Looking for the best patriotic picture books? These patriotic children’s books for elementary students are engaging for primary and upper elementary kids. Books with lesson plans and activities linked. Picture books about various topics such as American history, the American flag, presidents and more for your kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade students. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!
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Patriotic Children’s Books
The Next President by Kate Messner
Who will be the NEXT president? Could it be you? When George Washington became the first president of the United States, there were nine future presidents already alive in America, doing things like practicing law or studying medicine. When JFK became the thirty-fifth president, there were 10 future presidents already alive in America, doing things like hosting TV shows and learning the saxophone.
And right now—today!—there are at least 10 future presidents alive in America. They could be playing basketball, like Barack Obama, or helping in the garden, like Dwight D. Eisenhower. They could be solving math problems or reading books. They could be making art—or already making change.
Twenty-One Steps by Jeff Gottesfeld
The Sentinel Guards, as the book tells, have kept guard over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since July 1937. This elite unit has but one standard: perfection. Perfection to honor America’s unnamed fallen. To never leave the tomb unguarded regardless of weather. The book masterfully weaves moving prose and information about how the tomb came to be and how the Sentinel Guards unit prepare and for their duty. Students will learn about one of America’s most sacred monuments and its protectors. Matt Tavares’s illustrations provide a moving backdrop that truly add to Gottesfeld’s text that will bring tears to the eyes and inspire a call to service.
You can try the first day of lessons and activities for Twenty-One Steps by signing up below:
America’s White Table by Margot Theis Raven
The White Table is set in many mess halls as a symbol for and remembrance to service members fallen, missing, or held captive in the line of duty. Solitary and solemn, it is the table where no one will ever sit. As a special gift to her Uncle John, Katie and her sisters are asked to help set the white table for dinner. As their mother explains the significance of each item placed on the table Katie comes to understand and appreciate the depth of sacrifice that her uncle, and each member of the Armed Forces and their families, may be called to give.
Rags: Hero Dog Of World War I by Margot Theis Raven
During World War I, while stationed overseas in France with the United States Army, Private James Donovan literally stumbles upon a small dog cowering on the streets of Paris. Named Rags for his disheveled appearance, the little stray quickly finds a home with Donovan and a place in his heart. Although the Army did not have an official canine division, Rags accompanies Donovan to the battlefield, making himself a useful companion delivering messages and providing a much-appreciated morale boost to the soldiers. News about Rags spreads and soon the little dog’s battlefield exploits become the stuff of legend. But during a fierce battle near the end of the war, both Rags and Donovan are wounded. Severely injured, Donovan is sent back to the United States. And the little dog with the big heart refuses to leave his best friend’s side.
The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock
Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein captures the majestic redwoods of Yosemite in this little-known but important story from our nation’s history. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a trip to Yosemite. Camping by themselves in the uncharted woods, the two men saw sights and held discussions that would ultimately lead to the establishment of our National Parks.
Leave It to Abigail by Barb Rosenstock
Everyone knew Abigail was different.
Instead of keeping quiet, she blurted out questions. Rather than settling down with a wealthy minister, she married a poor country lawyer named John Adams. Instead of running from the Revolutionary War, she managed a farm and fed hungry soldiers. Not to leave the governing to men, she insisted they “Remember the Ladies.” Instead of fearing Europe’s kings and queens, she boldly crossed the sea to represent her new country. And when John become President of the United States, Abigail became First Lady, and a powerful advisor.
Grace For President by Kelly DiPucchio
“Where are the girls?” When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school’s mock election. But soon, she realizes that she has entered a tough race. Her popular opponent claims to be the “best man for the job”–and seems to have captured all the male votes–while Grace concentrates on being the best person. In this timely story, author Kelly DiPucchio not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system, but also teaches them the value of hard work, courage, and independent thought–and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.
George Washington’s Teeth by Deborah Chandra
In this reverentially funny tale from Deborah Chandra written in verse and based on Washington’s letters, diaries, and other historical records, readers will find out what really happened as they follow the trail of lost teeth to complete tooflessness.
