Happy Independence Day! Our librarians delved into our collection and quickly came up with a list of reading recommendations that celebrate the positive values and qualities of America and it’s people. These uplifting and heartfelt stories may vary in perspectives and narratives, but they are all grounded in being American.
This reading lists features a variety of titles for adults, teens, and children but is by no means an exhaustive list. If you’d like additional book recommendations, please ask a librarian or call our Answer Center (970-221-6740). We have books for every reader!
For Adult Readers
Out of Many, One by George W. Bush
Featuring men and women from thirty-five countries and nearly every region of the world, Out of Many, One shows how hard work, strong values, dreams, and determination know no borders or boundaries and how immigrants embody values that are often viewed as distinctly American: optimism and gratitude, a willingness to strive and to risk, a deep sense of patriotism, and a spirit of self-reliance that runs deep in our immigrant heritage.
What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather & Elliot Kirschner
With this collection of original essays, Rather reminds us of the principles upon which the United States was founded. Looking at the freedoms that define us, from the vote to the press; the values that have transformed us, from empathy to inclusion to service; the institutions that sustain us, such as public education; and the traits that helped form our young country, such as the audacity to take on daunting challenges in science and medicine, Rather brings to bear his decades of experience on the frontlines of the world’s biggest stories.
Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music that Made a Nation by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw
Through all the years of strife and triumph, America has been shaped not just by our elected leaders and our formal politics but also by our music—by the lyrics, performers, and instrumentals that have helped to carry us through the dark days and to celebrate the bright ones. From “The Star-Spangled Banner” to “Born in the U.S.A.,” Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw take readers on a moving and insightful journey through eras in American history and the songs and performers that inspired us.
The American Spirit: Who We are and What We Stand For by David McCullough
A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States – winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others – that reminds us of core American values to which we all subscribe, regardless of which region we live in, which political party we identify with, or our ethnic background. This is a book about America for all Americans that reminds us who we are and helps to guide us as we find our way forward.
The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
The stories in this book are part of what Abraham Lincoln called the “mystic chords of memory.” They are the symbols that define the essence of the United States, that mark its historic course, and connect its people. The American Patriot’s Almanacis a daily source of inspiration and information about the history, heroes, and achievements that sum up what this nation is all about.
A Heart, a Cross & a Flag: America Today by Peggy Noonan
A collection of essays written in the year after September 11, 2001, includes the author’s observations and experiences of living in Manhattan, and the nation’s efforts to rebuild. These candid, compassionate and sometimes heart-wrenching pieces are full of insights and observations picked up throughout the country – on experiencing the return of religious faith to a great modern city; on how the events influenced our perceptions of what it means to live in New York, or to be a man, or to take part in a community.
The Children’s Book of America edited by William J. Bennett; illustrated by Michael Hague
Where did America come from? What does it mean to be an American? What makes America great? No volume will provide more compelling and inspiring answers to our children’s questions than William Bennett and Michael Hague’s marvelous new treasury, The Children’s Book of America. Filled with history and folktales, songs and poems, heroes and everyday Americans, this indispensable book is a classic collection of great Americana, accompanied by wonderful paintings that bring to life in rich detail the story of our nation’s heritage.
Red, White, and Boom by Lee Wardlaw; illustrated by Huy Voun Lee
Children are invited to travel across the country for a city parade, a beach picnic and fireworks in the park with this poetic celebration of the many cultures and traditions that make the Fourth of July, America’s birthday, so special.
Blue Sky, White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus; illustrated by Kadir Nelson
A poetic tribute to the beauty and wonder of America’s history, landscape and symbols combines simple, celebratory verses with evocative imagery depicting subjects ranging from the Statue of Liberty to Cape Canaveral.
How to Bake an American Pie by Karma Wilson; illustrations by Raul Colon
From the bestselling author of Bear Snores On comes a remarkable recipe for America. Including a dash of purple mountain majesties, cupfuls of courage, and a pinch of liberty, this beautifully illustrated combination of ingredients yields an irresistible treat that promises plenty of servings for children everywhere.
Dreams for Our Daughters by Ruth Doyle, Ashling Lindsay
What hopes do you have for the future? Who do you long to become? This empowering book encourages young girls to become leaders unafraid to stand up for themselves and others. The world’s been waiting for them, and there’s so much to discover! Warm, loving rhymes and tenderly detailed illustrations help readers imagine the thousands of adventures up ahead. Each new day is a chance to become a keeper of kindness and a champion of change, an imaginative explorer who listens well and speaks the truth.
Songs for Our Sons by Ruth Doyle, Ashling Lindsay
An inspiring, encouraging celebration of the limitless potential of youth invites boys to become part of a world that is gentler and more positive, combining playful rhymes with evocative illustrations to challenge boys to notice nature, embrace their emotions and use wise words to promote change. Whether they’re dynamic dazzlers or marvelous mud sculptors, this book is an opportunity to imagine all the incredible adventures up ahead.
30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Davis; Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
In the days following September 11th, a 30-foot American flag hung torn and tattered 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, 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.
Books for Teens
Drawing the Vote: The Illustrated Guide to the Importance of Voting in America by Tommy Jenkins; illustrated by Kati Lacker
This original graphic novel looks at the history of voting rights in the United States and how it affects the way we vote today. At a time when many citizens are experiencing challenges and apathy about voting and skepticism concerning our bitterly divided government, Drawing the Vote seeks to offer some explanation for how we got here and how every American can take action to make their vote count.
1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The creators of 1968 examine the important historical events and people of 1789 and their significance on modern perspectives about human equality. This nonfiction anthology explores a tumultuous year when rights and freedoms collided with enslavement and domination, and the future of humanity seemed to be at stake.
The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer
Meltzer sheds light on the close-kept secrets and compelling details surrounding this story and exposes the history of how the assassination plot catalyzed the creation of the CIA and FBI. This page-turning investigation offers young readers an in-depth look at the facts and remaining questions that surround this contested historical event.
Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship by Jack Nagle
The United States is a nation that is bound not by race or religion, but by shared values such as freedom, liberty, and equality. Throughout its history, the US has taken in immigrants from all over the world. Their contributions have helped to shape and define the United States today. This book provides an easy-to-read overview of the rights and responsibilities that all US citizens should exercise and respect. It provides information on the citizenship test that immigrants must pass, as well as on the US government and how it works.
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman
On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe.
Come On In: 15 Stories About Immigration and Finding Home ed. Adi Alsaid
This exceptional and powerful anthology explores the joys, heartbreaks and triumphs of immigration, with stories by critically acclaimed and bestselling YA authors who are shaped by the journeys they and their families have taken from home and to find home.