It’s the Fourth of July tomorrow, and yes — I celebrate it despite being in Britain. In fact, we’ll have our annual party tomorrow with neighbors and friends coming over. But before that tradition, I’m in the midst of another one, reading various books about the 4th of July and America to the kids.
Sam The Minuteman is one they always enjoy. By Nathaniel Benchley, it tells the story of a boy getting carried along with the battles at Lexington and Concord. I especially like this book because it has a counterpart, George The Drummer Boy. That has the viewpoint of a boy who is a drummer with the British Army.
Red, White and Blue: The Story Of The American Flag has lots of nice pictures and stories of the flag over time, including the Betsy Ross story, along with a qualification that no one knows if it’s true that she made the first one.
The Star-Spangled Banner is more for smaller kids, say around five. Again, lots of nice pictures and interesting facts interspersed with the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner. OK, so Betsy Ross is declared a fact rather than qualified. Aside from that, the facts look pretty good.
My Red White & Blue is a musical board book really meant for kids around three or four, but my five year old still loved it tonight. It plays the Star Spangled Banner when you push a button, has lots of nice pictures and is an easy read.
Johnny Appleseed is a nice tale of John Chapman, the Johnny Appleseed who wandered America in the 1800s planting apple trees. OK, so it doesn’t explain the business aspects that I never knew about until checking out this Wikipedia entry. But it does have lots of nice pictures, an easy story to read and has him wearing a tin pan for a hat 🙂
O, Say Can You See is a great book for an expat Americans trying to educate their children about American traditions and symbols. Richly illustrated, lots of facts, lots of qualifications about what we know and don’t know about the first flag, how the White House came to be, monuments like the Statue Of Liberty, how the US national bird was almost the wild turkey (non-alcoholic variety) and more.
A Happy Fourth Of July to my fellow Americans, wherever you may be celebrating tomorrow!