This year for history, we are studying the beginning of the United States of America. We wanted to include some patriotic music into our lessons. I started with a few introductory books. Three books, which I recently found at our local library, use the words of patriotic songs as the text and add beautiful illustrations or pictures to them.
The first, The Star Spangled Banner, pictured by Ingri & Edgar Parin D'Aulaire, accompanies all the verses of our national anthem with beautiful color and black and white illustrations. Pictures include iconic American scenes like ideal picnics, fireworks, and parades, as well as historical figures like George Washington and Abe Lincoln.
A song that fits perfectly into our upcoming history studies is Yankee Doodle. Steven Kellogg illustrated the words with colonial scenes in the book bearing the same title. An informational section in the back of the book offers a history of the song as well as definitions of words like macaroni. These definitions were particularly helpful to my children since they use the term macaroni for pasta, and that is definitely not how it was used in the song.
The final book we looked through was The Glorious American Song Book: A Classic Illustrated Edition, compiled by Cooper Edens. This collection offers a variety of popular American songs like America the Beautiful, Buffalo Gals, and She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain. All accompanying artwork is from the late 19th / early 20th centuries and features artwork by artists like N.C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer, and Norman Rockwell. Though this book is a fabulous introduction to some American songs, I believe it is one we will definitely revisit next school year when we study the 1850's to the present time.