Revolutionary Reading for the Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! One reason I like living in New England is that Revolutionary War history is all around. From the Old North Bridge in Concord, to the Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street, to the Bunker Hill Monument, the American revolution still feels very much like a part of the area.


Me at the Old North Bridge.

Also, one of my favorite things is to see historical re-enactors/tour leaders shopping for groceries or riding the T in colonial garb. History lives!

Maybe you don’t live in a city featuring tour guides in historical garb. Fear not! In case you’re looking to add a little Revolutionary War-era historical children’s/YA literature to your Independence Day, I’ve got a few suggestions:

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
My mom read this poem aloud to my brother and me when I was around seven or eight. It’s not exactly historically accurate (sorry, William Dawes!), but it’s a fun way to introduce kids to an exciting night in American history.

Felicity: An American Girl by Valerie Tripp
Before we started really learning about the American Revolution at school, I read about it in the Felicity books. Again, maybe not the most historically accurate books, but the series is a great way to start kids thinking about what the American Revolution meant for kids living in the colonies at that point.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party and Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson
The Octavian Nothing series is one I recommend to people who assume that YA is all about vampires and fluffy crushes. Anderson’s writing is stunning, and his story about a slave boy/social experiment who gets caught up in the Revolutionary War is brilliant. Not your typical look at the American Revolution, obviously, but an essential one.

Others to check out:

  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  • My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier
  • The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin

Hope you all have a happy Fourth of July!

7 thoughts on “Revolutionary Reading for the Fourth of July

  1. hannahkarena says:

    How are there no books by Ann Rinaldi on this list?! [gasp] I read dozens of her American historical (specifically Revolutionary) fiction books in middle and high school. Some good ones to add to the list:

    The Secret of Sarah Revere
    Or Give Me Death
    Wolf By the Ears

  2. colleenmhughes says:

    We did all of those historical places back in April when Allan’s parents visited Boston! It was so much fun. The day we went out to Concord was FREEZING and I look like such a huddled-up mess in all those photos. When we did the Freedom Trail I kept wishing I was an actor and could be a tour guide without getting panic attacks. 🙂 Plimoth Plantation has awesome costumes too.

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