Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem

Abrams. May 2020. 176p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781419741029.
Gr 7 Up–The National Anthem is a well-recognized song across the United States, but many people may not know the story of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Congress declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812. In 1813, flag-maker and Baltimore resident Mary Pickersgill was asked to make two flags to hang at Fort McHenry. The narrative, which takes place during the War of 1812, describes how poet Francis Scott Key found inspiration while watching the Battle of Baltimore. While it took more than 100 years for “The Star-Spangled Banner” to officially be adopted as the national anthem, Baltimore took great pride in defending Fort McHenry under the 15-star, 15-striped flag. Stories of American business owners like Pickersgill and shipbuilder Thomas Kemp, who squared off against Admiral George Cockburn and his Royal Navy, will have readers cheering for the United States and caught up in the city’s battle preparations. Quick chapters introduce a colorful array of people from Britain and the United States, including those who were enslaved and those who were free. Beautiful full-color photographs and artwork bring this story to life. End matter includes a full bibliography, a glossary, a list of places to visit, and an epilogue to find out what happened to key characters after the battle.
VERDICT This is a great addition to collections where American history is a hot item.

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