The Flag We Love
Pam Muñoz Ryan, author
Pam Muñoz Ryan is an award-winning author and has written many picture books for young children and novels for young adults. Her books include The Flag We Love, Hello Ocean, and Our California. She often visits schools and conferences to speak about writing and literacy. Pam lives in Leucadia, California.
Read more about Pam.
Ralph Masiello, illustrator
Ralph Masiello—affectionately known as 'The Icky Bug Man'—has illustrated several children's books including The Icky Bug Alphabet Book, The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book, and The Flag We Love. His oil paintings are remarkably rich and realistic and bring to life the subjects of his books—be they bugs, flags, dinosaurs, or well-hidden messages and secret drawings. Ralph lives in West Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Read more about Ralph.
- NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book
- Early Childhood News Director's Choice Award
- ABA Kids' Pick of the Lists
Strike up the band and prepare to salute— this patriotic picture book unabashedly celebrates the Stars and Stripes. In a series of earnest verses, Ryan introduces young readers to our national symbol and the ideals for which it stands ("Americans stand together/ Before ceremonies start/ And promise their allegiance/ With their hands across thier hearts,"), while prose inserts offer historical tidbits in a sidebar format. The book's clean, airy layout contrasts with Masiello's intense, sometimes murkily-hued oil paintings, which echo Ryan's text in their solemnity and fervor. Nonetheless, the result should delight Yankee Doodle dandies everywhere, and could help spark discussion on the basic elements of democracy.
The right-hand page of spread in this useful picture book features a well-painted scene in which the flag figures prominently. Opposite, a four-line verse corresponds with the scene, while facts about the flag and how it is used in various ways are also included. The making of the first flag, pledging allegiance to the flag, Lincoln's funeral train, and flags at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. are all covered. The lack of much text makes this book best suited for younger children.
An American flag, the familiar red, white and blue, ripples in a sky filled with fireworks--a reminder to all of the joy and pride we take in one of our more enduring national symbols. As Ryan tells readers, no one knows who designed or created the first flag or why the colors were chosen. Interestingly there were no guidelines initially regarding the size or placements of the stars (she doesn't tell us when it was standardized), but what she does tell us is fascinating. Six American flags "fly" on the moon, one for each Apollo landing. Flags fly over schools, at national monuments, and are a big part of celebrations such as those for the Fourth of July. Flags fly at half-mast to honor the dead and American flags fly at our ports to welcome all who arrive at this country. Her text and Masiello's wonderful illustrations will make us all remember that the American flag represents "many of America's hopes and dreams." It is my hope that this book will find a place in school and public libraries and that children and adults will pause to think about our flag, this nation, and what we stand for.
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Page count: 32
9 x 11