“Blue Sky, White Stars”, the New Book about America and our Flag

How do you teach children about America – past and also present?
How do you teach about our flag?
How do you smile a deep down smile, with childhood memories?
How and what do you you remember?

Blue Sky, White Stars parallels America and our flag.  It is terrific!

While I posted this before (because it is that good)
I have included a recent three-way video.
I read the story, and my fellow teachers
use Yoga and also Lego props to act it out.


The perfect book.  Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus captures the heart of America.  The stunning illustrations by Kadir Nelson make the simple text explode with meaning.  It is history:

White Rows.  White Rows

When I turned to this page, I choked up.  Two words, and two important stories.  How can one not talk about the white rows of covered wagons traveling west?  It is a part of American history.  And, how can one not talk about the white rows on the American flag?  Purity and innocence.  It’s an open door to learn about the flag.  It is the heart of America:

All American.  All American

Baseball, a veteran granddad with his grandson; this is “All American.”  In the words of the illustrator, “It beautifully draws parallels between the American landscape, the diversity of its people, and the symbolism stitched into the fabric.”

Yes, it does!  I like to think that the fabric encompasses far more than the flag; our foundation, our values, our community.  And, our big, wide, wonderful landscape:

Old Glory.  Old Glory.

I hadn’t thought about the Grand Canyon as “Old Glory.”  Nor had I thought about fireworks as “Old Glory.”  As soon as I saw this page, I understood.  Those words are the nickname for the American flag, yet they are so much more.  You see, while the flag is a symbol of our country, so are many other things.  We are a nation of many people.  The author thought of the deep blue sky dotted with white stars that the early immigrants saw coming to America.  That was the inspiration for the book.  We are one nation:

Sew together won nation.  So together one nation.

Powerful words.  Let’s remember what is most important; being one, being together.  That is the greatest strength.

Funny thing~ I teach this to my preschoolers every single day.  We are one, we are a family.  We are all different, yet we come to the table together.  I cannot wait to read this book to my new class of children in September.  Oh, we will stop at least a hundred times to talk.  There is so much to learn.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in America, American flag, books, children's books, Early Education, history, patriotism, picture books, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to “Blue Sky, White Stars”, the New Book about America and our Flag

  1. Ritu says:

    This looks simply wonderful!

  2. Darlene says:

    Very cleverly done!!

  3. beetleypete says:

    Using the Lego was inspired. The kids will love that, and be able to copy it. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. beth says:

    what a wonderful way to teach children about this very important symbol

  5. GP Cox says:

    A beautiful post, Jennie!!

  6. Dan Antion says:

    I can sense your enthusiasm, Jennie. I can imagine how much the children enjoy this. Learning should always be this much fun and delivered with this much love.

  7. quiall says:

    You are a great nation of innovators. Love the post.

  8. Terrific Jennie. Beautifully done by all of you.

  9. Bravo Jennie! I love this book and was quite disappointed that it didn’t receive even a nomination for the Caldecott.

    • Jennie says:

      I thought exactly the same thing!! Hands down it should have won the Caldecott. And it didn’t get a nomination? Really? I absolutely love the book!

  10. Hi Jennie, your posts are always such an eye opener. Love your video too. Thank you for always being so cheerful.

  11. Shoes says:

    What a great way to teach your kiddos about America. So much in this book to talk about. The yoga and Legos were fabulous. I may just show this to my third graders if you don’t mind, and have them compile a list of questions they had as they watched and listened.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Shoes! I think your third graders would love this. Yes, there is so much. The play on words is something they might ‘get’, like SEW together and SO together. I would dearly love to read this book to older children. It would probably take thirty minutes to get through the book, because every page would trigger a huge discussion.

      I loved the yoga and Legos! The yoga pose for freedom was awesome. I could go on. I think your idea with your third graders is terrific. Let me know how it goes!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I am in love with the Lego enactments. They seem to reach me in a very deep old place. Thanks.

  13. petespringerauthor says:

    Great teamwork! Kudos to the three of you for coming up with a fun way to present this story. I was amazed that I had never seen the book before, but then I looked it up and saw it was published in 2017 and hasn’t been around that long.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Pete! The real credit goes to Jacky Howell, a terrific presenter with published books. Pass her name on to colleagues. We all saw her latest webinar with ideas to expand literacy to all types of learners, like posing for the cover of a book. We took this a step further (thanks to my techy talented team), and made book videos that incorporate different ways of learning.

      “Blue Sky, White Stars” is the best book about America and our flag that has been written in a long time. A fellow blogger, Kim from ‘By Hook or by Book’ was a librarian for ages. She was shocked that this book didn’t get the Caldecott. I was, too. A third grade teacher loves the three-way video, and wants to use this in her class.

      I would dearly love to read this book to elementary school children, the kids you taught. The words are sparse, and they ignite a discussion: SEW together one nation, SO together one nation. And, the illustrations are gorgeous.

      Please recommend this book to your colleagues. It’s that good. Thanks so much, Pete!

  14. Wonderful! Sharing and wishing everyone a blessed and beautiful Memorial Day! 🙂

  15. A lovely post, Jennie. It will be lovely when things get back to normal again.

  16. The book looks wonderful, Jennie. I get all choked up about the dream of America too. I think it’s especially important these days. A lovely post for Memorial Day.

  17. I enjoyed the video presentation of the more recent flag book. I’ve been meaning to ask, do schools still have children sing “You’re a Grand Old Flag”? I always liked that one.

  18. dgkaye says:

    Just beautiful Jennie! ❤

  19. What an amazing exercise (no pun intended) in creativity! I’m so glad you included the video, Jennie. So much fun!

  20. I’m a Navy veteran and always fly my flag high. I teach U.S. History and do my utmost to instill a love for our country. So many gave their lives for our freedoms today.

  21. Thank you for recommending. Looks like a wonderful book to teach the essentials. Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Jennie Be well and stay save. Michael

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