Saturday, July 4, 2020

10 Children's Books About the 4th of July

Themed books are a great way to share the meaning and importance of events, holiday and even seasons with our children.  Summer offers a lot of downtime for young learners--but a lot of opportunities to learn about the world around them. 

This year, with COVID-19 on everyone's minds, July 4th looks a little different in the U.S. With communities cancelling festivities, large gatherings put on hold and fireworks heading online for many areas, this holiday has lost much of its excitement--but, it is still an important holiday to our nation's history and books are a great way to introduce children to the history and significant of our 4th of July traditions.  Today, I am sharing ten of our favorite children's books about the 4th of July.

Pinnable image for a list of 4th of July themed children's books

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The Night Before the Fourth of July
by Natasha Wing

This cute, children's book shares many of the traditional 4th of July activities from the annual backyard BBQ to the nightly fireworks show.  With a short, simple story and fun rhymes that remind readers of The Night Before Christmas, the book is a fun way to talk about your 4th of July traditions with the kids.

About the Book

It's the night before the Fourth of July and all across the United States people are getting ready for hot dogs and fireworks. Decked in red, white, and blue, a family heads to a parade, hosts a backyard BBQ with friends and family, dodges an afternoon thundershower, and of course, watches a fireworks show. The Night Before the Fourth of July captures all the fun, excitement, and pride of the best summer holiday!

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The Berenstain Bears God Bless Our Country
by Mike Berenstain

We love the Berenstain Bears books.  This book is slightly different than the traditional books we remember from the series as it has a stronger basis in Christian faith.  While the book may not be for everyone--it shares a God-focused view of Independence Day.

About the Book

The Bear family and their Bear Country neighbors celebrate the Fourth of July with a big parade. But not before the cubs get a lesson about the blessings of freedom for their country.

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John, Paul, George & Ben
by Lane Smith

This funny children's book shares a fun blend of fact and fiction as readers meet a few of our nation's founding fathers as little boys.  It is a cute story that kids (and adults) will enjoy reading.  It's a great book to introduce the names and roles of our historical leaders--and tie it into the history or our country's independence.

About the Book

Once there were four lads...
John [Hancock],
Paul [Revere],
George [Washington],
and Ben [Franklin].

Oh yes, there was also Tom [Jefferson], but he was annoyingly independent and hardly ever around.

These lads were always getting into trouble for one reason or another. In other words, they took a few...liberties. And to be honest, they were not always appreciated.

This is the story of five little lads before they became five really big Founding Fathers.

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Founding Mothers:  Remembering the Ladies
by Cokie Roberts

While we have heard of our nation's "Founding Fathers" too many times to count--we may not recognize the ladies of our history as often.  I love this book's way of introducing some  of the important women significant to our country's independence.  It's a great book to supplement learning and inspire readers.  The author has also written Founding Mothers:  The Women Who Raised our Nation for grown ups too!

About the Book

Beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor–winning artist Diane Goode, Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies reveals the incredible accomplishments of the women who orchestrated the American Revolution behind the scenes.

Roberts traces the stories of heroic, patriotic women such as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay, and others. Details are gleaned from their letters, private journals, lists, and ledgers. The bravery of these women’s courageous acts contributed to the founding of America and spurred the founding fathers to make this a country that “remembered the ladies.”

This compelling book, based on the author's acclaimed work for adults, Founding Mothers, includes a rich time line, biographies, an author’s note, and additional web resources in the back matter.

Parents and educators looking for a more in-depth book beyond the Rosie Revere and Rad Women series will welcome Founding Mothers.

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F is for Flag
by Wendy Cheyette Lewison

This is another cute, simple children's book that helps teach the history and significance of the United State flag.  It's a fun starting point to teach children about the flag and American history.

About the Book

June 14 is Flag Day, but with so many American flags proudly displayed, every day seems like Flag Day. Perfect for reading together with a young child, F Is for Flag shows in simple terms how one flag can mean many things: a symbol of unity, a sign of welcome, and a reminder that-in good times and in bad-everyone in our country is part of one great big family.

