The Declaration of Independence from A to Z by Catherine L. Osornio

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The Declaration of Independence from A to Z by Catherine L. Osornio (illustrated by Layne Johnson; Pelican Books, 2010) is a new approach to the alphabet book style because it smoothly tells the story of the revolutionary document (the Declaration of Independence) even while starting each page with a word in alphabetical order. Thus, A is for America, which explains about the colonies, and B is for Boston Tea Party, which is a nice event in which to begin to explain the colonists’ call for independence. Most pages flow right into the next in telling the story of how independence came to be.

Some of the letters do become a bit of a stretch for the story format. For example, “K is for Keynote,” which is the main idea that is in the Declaration of Independence. This “main idea” need to be explained because the previous page (J is for Jefferson) explained that Thomas Jefferson wrote the declaration. Now the reader needs to know what it actually said. Here’s another example: “T is for Timothy Matlock.” He hand-copied the Declaration. He’s not a person of significance, so I feel he was included only because the author needed something for the letter T.

The text is probably too long for young children, but because the letters give the book a story format, it still works for a read-aloud picture book for older children. The illustrations are done in a mature style that correctly speaks to this type of older audience.

Reviewed on June 25, 2024

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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