Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth, everyone!  🎆🎇

Enjoy the fireworks and be careful with those sparklers! If the excitement gets too much for you...if you look around and wonder how we got where we are - good or bad - here's a book to read.

The Fragile Flag by Jane Langton.   The president wants to build a bomb - a huge world-ending bomb.  To garner support, his administration runs an essay contest in the schools.  Then, the president and his government try to redesign the flag, adding sparkles and glitz. 

In Concord, Massachusetts, Georgie Hall and her cousins decide to carry an old cherished flag, one said to infuse the viewer with patriotic visions, from their home to Washington D.C. on foot.  Even though they gather followers on the way, they also meet challenges. They wonder if their protest will have any effect at all.

Published in 1984, toward the end of the Cold War, this book might sound dated in its political setting (historical fiction!).  In 2002, Kathleen Karr, another favorite author, wrote that the book was not "appropriate for our political climate".  She wrote her critique right after 9/11 and might have been referring to our, at that time, friendly relationship with Russia.  Things had changed since 1984 but the pendulum kept swinging.

Personally, the danger of patriotic fervor turning into nationalistic insanity is all too real.  This book's message is true.  Read it and let me know how you feel.

More on Jane Langton, here.

Over at literacious, Laura has put together a Revolutionary War reading list for your middle grade - and older - readers.  Enjoy.

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