My family loves reading books for entertainment, and this list of patriotic picture books for Independence Day contains some of our favorites for reading on or around July 4th. Pack a few in your picnic basket to enjoy while you wait for fireworks to begin.
Patriotic Picture Books that Celebrate America’s Independence
A is for America by Greg Paprocki
I actually just ordered A is for America this morning.
Why a board book, you may wonder, when most of my children are already grown?
I did it because I have a lot of little grandchildren now. And I wasn’t sure all of them would sit still through some of the longer books in this list.
I love the sturdy pages and colorful mid-century illustrations in this Americana alphabet book. The bright drawings feature key figures, places, and concepts in our nation’s history.
And the sparse text on each page makes it quick and easy to get through, even if you’re reading it to a child with a short attention span. 🙂
The Story of America’s Birthday by Patricia Pingry
“Sturdy pages” and “quick, easy read” are also apt descriptors of Patricia Pingry’s The Story of America’s Birthday
This is another new title for our family, purchased on behalf of those same little grandchildren. But I ordered with confidence, since we also own Pingry’s The Story of Christmas. It’s one of several books we read to our little ones every December as part of our Book-a-Day Christmas Countdown.
If my collection of patriotic picture books grows much bigger, I may have to institute the same kind of countdown to Independence Day!
The Night before the 4th of July by Natasha Wing
And speaking of treating July 4th like Christmas, that’s exactly what Natasha Wing has done with The Night before the 4th of July.
Written in the same fashion as Clement Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas, this story examines a home of an average American family on the eve of Independence Day and shares what each occupant is doing inside.
Mom is hanging bunting. Dad is running up the flag with some help from the kids. At the end of the day, instead of “visions of sugarplums,” the children are dreaming of the fireworks they’ll get to enjoy the following night.
It’s a sweet story that makes me want to deck my own halls with red, white, and blue and bake up some goodies for a Fourth of July picnic.
The Declaration of Independence (illustrated by Sam Fink)
I found a pristine copy of Sam Fink’s Declaration of Independence at our local homeschool group’s Used Book & Curriculum Sale this spring for just a couple of bucks. What a steal!
I was thrilled to own a copy. We’d checked it out from the library before. Honestly, the kids I was reading it to back then were a little too young to appreciate it. But one of them has turned into quite the history buff now, and I’ve caught him pouring over the book’s detailed and annotated illustrations more than once since I brought it home.
The text is taken directly from the historic document itself. “When in the course of human events….” The print is large, with only one phrase or portion of a sentence per page, and the clever illustrations make the ofttimes lofty language easier to understand.
The 4th of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh
The author writes in clear, concrete language that even little children can understand.
She does this so her young readers will know that Independence day means much more than picnics, parades, and fireworks.
I especially enjoy the fact that, as she tells the story of the birth of our nation, Dalgliesh weaves in details of children who were there to witness it.
This book is a pleasure to read and includes a few details other books omit.
Yankee Doodle by Dr. Richard Schackburg
There are ten verses in all, plus a chorus. Did you know it had so many? Each verse gets its own two page spread illustrated in charming black woodcut prints highlighted with bright blocks in primary colors. You’ll find the sheet music for Yankee Doodle at the end of the book.
I’m pretty sure this title is out of print, but it would be worth checking your local library for it. I bought my copy many years ago at a garage sale.
F is for Flag by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
Perfect for reading together with a young child, F Is for Flag shows in simple terms how one flag can mean many different things.
It’s a symbol of unity, a sign of welcome, and a reminder that — in both good times and in bad — everybody in our country is part of one great big family.
Celebrate Freedom by Scott Foresman
Included are lyrics to half a dozen songs, including “This Land is Your Land,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “America the Beautiful,” and the National Anthem. It also contains a discussion about the US flag and how it has changed over the years, along with tips for honoring, displaying, and pledging allegiance to the flag.
Another section deals with national symbols, buildings, landmarks, and treasures. And the final section of the book contains a sampling of famous quotes on such topics as freedom, courage, honesty, respect, and responsibility.
In 1776 by Jean Marzollo
“In seveteen hundred and seventy-five,
A long, long time ago,
Great Britain ruled America–
There was some trouble, though.”
The simple, engaging verse and the light, whimsical illustrations make In 1776 a delightful book to read again and again.
It covers topics such as how the colonists dressed, what they ate, where they lived, and the kind of houses they built. It explains the difference between Loyalists and Patriots, talks about where people got their food and clothes, how they earned money, where they shopped and went to school, and why liberty was so important to them.
Since one of my sons shares the same name as the title character in this book, Sam the Minuteman has always been a favorite patriotic picture book at our house.
It’s a Level 3 “I Can Read Book,” so my kids soon learned to read it to themselves if I were too busy to read it them.
It recounts the story of the shot heard ’round the world through the eyes of a young boy who took part in the battle. Little did he know at the time that day was the beginning of the American Revolution.
The war lasted eight long years. Both sides suffered lost. But in the end, America was free and independent.
Red, White, and Blue by John Herman
Here’s another great title for Flag Day. Red, White, and Blue tells the story of how our flag first came into being.
It shows examples of the various flags that flew during the Revolutionary War, and tells how the Stars & Stripes were ultimately adopted as our official flag soon after the war was won.
Since there are three weeks between Flag Day (on June 14) and Independence Day (on July 4), you could easily pick a different patriotic picture book from this list to read every weekday between the two celebrations… sort of a count down to Independence Day!
Whether you spread these books out over the course of several weeks or binge read them all in a single day, we hope you’ll find time to fit at least a few patriotic picture books into your Fourth of July celebrations!
More American Heritage Printables
Extend the freedom-loving fun with these free patriotic printables: American Heritage Printables. Or, if you prefer a bound volume, check out my devotional journal, God Bless America. It was made just for patriotic citizens like you.
Packed with inspiring thoughts from our founding fathers and other great Americans, this journal will inspire you to think deeply about what it means to be a citizen of this great country. What is our responsibility to the rest of the world? How do we ensure the guiding principles on which our nation was established are never forgotten? Consider how you feel about these matters and use the space provided to write down your thoughts.
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