Friday, July 2, 2010

July 4: Stories behind America's favorite songs

This Sunday America celebrates its 234th birthday! Here are the stories behind some of the country's most popular patriotic songs, colorfully illustrated and told simply for young readers to read along (and sing with) for the holiday. Use the World Catalog and Amazon search boxes here on BookBag to find copies of these inspiring stories.

This Land is Your Land, Woody Guthrie, illustrated by Kathy Jacobsen (Little, Brown) Ages 4-8 Since its debut in the 1940s, Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" has become one of the best-loved folk songs in America. The classic picture book celebrating the ballad is brought to new life in this tenth-anniversary edition the whole family will love to share. Includes a full-color poster featuring one of Kathy Jakobsen's exquisite art pieces from the book.

America the Beautiful, by Katherine Lee Bates, illustrated by Chris Gall (Little, Brown) Ages 4-8 The song "America the Beautiful" gets a striking treatment from illustrator Gall, who opens with an introduction to the words, which were written as a poem in 1893 by 24-year-old Bates. The words were set to several different pieces of music, until, finally, a tune, written many years earlier, became the accepted version. Just as those who hear the song feel inspired by the patriotic sentiments, children will be stirred by Gall's pictures. Using hand engraving on clay-covered board and enhancing elements such as color with a computer, he offers a series of pictures resembling woodcuts in form and WPA paintings in style

You're a Grand Old Flag, illustrated by Norman Rockwell (Atheneum) Ages 4-8 Written in 1906 by George M. Cohan, "You're a Grand Old Flag" has been a favorite celebration song for generations of Americans. Now see it brought to life like never before as it is set with images of Americana, by the master of all things patriotic, Norman Rockwell. Children run to the swimming hole, families attend parades, a young couple kisses, and soldiers salute in this tribute to Norman Rockwell and the American culture, so beautifully immortalized in his art. With a foreword by Norman Rockwell's grandson, John Rockwell, this book is a treasure that families will love to sing along with.

My Country, Tis of Thee, photographs by Samuel Francis Smith (Cartwheel) Ages 4-8 The words to this familiar patriotic song are illustrated with stunning photographs of the American landscape and people. Children will enjoy celebrating the beauty of this country as they learn the words to "My Country Tis of Thee."

The Story of "The Star Spangled Banner, by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Nancy Munger (Candy Cane Press) Ages 4-8 Fewer than two hundred words tell the story of how Frances Scott Key observed the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814 and was so moved by the sight of the flag still flying at dawn that he wrote the poem that became our national anthem. Included in this little book are the words to the first verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" along with the admonition that we should stand up, remove our hats, and place our hands over our hearts when this song is played.

1 comment:

  1. It's too bad "America the Beautiful" did not become our national anthem.