to Be President?, and Will Hillenbrand give readers a witty and wonderfullyillustrated true story of the invincible Declaration, giving heroic testimony to the grit and determination of the country itself.A fun and fascinating way to share the history of the document that gave the American people their freedom.
School Library Journal review: “… This well-researched, readable, and well-illustrated book belongs on the shelves of all public and school libraries. It’s a wonderful way to learn history.” ~ Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Add this book to your collection: The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence
By Sam Fink
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction (June 1, 2007)
Publisher’s synopsis: The Declaration of Independence is considered to be one of the greatest documents of all time. The central section of the declaration is a ringing assertion that every human being has an equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Now in paperback, here is the complete Declaration of Independence beautifully hand-lettered and decorated. Almost every section is highlighted on its own page, with its meaning enhanced by imaginative drawings and sketches appropriate to the all-important words they complement, making the sometimes difficult language clear to any reader.
Publisher’s Weekly review: “Infused with humor and a contagious patriotism, newcomer Fink’s visual interpretation of the Declaration of Independence will help youngsters read between the sometimes puzzling lines of this monumental document. …”
Add this book to your collection: The Declaration of Independence
By Russell Freedman
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 90 pages
Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (April 2002)
Publisher’s synopsis: Describes the events leading up to the Declaration of Independence as well as the personalities and politics behind its framing.
School Library Journal review: “… Quotations from journals, essays, speeches, letters, and songs of the day add color to the compelling narration. Many bold reproductions, in color and black and white, supplement the text. A must for every collection. …” ~ Leah J. Sparks, Bowie Public Library, MD
Add this book to your collection: Give Me Liberty!: The Story of the Declaration of Independence
Other patriotic books you may consider:
by Jacqueline Jules (Author), Jef Czekaj (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 8 – 11
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; New edition (February 1, 2009)
Publisher’s synopsis: After the American Revolution, our country was anything but unified. Using the conceit of a school play, Unite or Die traces the challenges, conflicts, and compromises that shaped the United States Constitution and brought unity to the states. This accessible introduction to the drafting of the Constitution features exuberant illustrations and an engaging style suitable for reader’s theater.
School Library Journal review: “… The vividly colored spreads will hold the interest of even middle school students and would be useful to introduce how our form of government was created. Students will enjoy presenting this book as reader’s theater. …” ~ Nancy Baumann, Indian Paintbrush Elementary, Laramie, WY
Add this book to your collection: Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation
By David Rubel
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Reference (January 1, 2009)
Publisher’s synopsis: The Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times documents the tenure of each of the American presidents. It also includes information about the headlines, people, and fads that were defining America during each presidency. It is an easy-to-use resource that reflects events through the election of the next president in 2008.
Each profile includes a fact box that lists the president’s birthday, birthplace, vice president, wife, children, and nickname. It also lists the president’s full name and years he was in office.
Following the fact box is a one-page description of each year that president served. In other words, there are eight pages about Clinton and four about Carter. Each page explains the key issues that the president addressed that year, as well as what was important to Americans at that time. A brief description of each presidential campaign is included as well.
Besides serving as a quick reference source for information on the presidents, this title offers insight into general American history as well. For example, if a child born in 1990 wanted to see who was president when she was born, she could look up the page for 1990. There she would find that Bush was president and one of the biggest issues he faced that year was the Gulf War. She would also discover that Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa in 1990 and that hip-hop music was beginning to attract a strong following.
Two additional features follow the presidential profiles. The first is a table with the results of all American presidential elections. It includes the candidates’ names, their parties, and the popular and electoral votes each received. The other feature is a history of the White House that includes several photos of the White House over the past 150 years.
Children’s Literature review: “… On its chock-full pages, readers will find facts about the presidents and their families, significant national events of the times, and slices of everyday life during each presidential term. The information is accessible both to browser and researcher thanks to clear writing and careful page organization which uses colored print and shaded boxes to direct readers’ attention. …”
Add this book to your collection: Encyclopedia Of The Presidents And Their Times
We’d love to know what your favorite Independence Day books are! Why not leave us a comment?