From battling toothaches while fighting the British, to having rotten teeth removed by his dentists, the Father of His Country suffered all his life with tooth problems. Yet, contrary to popular belief, he never had a set of wooden teeth. Starting at the age of twenty-four, George Washington lost on average a tooth a year, and by the time he was elected president, he had only two left! Also a great book for Presidents Day!
Grace Goes to Washington
This book is the sequel to Grace For President, and is just as enjoyable as the first. In this one, Grace’s class is learning about the branches of government and traveling to Washington D.C. On the trip they have the difficult task of deciding how to spend money from a fundraiser.
They visit many major monuments and debate how to use the funds. A great way to talk about the branches of government. It also shows how public servants decide how to spend public funds.
Fireboat by Maira Kalman
The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboat of its time, but by 1995, the city didn’t need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames. In this inspiring true story, Maira Kalman brings a New York City icon to life and proves that old heroes never die. One of my favorite children’s books about September 11.
Saved by the Boats by Julie Gassman
September 11, 2001 was a black day in U.S. history. Amid the chaos, sea captains and crews raced by boat to the tragic Manhattan scene. Nearly 500,000 people on Manhattan Island were rescued that day in what would later be called the largest sea evacuation in history. In this rarely told story of heroism, we come to understand that in our darkest hours, people shine brightly as a beacon of hope.
This Very Tree by Sean Rubin
In the 1970s, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided shade for people looking for a place to rest and a home for birds, along with the first blooms of spring. On September 11, 2001, everything changed. The tree’s home was destroyed, and it was buried under the rubble. But a month after tragedy struck, a shocking discovery was made at Ground Zero: the tree had survived.
Dubbed the “Survivor Tree,” it was moved to the Bronx to recover. And in the thoughtful care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Callery pear was nursed back to health. Almost a decade later, the Survivor Tree returned home and was planted in the 9/11 Memorial to provide beauty and comfort…and also hope. One of the newest additions to my favorite September read alouds!
Survivor Tree by Marcie Colleen
This hopeful story of a resilient tree that grew (and still grows) at the base of the twin towers is a simple introduction for young readers to gain an understanding of September 11th and the impact it had on America.
One September day, the perfect blue sky exploded. Dust billowed. Buildings crumbled. And underneath it all, a tree sprouted green leaves in its distress. Pulled from the wreckage, the tree saw many seasons pass as it slowly recovered far away from home. Until one day, forever scarred and forever stronger, it was replanted at the 9/11 Memorial.
America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney
A succinct history of the United States, an ABC of the principles on which this country was founded, and a book for children and families to pore over, discuss, and cherish.
In the days following September 11th, a 30-foot American flag hung torn and tattered at 90 West Street, across from Ground Zero. A few weeks later, the flag was taken down by a construction crew and tucked away in storage, where it stayed for nearly seven years.
The flag was brought out of storage in 2008 when the New York Says Thank You Foundation headed to Greensburg, Kansas, a town nearly destroyed by a tornado. NYSTY brought the flag with them, sparking a grassroots restoration effort that traveled over 120,000 miles across all fifty states, bringing together thousands of people, and helping America heal and rebuild . . . hand by hand, thread by thread, one stitch at a time.
Her Right Foot
If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty.
In this fascinating and fun take on nonfiction for kids, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential of an entire country’s creation.
Patriotic Books For Older Students:
Ground Zero by Alan Gratz
September 11, 2001, New York City: Brandon is visiting his dad at work, on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. Out of nowhere, an airplane slams into the tower, creating a fiery nightmare of terror and confusion. And Brandon is in the middle of it all. Can he survive — and escape?
September 11, 2019, Afghanistan: Reshmina has grown up in the shadow of war, but she dreams of peace and progress. When a battle erupts in her village, Reshmina stumbles upon a wounded American soldier named Taz. Should she help Taz — and put herself and her family in mortal danger?
Two kids. One devastating day. Nothing will ever be the same.
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story
Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.
But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined.
Best Patriotic Children’s Books
What are some of your favorite patriotic children’s books? Are there any must read patriotic picture books or novels that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!