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You’re a grand old picture book!

Happy (belated) 4th of July, everyone! Hope you’re all feeling rested and refreshed after a weekend of all-American activities. The 4th has always been my favorite non-gift-giving holiday, mostly for the food and fireworks—guess I never really outgrew being a pyro. In fact, this 4th, I was thrilled to discover that Connecticut has relaxed their fireworks laws—picked up some great Roman candles and other assorted goodies at Stop & Shop. No M-80s, but still, it’s a start!

Visiting my folks in CT, who are in driving distance of the beach, I’ll admit that books weren’t at the forefront of my thoughts (gasp). But as I watched Henry prance around the yard waving a little American flag, I did start to wonder a little about how to explain the holiday to him. So, back in the City last night, I combed through his bookshelves and discovered to my chagrin that we really didn’t have much for him—a copy of Lynne Cheney’s AMERICA: A PATRIOTIC PRIMER (which, no joke, is a really good book, but way too old for Henry), but that’s about it.

Thinking about my own reading, though, most of the books I remember from childhood, like Jean Fritz’s Revolutionary-era stories on Patrick Henry and John Hancock, would be too old for Henry. And doing a little Amazon surfing this morning, it seems like the bulk of Americana for kids is either in the early reader format or aimed more for the 5-10 picture book readers than the younger end.

But maybe I’m just not finding them… so, I turn to you, dear readers. Anyone got any recommendations for young picture books on America? Think of it as your patriotic duty…

3 Responses to You’re a grand old picture book!

  1. Cynthia says:

    John, you are right there are not many historical picture books out there, so I did a search and found this web site. It has a whole section on holidays and history. Check it out.

    http://lookingglassreview.com/books/

    And here is another book I found as well.

    Betsy Ross : Patriot of Philadelphia
    Judith St. George
    Illustrator: Sasha Meret
    Nonfiction Picture Book
    For ages 8 to 12
    Henry Holt, 1997 ISBN: 978-0805054392

    Happy hunting! Cynthia

  2. Huh. Okay, I’m stumped. Sounds like a question for the LibraryThing forums.

  3. M. G. King says:

    Interesting question, John! There’s JOHN, PAUL, GEORGE & BEN by Lane Smith (some of the stories needed a lot of explaining, but my kids thought the pictures were pretty funny.) But I’ve always been a big believer in “throwing mud on the wall to see what sticks.” Kids will surprise you. I read to my own preschoolers from a sparsely-pictured anthology of stories that was read to me when I was a girl, called AMERICAN BACKGROUNDS, part of a set published by Groiler back in the dark ages of 1958. (Edited, as I read, to be a little more PC — this volume was already old when I was a child). They loved the stories of George Washington, Lewis & Clark, the Continental Railroad, excerpts from the Little House books, the, ahem, Native Americans and the Great Buffalo, etc. There’s also a great PBS series available on Netflix called LIBERTY KIDS, which my boys watched as 4 year olds, and again in their early elementary years. Peanuts also has a great patriotic series. But you’re right, the pickin’s for patriotic preschoolers might be a bit slim, at least for titles still in print.

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