Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Capital


The capital of the United States of America wasn’t always Washington DC.  Read about how our nation’s capital has moved and changed as well as how the capital city, Washington DC has grown and changed. Capital explains the detailed history of the important buildings in Washington DC, such as the White House:

James Hoban, the architect, had designed a large, gracious, and comfortable mansion that was quite grand by the standards of eighteenth-century America.  Critics, however, claimed it was ‘big enough for two emperors, one Pope, and the Grand Lama.’

Lynn Curlee’s book Capital is particularly precise and structured.  At the end, Curlee notes,

The word ‘capitol’ refers to the building in which a state legislature meets.  ‘Capitol’ refers to the building in which the U.S. Congress meets.  The word ‘capital’ refers to the city or town serving as the seat of government.

Curriculum Connections
This book can be used to teach about Washington DC and the development of our nation’s capital.  In Virginia, it can be used to teach SOL 1.11, which states that students will recognize the symbols and practices that honor and foster patriotism in the United States.

Additional Resources

  • Lesson Plans about George Washington and his work to establish the capital.
  • A map of the Capitol Complex

Book: Capital
Author/Illustrator:  Lynn Curlee
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:
Pages: 40
Grades: 1-5
ISBN: 0-689-84947-8

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