Memorial Day is right around the corner, and with it, undoubtedly, plans for relaxation, barbecues, and eager celebrations that summer is finally upon us. Amidst this celebration, however, it is of course important to remind ourselves of the reason for why we get the last Monday of May off from work and school. Originally termed “Decoration Day” (after the Civil War and until 1882), this holiday encourages us to pay tribute to the lives and legacies of those who have died during their service in one of the American Armed Forces. It is a day for reflection and respectful remembrances. As you prepare to talk to your students about the holiday weekend (if you still have students at school!), here are some books that can serve to supplement those discussions.
Memorial Day, by Robin Nelson (Lerner). Introduce early readers to the meaning behind Memorial Day, while also giving them practice with approaching informational text features like glossaries, indexes, and informational tables.
Star-Spangled Crafts, by Kathy Ross, illustrated by Sharon Lane Holm (Millbrook). Prepare for your school’s or community’s Memorial Day observances with your students by creating one of the many creative patriotic projects contained in this easy-to-understand book of DIY craft instructions.
The Vietnam War, by Martin Gitlin (ABDO; part of the six-volume Essential Library of American Wars Series). Fold your discussion of Memorial Day into social studies conversations covering some of the major wars and conflicts in which American servicemen and women have fought during the last two and a half centuries.
We hope that these titles help you and your students to observe and reflect on the significance of the Memorial Day holiday next week. Enjoy the long weekend, and happy reading!
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