Happy Birthday George Washington
Every year on Feb. 22, we celebrate the birth of the man who would become our nation’s first president. George Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He would go on to live a fascinating life--as a farmer, a surveyor, a military leader, and then the first president of the United States of America. He would also set many precedents our country still uses today--including term limits--and is a frequent topic of study in schools.
Check out these ten books, geared towards younger readers, about this founding father, the world he lived in and his lasting legacy.
George Washington by Edward F. Dolan
Perfect for young readers who are comfortable with a lot of text, this biography of George Washington could be an excellent research opportunity. It is a “classic” biography of Washington in that sense--following his life, his presidency and giving context to the time he lived in--without too many pictures, sidebars, or deviations from the main story. It is broken down into short, readable segments--ideal when readers are interested in one part of his life over another--but altogether provides a strong introduction to elementary school-level readers and beyond.
George Washington: Our Founding Father by Frank Keating and Mike Wimmer
Told as if from the point of view of George Washington, this picture book looks like a historic document in itself--featuring lush paintings and illustrations and taking readers back in time as they explore George Washington through his own words and experiences. This book primarily focuses on Washington’s upbringing and how that contributed to his role as a founding father decades later, but it also follows him to his role as the nation’s first president.
George Washington: Our First President by Sneed B. Collard III
For readers new to the founders, this short biography--complete with lots of illustrations and artwork--will be a great introduction. Covering Washington’s life from birth to death, this book quickly introduces readers to what made Washington stand out amongst his peers, explores the lasting impact he has had and helps them visualize what he was doing at each stage of the journey.
George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spies Who Saved America by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
Young readers interested in spies, secrets and revolution will love this Young Readers edition of George Washington’s Secret Six, a chapter book about the spies of the American Revolution and their involvement with the first president before he was president. The book is also populated with lots of historic pictures and maps and cartoons to entice the reader.
The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon by Carla Killough McClafferty
Ideal for strong independent readers, classroom use, or family reading, this book is part-biography, part-historical exploration of Washington’s life, his lasting legacy and the way in which America looks at him has changed. Biographical details are woven into explorations of portraits over time, coinage and pop culture. Yes, even presidents are at the whim of pop culture. This book will encourage strong readers and help them feel even more entrenched in the Revolutionary period.
George Washington: the First President by Sarah Albee
This Step 2 Easy Reader is great for readers working with nonfiction titles. With lots of illustrations and clear sentences, this book will encourage young readers to reach for even more history titles while also intriguing them with a story of success, growth, and revolution.
Who Was George Washington? by Roberta Edwards
The “Who Was” series provides excellent biographies on historical figures, living legends, and monumental events and places. The George Washington biography is no exception--from birth to death, this book covers the life of the first president in short, readable chapters that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages elementary and up. It also provides a fair amount of context to the time in which Washington was living and uses illustrations to flesh out pieces of the text--such as markings, battles, places, et cetera. (Please note this title is also available as a library e-book.)
Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas and Layne Johnson
This text-heavy picture book introduces young readers to Washington primarily through the lens of his relationship to the land and his role as a farmer and surveyor. Balancing his upbringing and career with the looming revolution, the author and illustrator are able to draw readers into the page and teach them about Washington the man as much as Washington the legend.
George Washington for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities by Brandon Marie Miller
Perfect for classroom, homeschooling groups and young readers eager to be engaged, this biography of George Washington comes equipped with 21 activities intended to teach the reader even more about the Revolutionary period and get them excited about the founding fathers. From games to books of manners to flags and tying cravats, there is something for every interest and age in this book that combines biography with activity to make learning an engaging process.
Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington by Anne Rockwell and Matt Phelan
Perfect for emerging readers who like history, this delicately illustrated narrative account of George Washington’s life--from a shy boy to a leader and founder--will draw them in. This narrative follows George’s growth from a shy boy under the tutelage of a half-brother through his early military struggles and finally to the brink of revolution and beyond. This would be an excellent family read, as it has a bit more text than the usual picture book.
And if reading about George Washington piques your young reader's interest in the American Revolution overall, be sure to check out related Read Feed lists The American Revolution for Kids and Easy Reading: The American Founding.