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The Fourth of July Story
by Alice Delgliesh

This is an easy to read book that shares the history of the 4th of July with readers and shares important events and characters that led to independence.  Often, we get caught up in the modern traditions like parades and cookouts--and, of course, fireworks and community festivals.  This book is a great way to look at the 4th of July from a historical view.

About the Book

An accessible story of America’s birthday brings alive the history and spirit of the Fourth of July, with an introduction to the fight for independence and the events and people that shaped American tradition.

What happened on the Fourth of July long before there were fireworks and parades? Alice Dalgliesh takes young readers back to revolutionary times, back to the colonists’ desire for freedom and the creation of the Declaration of Independence.

Simple text captures the excitement of the era, telling how word of Independence traveled up and down the thirteen colonies, touching the lives of everyday people throughout the land. Like all of Alice Dalgliesh’s work, The Fourth of July Story remains an American classic.

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The Story of America's Birthday
by Patricia Pingry

This is a great, basic look at American history for little ones.  I love books that introduce concepts very simply and straightforwardly--but, give parents and caregivers basics to build upon.  This is a fun book for families seeking to explain 'why' we celebrate the 4th of July.

About the Book

This little book presents the story of the founding of America in words that are simple enough for a toddler to understand. Vibrant illustrations paired with the text help to create the connection between the story of the Declaration of Independence and American Revolution and today's Fourth of July festivities. Parents can use this book to introduce little ones to the history and meaning behind Independence Day. Ages 2-5.

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Red, White and Boom!
by Lee Wardlaw

This is another fun, easy to read, children's book that shares some of our favorite 4th of July celebration activities and traditions.

About the Book

Fireflies flit
Sparklers spit

Pinwheels spin
Goosebump skin

It's the Fourth of July! Travel across the country for a city parade, a beach picnic, and fireworks in the park in this poetic celebration of the many cultures and traditions that make America's birthday BOOM!

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George vs. George:  The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides
by Rosalyn Schanzer

If you are seeking a children's book for older elementary students that takes a slightly different look at America's Independence--this book should be on your reading list.  The author does a great job sharing history--but, of also showing that there are two sides to our history's stories as well.

About the Book

There are two sides to every story. Rosalyn Schanzer's engaging and wonderfully illustrated book brings to life both sides of the American Revolution.

The narrative introduces anew the two enemies, both named George: George Washington, the man who freed the American colonies from the British, and George III, the British king who lost them. Two leaders on different sides of the Atlantic, yet with more in common than we sometimes acknowledge. We are lead through their story, and the story of their times, and see both sides of the arguments that divided the colonies from the Kingdom. Was King George a "Royal Brute" as American patriots claimed? Or was he, as others believed, "the father of the people?" Was George Washington a scurrilous traitor, as all the king's supporters claimed? Or should we remember and celebrate him as "the father of his country?" Who was right? History teaches us that there are two sides to every story.

Rosalyn Schanzer's book is an accessible account of one the most vital periods in American history. It is also a timeless lesson in seeing history from different points of view. The author spent two years researching books, paintings, cartoons, and descriptions of Revolutionary times. She uses art, text, and first-hand accounts to illustrate how history should never be reduced to simplistic conflicts between the "good guys" and the "bad guys." Her illustrations, and her engaging quote bubbles, bring the Revolution to life again, and allow the characters of the period to speak for themselves. Through its lively text, detailed illustrations, and fully authenticated quotes, George vs. George shines fresh light on both sides of the story of our country's formative years.

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Apple Pie 4th of July
by Rosalyn Schanzer

I think this is a wonderful book for young children of immigrant families understanding the celebration of the 4th of July in the United States while remembering the importance of their own cultures and heritage as well. 

About the Book

Shocked that her parents are cooking Chinese food to sell in the family store on an all-American holiday, a feisty Chinese American girl tries to tell her mother and father how things really are. But as the parade passes by and fireworks light the sky, she learns a surprising lesson.

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