Celebrate the 4th of July with Patriotic Books!

American flag

Happy 4th of July!  In preparing to celebrate America’s birthday next week, I was motivated to pull out some patriotic themed books and put them on display on our living room shelves this past weekend.

When my boys were younger, I started displaying books on the shelves of our entertainment center that were appropriate for whatever holiday was coming up next.  I had many Halloween and Christmas books, and a few Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and Easter books, and I always made sure to set them out on display when we decorated for each holiday.  Sometimes I would check out books from the library that fit a certain theme, and add those to the display!

Books displayed facing out get picked!

I’ve seen many libraries and bookstores use this approach and have read articles about how displaying books facing forward makes a real difference.  It makes sense.  Covers of books are more appealing than their spines!  It uses too much space to store all of our books like this, but pulling a few out and putting them “on display” makes them much more desirable.

patriotic books on shelf

I haven’t ever displayed books for the 4th of July on our shelves before, but when I started thinking about it, we already own quite a number of patriotic/historical fiction books about the Revolutionary War and the birth of America.  Since my youngest will be starting 4th grade in the Fall, now seemed to be a great time to pull those out and inspire some reading about history and discussion about why we celebrate the 4th of July.  Fourth grade Social Studies here in Virginia covers all of Virginia history from Jamestown (1607) to the present day, and many major events during colonial times, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War happened in Virginia as well.   That’s a lot of American history to cover, so it’ll be good for him to have a head start!  So, I made the decision to do it, grabbed some of our patriotic themed books, and set them out on the bookshelves in our family room.

It Worked!

Only minutes after I put the patriotic books on display, my boys were curiously checking them out.  Before the weekend was over, they had read several of the picture books!  (These are books that have been on shelves in their rooms for years and have never been picked.)  My youngest was the one who was the most drawn to the “new” books, and after he read a bit of one of the books, he had questions for me about the Revolutionary War.  My former 4th grade teacher self was happy to discuss!

Which Patriotic Books Should We Read?

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Here are some great patriotic books with general grade level recommendations:

Picture Books:

 The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh (Preschool-Grade 3)

 So You Want to be President?  by Judith St. George (Grades 2 and up)

 Oh Say Can you See? by Sheila Keenan (Grades 2-5)

  George vs. George by Rosalyn Schanzer (Grades 3-6)


Early Chapter Books

 Revolutionary War on Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Grades 2-4)

 Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? by Jean Fritz (Grades 3-6)

 What is the Declaration of Independence? (also: Who Was George Washington? Who Was Paul Revere?) What is/Who is series (Grades 3-6)



 George Washington’s Socks by Elvira Woodruff (Grades 4-6)

  The Fighting Ground by Avi (grades 4 and up)

  Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Grades 5 and up)

 Chains (First in the Seeds of America Trilogy) by Laurie Halse Anderson (Grades 6-10)

 The Secret of Sarah Revere by Ann Rinaldi (Grades 7-10)

  My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier (Grades 7-12)



  Wee Sing America (great traditional and patriotic sing-along songs, book and CD) (all ages)

  America the Beautiful:  A Pop-Up Book, by Robert Sabuda (Grades 3 and up)
We have this book and it has intricate cut out pop-ups of landmarks in the U.S.  It is amazing, but I would recommend this for older kids, since it is pretty delicate.


Check out some of these patriotic books with your kids, and celebrate America’s birthday!

Happy 4th of July Reading!

Photo by Dirkusmaximus