A variety of picture books are available that feature patriotic themes perfect for the Independence Day holiday. Here are a few:
“REVOLUTIONARY FRIENDS: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette,” by Selene Castrovilla, illustrated by Drazen Kozjan, Calkins Creek, $16.95 (nf) (ages 8 and up)
The friendship between Gen. George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette is legendary. A young Lafayette visited America and became enamored with Washington, while the general developed affection for the Frenchman, even treating him like a son.
In simple text and chronological notations, Lafayette's and Washington’s lives are outlined through the Revolutionary War, each with his own political means of assisting the American victory. Much history is documented in these pages based on many primary sources and consultations with authorities on both men.
“Revolutionary Friends” is a welcome addition to the study of the Revolutionary War, the trials of both politicians and the forces that brought France and America together at vital times in history.
“BECOMING BEN FRANKLIN: How a Candle-Maker's Son Helped Light the Flame of Liberty,” by Russell Freeman, Holiday House, $24.95 (nf) (ages 10 and up)
Much is known about Benjamin Franklin, the renowned statesman, author and scientist. But Freeman’s story tells of the rebellious 17-year-old who ran away from home to become an apprentice in Boston, leading to his successful future. Included are pictures, primary sources, timelines, bibliographies and index. This is an outstanding work by an award-winning author.
“LINCOLN’S GETTYSBURG ADDRESS,” by Abraham Lincoln, illustrations by James Daugherty, Albert Whitman and Company, $19.95 (nf) (all ages)
First printed in 1947, this picture book reissue is a tribute to Lincoln and the hopes and promises in the Gettysburg Address which are relevant today, 150 years later. Newbery Award-winning illustrator James Daugherty includes 15 stunning paintings depicting historical scenes from American history, such as from the American West and the Civil War. Included are references to each of the paintings with background information.
"CRANKEE DOODLE,” by Tom Angleberger, illustrated by Cece Bell, Clarion, $16.99 (f) (ages 4-6)
“Crankee Doodle" is another spoof of the classic Yankee Doodle ditty, of which there have been hundreds over the years. In his debut picture book, Tom Angleberger portrays a snaggle-toothed pony trying to wheedle his Yankee owner into a trip to town, even buying a feather for his hat. “A feather?” raves the irate man. “I’d look like a fool.”
Readers will immediately see the tug and pull of the two and find a hilarious ending. “Crankee Doodle” is a great collaboration of lively text and punky art from a husband-and-wife team.
"KNIT YOUR BIT: A World War I Story," by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia, Putnam, $16.99 (f) (ages 5-8)
Mikey's dad has gone to fight in World War I and he wants to help — but not at the knitting bee in Central Park. When the girls in his class turn it into a competition, Mikey and his friends learn to knit. Based on a true story, "Knit Your Bit" helps show that every little bit helps.