Happy Independence Day!
There will be more interesting pictures of the day tomorrow, but here is a token one. It's G. (left) and L. looking at the books I just pulled off our bookshelf. Last night, as I was tucking K., in, he asked what we were doing the next day and I told him it was the Fourth of July, Independence Day. He then asks, "What's that?" Clearly, we need to review American history again. (I'm not panicked because it was already on the docket for the next school year.) I did think that I would pull out a couple books in honor of the day.
What did I pull off? Well, first there is The Declaration of Independence: The Words that Made America illustrated by Sam Fink. I like this because it is the entire text of the document in picture book form. So each two-page spread has a line or two of the Declaration and an illustration to go with it. Reading it I realize just how little of the Declaration we are used to hearing.
The next is Yankee Doodle by Gary Chalk. This book takes the verses of the song and gives the history that explains them. While it covers a bit more than the signing of the Declaration, it also gives a good explanation of the signing and why. Plus, I love how it makes the sometimes odd lyrics of a song children sing without thinking make sense.
Last is a slightly long book, Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? by Jean Fritz. This book is more of a short biography of John Hancock, but it also spends some time talking about his very large signature and the signing of the Declaration.
Finally, we will probably watch (again) the movie 1776 at some point this week. I was ten during the Bicentennial and have some vivid memories from the events that happened. I kept for a long time the penny that was smashed by the Freedom Train and remember going through the Freedom Train itself. I remember watching all the tall ships on TV which were part of the celebrations. And I remember going on a school field trip to a movie theater to watch 1776. I fell in love with it and a few years later when we visited the historic area of Philadelphia, seeing the actual rooms the Continental Congress sat in felt a little like a pilgrimage. I sill love it and occasionally make my children sit through it. It may not be entirely historically accurate, but for me as a child, it helped to much to explain the events of the revolution and make it interesting and accessible.
Happy Fourth of July everyone!