The American Flag and the Star-Spangled Banner

Today I have a wonderful picture book that looks at the American flag and the Star-Spangled Banner.  Really, this should be your go-to picture book for the Fourth of July.  I do have a confession to make.  The author/illustrator Jessie Hartland can do no wrong in my eyes.  Years ago I reviewed her picture book biography of Julia Child, which is simply charming.  I also fell in love with her biography of Steve Jobs which you should really check out if your kid is interested in his life and accomplishments.  Brilliant.

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Title: Our Flag Was Still Therethe American flag and the star-spangled banner

Author: Jessie Hartland

Target: Kindergarten-Grade 3

What this book is about:

At the Smithsonian, you have the opportunity to view a massive American flag that was the inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner.  But where did this flag come from and just how did it come to be the basis for our countries National Anthem?  Well, go back to the War of 1812 and the desire of this new country to send a message to the British that they would never reclaim America.  A big statement, or rather a big flag was needed.  In stepped Mary Pickersgill who created a flag so big it had to be finished in a brewery.  A battle ensued, a poem was written and a melody was lifted from a popular song of the day.  The rest, as they say, is history!

Why I love this book:

  • Did you read the intro where I said I adored Jessie Hartland?  Her artistic style is very appealing to me.  Often times it feels more like little pieces of art on each page rather than a panel of illustrations.  Semantics I know, but one look and I think you will completely understand.
  • This was such a great story to tell.  I bet there are a lot of little ones who never knew there was a War of 1812! There was the American Girl doll, Caroline Abbott whose father fought in the war.  However, she didn’t last very long, so perhaps interest really is waining in this period of history.  But it did give us our National Anthem, so let’s put this period in history back in the spotlight again.

Who this book is for:

Great for all kids especially around the Fourth of July.  I would also highly recommend this book before a trip to Washington, DC because the excitement level at looking at an “old flag” will be high after kids understand the story.

Final thoughts:

I love that the shop that made the flag was owned by women.  A novelty at the time, but a lovely symbol moving forward.  I also appreciated the history bits at the end of the book that gave more information about the 1800s than a picture book could cover.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Our Flag Was Still There.   A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.