Wednesday, July 4, 2012

HOLIDAY BONUS: Books, Legends and Short Stories to Share on Independence Day - 4th of July

The Fourth of July Story

The 4th of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh
Illustrated by Marie Nonnast

The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence 
by Judith St. George
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

Happy 4th of July, Jenny Sweeney! by Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by Nancy Cote

Fourth of July Mice by Bethany Roberts 
Illustrated by Doug Cushman

Apple Pie 4th of July
by Janet S. Wong
Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Happy Birthday America
by Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by Peter Catalanotto

The 4th of July Spies by Stanley Harris

Perky Turkey's 4th of July Adventure 
by Judy Goodspeed
Illustrated by Chet Taylor

About Fourth of July

Independence Day is the birthday of the United States of America and is celebrated on the Fourth of July each year. Independence Day is the anniversary of the day on which the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
John Adams, one of the founders of our new nation, said, "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore." Independence Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.
In 1941, Congress declared July 4 a legal public holiday.

The Signing of the Declaration of Independence

By H. A. Guerber
John Hancock, President of Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, writing his name in large, plain letters, and saying:
"There! John Bull can read my name without spectacles. Now let him double the price on my head, for this is my defiance."
Then he turned to the other members, and solemnly declared:
"We must be unanimous. There must be no pulling different ways. We must all hang together."
"Yes," said Franklin, quaintly, "we must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
We are told that Charles Carroll, thinking that his writing looked shaky, added the words, "of Carrollton," so that the king should not be able to make any mistake as to whose name stood there.

A Brave Girl

By James Johonnot
In the year 1781 the war was chiefly carried on in the South, but the North was constantly troubled by bands of Tories and Indians, who would swoop down on small settlements and make off with whatever they could lay their hands on.
During this time General Schuyler was staying at his house, which stood just outside the stockade or walls of Albany. The British commander sent out a party of Tories and Indians to capture the general.
When they reached the outskirts of the city they learned from a Dutch laborer that the general's house was guarded by six soldiers, three watching by night and three by day. They let the Dutchman go, and as soon as the band was out of sight he hastened to Albany and warned the general of their approach.
Schuyler gathered his family in one of the upper rooms of his house, and giving orders that the doors and windows should be barred, fired a pistol from a top-story window, to alarm the neighborhood.
The soldiers on guard, who had been lounging in the shade of a tree, started to their feet at the sound of the pistol - but, alas! too late, for they found themselves surrounded by a crowd of dusky forms, who bound them hand and foot, before they had time to resist.
In the room upstairs was the sturdy general, standing resolutely at the door, with gun in hand, while his black slaves were gathered about him, each with a weapon. At the other end of the room the women were huddled together, some weeping and some praying.
Suddenly a deafening crash was heard. The Indian band had broken into the house. With loud shouts they began to pillage and to destroy everything in sight. While they were yet busy downstairs, Mrs. Schuyler sprang to her feet and rushed to the door - for she had suddenly remembered that the baby, who was only a few months old, was asleep in its cradle in a room on the first floor.
The general caught his wife in his arms, and implored her not to go to certain death, saying that if any one was to go he would. While this generous struggle between husband and wife was going on, their young daughter, who had been standing near the door, glided by them, and descended the stairs.
All was dark in the hall, excepting where the light shone from the dining-room in which the Indians were pillaging the shelves and fighting over their booty. How to get past the dining-room door was the question, but the brave girl did not hesitate. Reaching the lower hall, she walked very deliberately forward, softly but quickly passing the door, and unobserved reached the room in which was the cradle.
She caught up the baby, crept back past the open door, and was just mounting the stairs, when one of the savages happened to see her.
"WHIZ"--and his sharp tomahawk struck the stair rail within a few inches of the baby's head. But the frightened girl hurried on, and in a few seconds was safe in her father's arms.
As for the Indians, fearing an attack from the near-by garrison, they hastened away with the booty they had collected, and left General Schuyler and his family unharmed.

The Cherry Tree

by M. L. Weems
The legend of George Washington and the Cherry TreeWhen George was about six years old, he was made the wealthy master of a hatchet of which, like most little boys, he was extremely fond. He went about chopping everything that came his way.
One day, as he wandered about the garden amusing himself by hacking his mother's pea sticks, he found a beautiful, young English cherry tree, of which his father was most proud. He tried the edge of his hatchet on the trunk of the tree and barked it so that it died.
Some time after this, his father discovered what had happened to his favorite tree. He came into the house in great anger, and demanded to know who the mischievous person was who had cut away the bark. Nobody could tell him anything about it.
Just then George, with his little hatchet, came into the room.
"George,'' said his father, "do you know who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? I would not have taken five guineas for it!''
This was a hard question to answer, and for a moment George was staggered by it, but quickly recovering himself he cried:
"I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.''
The anger died out of his father's face, and taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he said:
"My son, that you should not be afraid to tell the truth is more to me than a thousand trees! Yes - though they were blossomed with silver and had leaves of the purest gold!''

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