Dear Book Lovers,

Here’s to better late than never. The picnics, parades, pyrotechnics and patriotic songs are fading from our memories. The Fourth of July, 2011, is past. But don’t let fade the freedom and faith that America represents.

William Bennett’s The Children’s Book of America, published by Simon and Schuster in 1998, will inspire your patriotism. This classic is crammed with fascinating stories of ordinary folks who did extraordinary things. It includes the history of songs, folktales and other tidbits of American life. These range from Yankee Doodle, Lewis and Clark, Paul Bunion, Johnny Appleseed and the story of the Star Spangled Banner.

One story is “The Bravery of Abigail Adams”. Though John Adams and his wife spent many years apart during the Revolution, their love grew through letters. While her husband was in Philadelphia and Europe she home schooled their children and welcomed many strangers in need. In spite of hardships and dangers, she tended the farm in Raintree, north of Boston.

“The Legend of the Grand Canyon” is a most unusual tale. It tells of a chief who died from a snake bite and wandered to the spirit world across trail after trail through deep and dark canyons, which became the Grand Canyon.

Another tale is that of the spiritual song, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Ella Shepherd, a slave girl trusted in God even though she was separated from Sarah, her mother. After the Civil War Ella attended Fisk University where she joined the Jubilee Singers and toured singing the old slave songs in both America and England.

This book is a great read aloud bedtime story book for younger children. Older children will be fascinated by facts and stories that they have never heard before, such as how General Robert E. Lee shook the hand of a wounded Union soldier even though previously this soldier had spit out curses at him.

Each illustration is realistic with natural color and true to the text. One last fact, did you know that the song, “Home on the Range” is known as the cowboy’s national anthem? This book for all ages exemplifies how God truly “shed His grace” on America.

Carol Green, a graduate of Northwestern, is married and the mother three adult children. Her five grandchildren affectionately call her “Grams cracker.”

She is the published author of many poems for both adults and children; three coloring books: God Gave Me Five, ABC Fun Book, and Color God’s World Bright; and the picture book: My Mom Loves Me.

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