Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Favorite Patriotic Book

In honor of tomorrow being Independence Day here in the States, we're choosing our favorite patriotic books!

There is a (very large) series of books called Dear America. They are fictional diaries of kids from different backgrounds in different circumstances throughout American history. I'm 99% certain I read every single one that had been published when I was in middle school. The series originally was all girls, and then they added boys as well.

Don't get me wrong... I love these books, but it's more about nostalgia than good writing. If you've ever read the American Girl books (my second choice for this post) you know what I'm talking about. They all have the same general story line: there's usually at least one sibling, a love interest (usually reluctantly accepted... these girls aren't particularly swoony), and they usually have to help their family in some way (working in a shop, watching the kids, looking after their parents' health, etc). They're all early teenagers, because the books' target audience of middle schoolers.

The few that particularly stand out in my memory are the girls on the Oregon Trail, on the transcontinental railroad in the Utah territory, on the Titanic, on the Mayflower, at the Alamo, and my favorite: Zipporah, a Jewish immigrant in NYC at the turn of the 20th century.

Despite what I said about them not being great writing, I would highly recommend these to any kids, particularly those who like history.

My favorite patriotic book has actually been featured on this blog before, as Alex's favorite LGBT book.

It's David Levithan, so we already know it's going to be brilliant.  While the book is really more about tolerance and how to handle changes, I kind of feel that isn't that what independence is all about anyhow? 

It does get into some of the basics of American rights: presidential elections, the will of the people, kids who are supportive of their government, campaigning, all that jazz.  But really, the bigger picture, is that this is America, and in America we should respect people's right to be who they want to be (as long as they're not harming anyone else in the process.)


  1. OMG Alex, I also read all of the Dear America series back in middle school. My favorite was Zipporah's story also (obviously) but they were all so good from what I remember. I also love the American Girl books. We have most of the dolls so I read almost all of the books.

    1. Did EVERYONE own those dolls but me?

      My mother refused to buy them because they were too expensive.

      I feel like I missed out on something in my childhood.