Teaching Civics with Children's Literature: A Picture Book of George Washington

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A Picture Book of George Washington, written by David A. Adler, illustrated by John & Alexandra Wallner is a simple biography about George Washington.  It provides important facts and dates relevant to a student in the lower elementary grades.  It covers basic information about the "Father of Our Country" from his birth on February 22, 1732 in a simple Virginia farmhouse to his death in 1799.  It includes information about George as a young boy who "liked to fish and go boating" and "most of all liked to ride his horse".  Then it goes on to describe George in school and that "his favorite subject was arithmetic".  This helps children relate to the man who was so important to the founding of our country.  The book continues on through several parts of George's life including such events as leading Virginia soldiers against the French in the French and Indian War, marrying Martha Custis, and George being elected the first president of the United States of America in 1789.  The book ends perfectly with,

George Washington was a great leader.  He has been
called the "Father of Our Country."  It has been said that
George Washington was "First in war, first in peace and
first in the hearts of his countrymen."

The illustrations are colorful and engaging.  They are a good representation of what life would have looked like when George Washington was alive.  The student can get a visual idea of clothing, homes, hair styles, and transportation in the 1700s.  The end of the book includes an “Important Dates” time line that is a good overview of the main events in George Washington's life.

Curriculum Connections

This book is suitable for any age and would be a good addition to any Kindergarten to third grade classroom library.  It can be used to introduce or reinforce any lesson related to George Washington and/or President's Day.  It would be particularly useful in support of the Standard of Learning which states the student will identify George Washington, among others, as an American whose contributions improved the lives of other Americans.  (VA SOL 1.2, VA SOL 2.11, 3.11b)  The book also illustrates what things looked like in the past & how life was different when George Washington was alive.  This could lead to good discussions and comparisons of past and present.  (VA SOL K.2, 1.1, 2.3)  Or it can be used to recognize that history describes people of other times such as George Washington (VA SOL K.1a) or identify people honored by the holiday of Presidents’ Day. (VA SOL K.1b, 1.3)  This is a book the teacher can read aloud to the students and many beginning readers can also read independently.

Additional Resources

General Information

Book:  A Picture Book of George Washington
Author: David A. Adler
Illustrator: John & Alexandra Wallner
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: 1990
Pages: 32
Grade Range: PreK-3
ISBN-10: 0823408000
ISBN-13:  978-0823408009