Happy 4th of July!
I love Independence Day. I love my freedoms. I love holiday traditions. I love festive food. I love summer nights. What could be better than the 4th of July? Here are some of my favorite books that celebrate our country. Two of them are specific to the 4th of July, but the others are patriotic "anytime" books.
This gorgeous book, BLUE SKY WHITE STARS, is a perfect celebration of American ideals. The text is simple, but oh-so-mindful and pairs perfectly with the pictures. For example: "Sew together, won nation" (with a picture of a woman sewing an early flag) is shown alongside "So together, one nation" (with a picture showing a beautiful melting pot of faces). It is so, so lovely. It is illustrated by the incredible @kadirnelson, who earned this year's Caldecott meal. His portraiture is stunning and inspiring!
Our Flag Was Still There tells a remarkable true story. During the War of 1812, Major George Armistead was defending Fort McHenry. To send a clear message to the enemy British, he commissioned Mary Pickersgill to create a giant American flag. With a team of seamstresses working in the space of a nearby brewery, they hand-stitched the flag in just six weeks. The finished flag is a massive 30' x 42' and is still on display in the Smithsonian museum.
I adore this new book about the Statue of Liberty. It talks about the history of this national icon and presents ideas as to why her right food is on the move. It's a beautiful thought about reaching out to welcome!
It's a well-researched and interesting nonfiction read, sharing tidbits about our nation's presidents before they took office. Many spent their lives in public service and government office, but they come from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions. We especially loved learning about the basis animals who lived at The White House. It ends on a fun note by querying: what are our future presidents doing today?
This book celebrates town traditions, from sunup to sundown. It's all-out fun and sure to get kids enthused about the holiday. But... you might have to remind them that you don't necessarily have the same traditions.
A sweet summer story told with sparse words and rich illustrations. The neighborhood kids gather to play at the river, share a picnic, and watch fireworks.
Festive Firecracker Power Balls
- 1 c. peanut butter
- 2/3 c. honey
- 1 t. vanilla
- 2 c. old fashioned oats (pulsed lightly in blender to break down)
- 1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder - my fave is Clean Simple Eats
- 1/8 c. hemp seeds (may substitute extra oats or coconut)
- 1/8 c. chia seeds (may substitute extra oats or coconut)
- 1 t. vanilla
- dash of salt
- 1/2 c. mini M&Ms (or mix of mini M&Ms and mini chocolate chips)
In bowl of stand mixer, stir together peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Pulse oats in blender to break down slightly. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. If dry, add 1 T. water.
Press and squeeze dough together with hands to make the M&Ms stick. Using cookie scoop, form dough into balls. Place balls on baking sheet and freeze. Freeze 15 minutes before serving or freeze for one hour, then put balls in sealed container (mason jar, tupperware, etc.). Frozen balls will keep well for 2 weeks.
Kids love to help mix this dough and form into balls! My little buddy calls these "cookies." They taste very similar to chocolate chip cookie dough, but are packed with nutrients.
Power ball recipe adapted from Clean Eats & Treats.