The Flag We Love by Pam Munoz Ryan – Illustrated by Ralph Masiello: Dazzling illustrations and inspiring verse

images Enjoy a red-white-and-blue introduction to our nation’s most cherished ideals in this look at Old Glory. Dazzling illustrations and inspiring verse bring to life many famous moments in our country’s history and reveal fascinating facts about one of its most enduring symbols.

Written in poetic verse, The Flag We Love tells the story of how Old Glory solidified its place in the history and heritage of our nation – from its conception to its role in peace and war. This beautifully illustrated tribute to America’s greatest symbol has inspired young readers since its publication in 1996. “An American flag, the familiar red, white and blue, ripples in a sky filled with fireworks–a reminder to all of the joy and pride we take in one of our more enduring national symbols,” reads a review in Children’s Literature.

Unlike any other picture book about the American flag, The Flag We Love evokes the passion and emotion Americans feel toward the Stars and Stripes. It is a way for children and adults alike to get to know and recognize the significance behind the symbol they see every day but do not fully understand.

The Children’s Literature review adds: “As Ryan tells readers, no one knows who designed or created the first flag or why the colors were chosen. Interestingly there were no guidelines initially regarding the size or placements of the stars (she doesn’t tell us when it was standardized), but what she does tell us is fascinating. Six American flags ‘fly’ on the moon, one for each Apollo landing. Flags fly over schools, at national monuments, and are a big part of celebrations such as those for the Fourth of July. Flags fly at half-mast to honor the dead and American flags fly at our ports to welcome all who arrive at this country. Her text and Masiello’s wonderful illustrations will make us all remember that the American flag represents “many of America’s hopes and dreams.” It is my hope that this book will find a place in school and public libraries and that children and adults will pause to think about our flag, this nation, and what we stand for.”

School Library Journal called The Flag We Love a poetical history of the U.S. flag. “Each double-page spread features a four-line, rhymed verse of mediocre quality and a box of well- and little-known trivia on the left, and a full-page painting on the right. The stronger illustrations include such moving scenes as the train carrying Lincoln’s coffin, the Vietnam War Memorial, and an astronaut walking on the moon with a U.S. flag reflected in his visor.”

Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of more that thirty books for young readers, including four beloved novels, Riding Freedom, Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi León, and Paint the Wind, which collectively have garnered, among countless accolades, the Pura Belpré Medal, the Jane Addams Award, and the Schneider Family Award. She lives in Southern California with her family.

From Publisher’s Weekly:

Strike up the band and prepare to salute-this patriotic picture book unabashedly celebrates the Stars and Stripes. In a series of earnest verses, Ryan (One Hundred Is a Family) introduces young readers to our national symbol and the ideals for which it stands (“Americans stand together/ Before ceremonies start/ And promise their allegiance/ With their hands across their hearts”), while prose insets offer historical tidbits in a sidebar format. The book’s clean, airy layout contrasts with Masiello’s (The Extinct Alphabet Book) intense, sometimes murkily-hued oil paintings, which echo Ryan’s text in their solemnity and fervor. Nonetheless, the result should delight Yankee Doodle dandies everywhere, and could help spark discussion on the basic elements of democracy.

Author/illustrator Ralph Masiello explores the world of dragon lore, from the mystical Australian rainbow serpent to the revered imperial dragon of China. Just follow the steps in red to create your own mythical, magical beasts. Extra bonus steps in blue show how to add realistic scales and more advanced details.

The illustration is so detailed and realistic. The bold, detailed paintings in muted colors help to emphasize the patriotic theme.  My favorite picture is the one that shows the Viet Nam wall. This work is a patriotic gem that celebrates, among other things, people willing to die for their country.  I enjoyed the book very much.

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