Books, Social Studies

Fourth of July

Fourth of July

Originally published June 2024

Independence Day is right around the corner, and to mark the occasion we’ve put together a list of books bursting with facts, figures, food, and more—all to do with the USA! Get ready to dive into stories about America’s history, culture, and geography, along with a wide range of other topics. Whether you’re looking for books to add to your classroom library next year or to share with your own kids this summer, these reads are a great way to celebrate the beauty and diversity of the United States.

America’s Dreaming
By Bob McKinnon
Illustrated by Thai My Phuong
Penguin Workshop (June 2024)
Grade Level: K–3

Told through the eyes of a child named America, this story highlights the importance of kindness and bravery. America has always worried about fitting in, and a tough first day of school only makes that fear worse. But after America’s new teacher shares several books about famous historical figures who also had trouble feeling accepted, those figures visit America’s dreams that night. Hearing the stories of Amelia Earhart, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King Jr., and more gives America the courage to return to school the next day and face their fears head on.  

Bite by Bite: American History through Feasts, Foods, and Side Dishes
By Marc Aronson and Paul Freedman
Illustrated by Toni D. Chambers
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 2024)
Grade Level: 5–12

Bite by Bite explores the diverse cuisines that make up the rich tapestry of America. Delve into the history of 12 delicious dishes that have been enjoyed across the United States, from First Salmon Feasts of Indigenous tribes in the Pacific Northwest, to “red sauce” Italian restaurants in the East. Students will surely hunger for more details—not to mention a taste of these delicious meals!—as they uncover the many traditions and cultures of their country, one bite at a time.  

Hike It: An Introduction to Camping, Hiking, and Backpacking through the U.S.A.
By Iron Tazz
Illustrated by Martin Stanev
Magic Cat (June 2024)
Grade Level: 2–6

In this delightfully illustrated guidebook, landscape photographer and social media sensation Iron Tazz shares kid-friendly tips and tricks for camping and backpacking through America’s national parks. Young adventurers will learn how to navigate in the wilderness, start a fire, stay safe in inclement weather, locate the North Star, and more. They can also follow along as the pages of this book take them through 20 scenic national parks across the United States.  

Hip-Hop: The Beat of America
By Jarrett Williams
First Second (January 2024)
Grade Level: 4–7

Middle-grade readers can learn all about the origins of hip-hop through this fresh and fun graphic novel. While on a trip to the Bronx with her dad, who grew up in the 1970s when rap music first emerged, hip-hop superfan Aaliyah discovers plenty of unsung heroes who helped shape the revolutionary genre into what it is today.

Leafy Landmarks: Travels with Trees
By Michelle Schaub
Illustrated by Anne Lambelet
Sleeping Bear Press (March 2024)
Grade Level: 1–4

Set off on a whimsical road trip across America with Leafy Landmarks. Using a combination of poetry and brightly colored illustrations, this picture book takes readers to 14 notable tree sites, such as the historic Emancipation Oak, which is a symbol of freedom and equality in Virginia, or the Methuselah tree in California—one of the oldest trees in the world! Be sure to check out the accompanying Teaching Guide.

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Meet July
By April Martin
Calendar Kids Books (May 2024)
Grade Level: K–3

Introducing July! July adores sipping on fresh lemonade, indulging in sweet watermelon, and splashing around in the pool on a scorching summer day. However, July’s spirits plummet when unpredictable summer storms threaten to spoil his town’s Fourth of July parade. Will he still be able to celebrate his favorite event of the year?

Only in Florida: Weird and Wonderful Facts about the Sunshine State
By Heather Alexander
Illustrated by Joseph Moffat-Peña
Wide Eyed Editions (March 2024)
Grade Level: 2–6

The most recent installment in Wide Eyed’s 50 States series, Only in Florida showcases the histories, symbols, and quirks of America’s Sunshine State. Readers will be introduced to the music of Miami, the magic of the Treasure Coast, the mysterious animals of the marsh, and much more. The book also includes plenty of maps, illustrations, facts, and infographics to help bring this colorful state to life.

Our Congress
By Christy Mihaly
Illustrated by Doruntina Beqiraj
Albert Whitman & Company (September 2024)
Grade Level: K–3

Our Congress teaches young readers about the ways Congress has shaped America in the past, and how it continues to do so today. Kids can follow along with Alice, a young girl who is disappointed when her mother gets elected to the House of Representatives and wants to move the family to Washington, DC. But as Alice takes a tour of the U.S. Capitol, guided by a variety of historical figures and government workers, she begins to understand just how important a role Congress plays in the everyday lives of Americans.

With Love, Miss Americanah
By Jane Igharo
Feiwel & Friends (June 2024)
Grade Level: 8–12

Meet 17-year-old Enore Adesuwa, who’s moving from Nigeria to America after her dad’s passing. Enore is all about being prepared, so she turns to teen movies for tips on navigating her new life at an American high school. Equipped with a set of survival rules from the movies, she’s prepped and ready to take on senior year—that is, until she meets the charming Davi Santiago. Davi, who’s thoughtful and handsome, and who pushes Enore to share her amazing singing talent. But breaking the rules, especially her mom’s, won’t be easy. Join Enore to see if her senior year promises to be straight out of an all-American teen film!

Your Vote Matters: How We Elect the US President
By Rebecca Katzman
Illustrated by Ellen Duda
Scholastic (May 2024)
Grade Level: 2–5

Get students interested in politics from a young age with the help of this easy-to-understand guidebook. Not only does it explain every step of the election process—from presidential candidates to campaigning to the Electoral College—it also includes information about who is eligible to vote, what aspects to consider when choosing a candidate to vote for, and why voting is so important. The book even includes photographs, maps, infographics, and more to make it as easily accessible as possible.