Top 10 Books for Memorial Day

Finding books that capture the meaning and reason for Memorial Day that are also appropriate for the primary classroom can be a struggle. I am bringing you 10 of my favorite read alouds today to hopefully help you narrow down your list.  These have all worked great with my kindergartners and really helped them to understand that Memorial Day is more than just barbecues, summer fun, and a day off from school.

Here is a quick summary of each of my favorite books for Memorial Day:
Memorial Day by Lynn Hamilton - This is a great non-fiction book with a ton of information. Because there is so much packed into this book, I usually select a few pages to read or spread it out over several days so that the students aren't overloaded with new learning.
The Wall by Eve Bunting - In this book a boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial and search for his grandfather's name. I use this book to practice making inferences as it doesn't give specific details about the war, however students can infer that many soldiers died, family members miss their loved ones, other soldiers were hurt but not killed, etc.)
Arlington National Cemetery by Bob Temple - This book introduces the national landmark and discusses some of the important people that are buried there.  It also discusses the locations role in Memorial Day Services.
Year of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins - This book is an autobiography of the best selling Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, and her experiences understanding war through the eyes of a child. Her father is sent to Vietnam and she slowly develops understanding of what it means to be a soldier.
I Am America by Charles R Smith Jr. - This book is full of beautiful pictures of all kinds of children that make up America.  The poem is a powerful celebration of everything that makes us unique as Americans.
Hero Dad (Mom) by Bryan Langdo - There are 2 versions of this book for both a Hero Dad, and a Hero Mom.  The young boy in this story describes his dad as a super hero and all of the things that he does as part of his job in the American military.  LOVE the illustrations in this book!
Memorial Day Surprise by Theresa Martin Golding -  This book is a lighthearted account of many typical Memorial Day celebrations.  The surprise however is that a young boy learns that his grandfather served in the military and is a true American Hero!
America's White Table by Margot Theis Raven - This book explains the importance of the white table; a table that is set at military functions where no one shall sit that honors those soldiers that have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Each of the symbols on the table is explained by the mother in the story as the daughters set the table for the first time.
Postcards from a War by Vanita Oelschlager - The boy in this story is struggling with his mother's deployment so his grandfather shares with him that his own father fought in WWII. The pictures in this book include real postcards that the author received from her father during WWII.
F is for Flag by Wendy Cheyette Lewison - This last book is appropriate for any patriotic holiday, but I usually choose to introduce it around Memorial Day as we not always in school on Flag Day (June 14)  This books shows in simple ways how our flag holds many meanings and is perfect for the youngest of students.

I hope you've found a book or two that can help you teach about this important holiday in your classroom. If you are looking for response options to go with these books, I have included comprehension, writing and craft options for the first 5 books in this list as part of my Memorial Day Read & Respond pack. 

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