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Picture Books to Celebrate the 4th of July

Happy Fourth of July! While this holiday traditionally commemorates the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it’s an excellent opportunity to take a look at what patriotism looks like. Living in a democracy means we all have the right to use our voices and our votes to make our country and the world a better place for all. Throughout American history, starting even before that fateful declaration, people have made their voices heard to stand up for freedom, equality, and justice. This Fourth of July take some time to share these books about the history of our democracy with your young readers. Their voices matter and showing them how other patriotic Americans have used their voices, yesterday and today, will help them to speak up tomorrow.

 

Leave It to Abigail!

by Barb Rosenstock; illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

Everyone knew Abigail was different. Instead of keeping quiet, she blurted out questions. Instead of settling down with a wealthy minister, she married a poor country lawyer named John Adams. Instead of running from the Revolutionary War, she managed a farm and fed hungry soldiers. Instead of leaving the governing to men, she insisted they “Remember the Ladies.” Instead of fearing Europe’s kings and queens, she boldly crossed the sea to represent her new country. And when John become President of the United States, Abigail became First Lady, and a powerful advisor. Leave it to Abigail–an extraordinary woman who surprised the world.

 

Sit-In

by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Brian Pinkney

This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement. Andrea Davis Pinkney uses poetic, powerful prose to tell the story of these four young men, who followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words of peaceful protest and dared to sit at the “whites only” Woolworth’s lunch counter. Brian Pinkney embraces a new artistic style, creating expressive paintings filled with emotion that mirror the hope, strength, and determination that fueled the dreams of not only these four young men, but also countless others.

 

Most Wanted

by Sarah Jane Marsh; illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

John Hancock and Samuel Adams were an unlikely pair of troublemakers. Hancock was young and dashing. Adams was old and stodgy. But working together, they rallied the people of Boston against the unfair policies of Great Britain and inspired American resistance. And to King George, they became a royal pain. When the British army began marching toward Lexington and Concord, sending Hancock and Adams fleeing into the woods, the two men couldn’t help but worry–this time, had they gone too far?

 

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

by Vashti Harrison

Among these women, you’ll find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things – bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.

 

This Land Is Your Land

by Woody Guthrie; illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

Since its debut in the 1940s, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” has become one of the best-loved and most timely folk songs in America, inspiring activism and patriotism for all. This classic ballad is now brought to life in a richly illustrated edition for the whole family to share. Kathy Jakobsen’s detailed paintings, which invite readers on a journey across the country, create an unforgettable portrait of our diverse land and the people who live it.

 

Democracy for Dinosaurs

by Laurie Krasny Brown; illustrated by Marc Brown

This essential, kid-friendly nonfiction guide isn’t just for families looking to share genuinely patriotic values during an election year — it’s for everyone. Using accessible dinosaur characters and clear language, Democracy for Dinosaurs explores key civic values on every adult’s mind and helps show young readers how the things they do every single day can be guided by principles we must share in a democratic society: freedom, fairness, the rule of law, equality, respect for free speech, and respect for the truth. By modeling accessible ways to practice being a good citizen, children will understand they are part of their country and that they have an important role to play.

 

The ABCs of AOC

by Jamia Wilson; illustrated by Krystal Quiles

This empowering and informative book is the perfect conversation starter for young people interested in government and activism, and the ultimate gift for anyone who wants to learn more about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. From Advocate to Feminist, Grassroots to Queens, and Revolutionary to Zeal, The ABCs of AOC introduces readers to values, places, and issues that relate to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s life and platform. A clear and engaging explanation of each term is paired with a stunning, contemporary illustration that will delight readers. This is an alphabet book like no other! The book closes with a wealth of information expanding on the A-Z of concepts introduced, for readers ready to learn more about the revolutionary congresswoman and the US government.