Independence Day will soon be here. What better way than to celebrate this national holiday than with books to celebrate our country and history. These picture books and chapter books are best suited for ages eight and up.

How Benjamin Franklin became a Revolutionary in seven (not so easy) steps, by Gretchen Woelfle and wonderfully illustrated with black and white etchings found throughout by John O’Brien, is an entertaining and informative look into one of the most brilliant of our Forefathers. The book begins with: Benjamin Franklin was a proud subject of the British Empire. Until he wasn’t. Learning how he, along with so many other British citizens, fell away to create the United States of America makes this book a must for American families The book is an easy read but filled with interesting facts that will keep you reading all the way to the end!

Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II (Young Readers Edition), by Daniel James Brown, is an amazing account of three brave Japanese American soldiers who joined the military to fight for the Allies in Europe while their families faced discrimination back home. The encounters these three faced turned them into heroes! Pay special attention to the photos and maps sprinkled throughout.

The Night War, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, is a story of persistence and not giving up even when hope seems lost. The Germans have taken over France and twelve-year-old Miriam has to escape her village and leave her family behind when the Nazis arrest any Jews living there. Barely escaping death, what and who she encounters forces her to make difficult decisions. These decisions are selfless and heroic which completely surprises her of what she is capable of.

Uprising, by Jennifer A. Nielsen, is based on a Polish teen that continually tried to help her country regain its freedom. Twelve-year-old Lidia misses her father who has joined the Polish army to fight against the Nazis. She decides, with a friend, to sneak into the Warsaw Ghetto where the Jewish people are being held against their will. If you’ve never read one of Nielsen’s books, you are missing out. She has written several historical fiction books and every book is hard to put down!

All About U. S.: A Look at the Lives of 50 Real Kids from Across the United States, by Matt Lamothe and beautifully illustrated digitally by Jenny Volvovski, is a celebration of kids living in the unique environment their state has to offer. This oversized picture book is a fascinating look into the many different ways kids live in our country. Some live in houseboats, some in yurts, and yet others in Native reservations. But there is a similar theme to all: the bond they feel with their family. Be sure to check out the demographic bars found in the back as the gorgeous end-pages.

Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor, by Alan Gratz, is a high velocity read that takes you immediately into the action and plot of the story. Two best friends are enjoying Hawaii and exploring a battleship while their dads are stationed at Pearl Harbor. But when the Japanese begin dropping bombs, it takes everything they can muster to save themselves. America is at war; so begins the book. The friends were working on a comic book when the war began. Check out the fantastic comics at the back of the book written by Gratz and Illustrated by Judit Tondora. Alan Gratz is my favorite historical fiction author on the subject of America. Every one of his books will grab you on the first page and not let up until the end!

America’s Dreaming, by Bob McKinnon and beautifully illustrated with open-page spreads by Thai My Phuong, is a picture book geared for ages four through eight. The story is told through America’s viewpoint, and you immediately see that this student feels alone but desires to fit in. When the teacher brings in a Welcome Wagon full of books about famous Americans who have struggled feeling accepted, this helps young students not feel alone. These books include Abraham Lincoln and Amelia Earhart. Books do amazing things for the soul You’ll find more information about these great Americans at the back of the book.

Thomas Jefferson’s Battle for Science: Bias, Truth, and a Mighty Moose!, by Beth Anderson and wonderfully illustrated using woodblock prints and digital pencil by Jeremy Holmes, enlightens all to the magnificent and scientific mind of our third president. Here is a book that will surely enrich and possibly motivate readers towards science and nature. Jefferson said, There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me. He loved this new country and all that dwelled within it. But when Count Buffon wrote a book diminishing America as a terrible place, Jefferson was going to challenge this bias. There are many elements to grasp in this book so be sure to check out the clever end-pages, the author’s note, scientific inquiry process and timeline.