Although Fourth of July might look a little different this year, we're still celebrating the day in true LBPL fashion - with songs, stories, and a craft. Join Mr. Carl in this patriotic storytime as we read Apple Pie 4th of July and Hats Off for Fourth of July . Afterwards, we'll make an Uncle Sam hat using simple supplies you have at home.
Fire up the BBQ and put on your best red, white, and blue gear, because it's going to be a blast!
Celebrate the Fourth of July with one of these patriotic reads!

A Is for America: A Patriotic Alphabet Book
Tanya Lee Stone

Red, White, and Boom!
Lee Wardlaw

Hurray for the Fourth of July
Wendy Watson

Betsy Ross
Becky White / illustrated by Megan Lloyd

Celebrate Independence Day
Amy Hayes

Paul Revere : American Freedom Fighter
Wil Mara

And on KANOPY kIDS in our Digital Library, watch Journey Of The One & Only Declaration Of Independence

Historical Fiction:

Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard
Sally Cabot

The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary War
Bernard Cornwell

An Echo in the Bone
Diana Gabaldon

Valley Forge: George Washington and the crucible of victory
Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

The Glorious Cause: A Novel of the American Revolution
Jeff Shaara

The Schoolmaster’s Daughter
John Smolens
Mystery & Suspense

Dead, White, and Blue: A Death on Demand Mystery - Carolyn Hart

Star Spangled Murder: A Lucy Stone Mystery - Leslie Meier

Sweet tea and secrets: a tea and a read
mystery - Joy Avon

Independence slay - Shelley Freydont

A catered Fourth of July : a mystery with recipes - Isis Crawford


Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence - Joseph J. Ellis

George Washington: The Crossing - Jack E. Levin

Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution - Nathaniel Philbrick

1775: A Good Year for Revolution - Kevin Phillips

Through the Perilous Fight: Three Weeks That Saved the Nation - Steve Vogel

The people's war : original voices of the American Revolution - Noel Rae
Abraham Lincoln monument and a Civil War cannon with cannonballs,
featured in their original location in front of the Carnegie Library in Lincoln Park, June 1917
Amidst the hot dogs, barbecues, fireworks, and face masks that will mark our 4th of July holiday this year, let us not forget a few reasons why we celebrate this holiday in the first place. While our festivities and merriments bring us great joy, let us take a moment to remember that this wonderful opportunity to relax and rejoice has been won for us at great human cost – paid for with extreme hardship, blood, pain, and sacrifice.

On July 2nd, 1776 – 244 years ago – delegates from the Second Continental Congress – representing our nation’s 13 original colonies – met in Philadelphia and cast votes in favor of the resolution to declare our independence from Great Britain. On July 4th, the final revision of our “Declaration of Independence” was adopted and enacted, later to be signed by 56 delegates of the Second Continental Congress, listing their grievances against the Crown; but perhaps most importantly, it laid out the philosophies that govern our American principles of personal freedom, liberty, and equality. And this “Declaration of Independence” was serious business indeed, as the last lines of this hallowed document attest: “…For the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” By signing the Declaration, our “Founding Fathers” knew they were signing their own death warrants if their revolutionary act did not succeed – as well as relegating their families to unknown future hardship, pain, and possibly death. And many of the Signers did indeed lose their fortunes or die in poverty, some fought in battle, others were tortured and killed, some lost family members, and some had to go on the run or were thrown in jail. But all of them retained the honor of committing themselves to a radical, treasonous, but philosophically noble and justified act that – luckily for all of us – ended in victory and American independence.

Flag Day, a patriotic holiday that passed just a few weeks ago, is another historic event worth remembering, but is one that often goes unnoticed. It commemorates June 14th, 1777, when the Second Continental Congress adopted the “Stars and Stripes” as our national flag. Like the Declaration of Independence, the American flag represents the ideas of America not only to Americans, but also to the world at large: a democratic republic of, by, and for the people; governed by constitutional laws and freedoms won by the toil, tears, and bloodshed of citizens who have demanded and fought for them; and the possibility of increased opportunity and upwardly mobile success through hard work that has characterized the “American Dream” for generations. But perhaps above all else, our flag represents the “self-evident truths” expressed in our Declaration of Independence – “…that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Man and small child posing at the base of the Abraham Lincoln monument in Lincoln Park. Behind them is the engraved lower half of the monument showing the American flag and the words,
"Old Glory” and “Let Us Have Peace." Circa 1920
Carrying these principles forward yet again, on November 19th, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his “Gettysburg Address” on the decimated, war-ravaged battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, paying tribute to some of the same revolutionary ideals that the Civil War was being fought for:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure… It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced….that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

On July 3rd, 1915 – exactly fifty years after the Union Army won the battle at Gettysburg – a large bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln, “the Great Emancipator,” was unveiled in Long Beach and dedicated to veterans of the Civil War in front of the new Carnegie (Main) Library in the newly renamed Lincoln Park, only a stone’s throw from where our Billie Jean King Main Library stands today. Reportedly 12,000-15,000 citizens gathered to observe the proceedings, honoring a pivotal time in our nation’s history when economic, political, and socio-cultural tensions over slavery and states’ rights launched the most divisive, bloody war – with the highest loss of American life – that our nation has ever known. This celebration also commemorated the final outcome – the ongoing preservation and Union of our country, people, and sacred principles that so many defended and died for, and which we continue to fight for and protect today.

Currently, Lincoln’s statue stands alone in a storage lot somewhere, eventually to be returned to the new Lincoln Park when it is finally rebuilt behind the library on Pacific Avenue.  Over the past few months, he has not been present to witness the protests around City Hall after the tragic death of George Floyd – which have again renewed calls for long-standing American principles of freedom, equality, justice, and equal treatment under the law – but he was surely there in spirit, as were the Signers of our Declaration before him.   Hopefully   another “self-evident truth” of being American is that we will always keep striving (to quote our “Great Emancipator” and the Constitution) “ form a more perfect Union,” in spite of the diverse cultural world views, life experiences, and historical challenges that both unite and divide us.  So on this 4th of July, let us celebrate our diversity, our ongoing struggle for freedom, and our shared American dream of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But may we   also not forget the battle-weary plea of those who have preserved Old Glory’s stars at great cost, as well as others who still suffer beneath its stripes…  

-Angela S., Library Assistant
Long Beach Public Library | LBPL.ORG