Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to the founding fathers. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about the founding fathers.
Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about the founding fathers, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades) to popular sellers like John, Paul, George & Ben to some of our favorite hidden gems like Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History.
We hope this list of kids books about the founding fathers can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
The most famous duel in American history dramatized by leading nonfiction picture book illustrator, Don Brown.
Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were both fierce patriots during the Revolutionary War, but the politics of the young United States of America put them in constant conflict. Their extraordinary story of bitter fighting and resentment culminates in their famous duel. For young patriots who may not yet know the shocking and tragic story, Aaron and Alexander captures the spirit of these two great men who so valiantly served their country and ultimately allowed their pride and ego to cause their demise.
We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer. Learn all about George Washington, America’s first president. George Washington was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. He was never afraid to be the first to try something, from exploring the woods around his childhood home to founding a brand new nation, the United States of America. With his faith in the American people and tremendous bravery, he helped win the Revolutionary War and became the country’s first president. Each picture book in this series is a biography of a significant historical figure, told in a simple, conversational, vivacious way, and always focusing on a character trait that makes the person a role model for kids. The heroes are depicted as children throughout, telling their life stories in first-person present tense, which keeps the books playful and accessible to young children. And each book ends with a line of encouragement, a direct quote, photos, a timeline, and a source list.
The life and legacy of our nation’s first president, also known as commander of the Continental Army, husband to Martha, and an avid farmer and equestrian.
Over two hundred years after his death, George Washington remains one of the most studied figures in American history. This clear and concise picture book biography covers the important facts and historical background, complemented by charming illustrations. The text details Washington’s early life as well as the Revolutionary War and his impressive career as leader of the newly formed United States. Young readers will love learning more about the man who was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Back matter features a timeline.
Repackaged paperback edition has an elegant new series design!
For almost thirty years, David Adler’s Picture Book Biography series has profiled famous people who changed the world. Colorful, kid-friendly illustrations combine with Adler’s “expert mixtures of facts and personality” (Booklist) to introduce young readers to history through compelling biographies of presidents, heroes, inventors, explorers, and adventurers. These books are ideal for first and second graders interested in history, or who need reliable sources for school book reports.
A fun take on history from Newbery Honor-winning author, Jean Fritz!
George Washington Allen, a boy who never gives up until he finds out what he wants to know, is determined to learn all there is to know about his namesake, including what the first president ate for breakfast!
A biography of the nation’s first president, including his youth in Virginia, his army career, and his leadership of the newly formed United States of America.
A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin - A rousing biography from Michael J. Rosen and Matt Tavares reveals how Benjamin Franklin’s boyhood shaped his amazingly multifaceted life. Young Benjamin Franklin wants to be a sailor, but his father won’t hear of it. The other trades he tries – candle maker, joiner, boot closer, turner – bore him through and through. Curious and inventive, Ben prefers to read, swim, fly his kite, and fly his kite while swimming. But each time he fails to find a profession, he takes some important bit of knowledge with him. That tendency is exactly what leads him to become the astonishingly versatile genius we remember today. Inspired by The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Michael J. Rosen’s wry tale captures Ben’s spirit in evocative yet playful language, while illustrations by Matt Tavares follow Ben from the workbench to the water in vivid detail. A love story to the value of variety, A Ben of All Trades sheds light on an unconventional path to greatness and humanizes a towering figure in American history.
A Picture Book of Alexander Hamilton - How the extraordinary patriot made soaring accomplishments but then met his devastating end, the life of Alexander Hamilton for picture book readers. From his youth in the Caribbean to his immigration to New York City, this picture book covers the highlights of Alexander Hamilton’s legacy, including his part in the American revolution, his influence on the monetary system we still use today, and his tragic death. Matt Collin’s hyperrealistic art style will transport readers right alongside Hamilton, while David A. Adler deftly chronicles pivotal moments in the Founding Father’s short but hugely influential life. A time line is included.
The Story of Alexander Hamilton: A Biography Book for New Readers - Help kids ages 6 to 9 discover the life of Alexander Hamilton―a story about working hard, blazing trails, and fighting for freedom
George Washington and the General's Dog - Children will delight at this little-known-story about our nation’s first president, George Washington, that makes for perfect President’s Day readers! Boom! Bang! Guns fire! Cannons roar! This Step 3 History Reader is about George Washington fighting in the American Revolution. He sees a dog lost on the battlefield. Whose dog is it? How will it find its master? Early readers will be surprised to find out what happens in this little-known true story about America’s first president. Step 3 Readers feature engaging characters in easy-to-follow plots about popular topics. These books are for children who are ready to read on their own.
Once there were four lads… John [Hancock], Paul [Revere], George [Washington], and Ben [Franklin].
Oh yes, there was also Tom [Jefferson], but he was annoyingly independent and hardly ever around. These lads were always getting into trouble for one reason or another. In other words, they took a few…liberties. And to be honest, they were not always appreciated. This is the story of five little lads before they became five really big Founding Fathers.
Uncover the lives of thirteen African-Americans who fought during the Revolutionary War.
Even as American Patriots fought for independence from British rule during the Revolutionary War, oppressive conditions remained in place for the thousands of enslaved and free African Americans living in this country. But African Americans took up their own fight for freedom by joining the British and American armies; preaching, speaking out, and writing about the evils of slavery; and establishing settlements in Nova Scotia and Africa. The thirteen stories featured in this collection spotlight charismatic individuals who answered the cry for freedom, focusing on the choices they made and how they changed America both then and now. These individuals include: Boston King, Agrippa Hull, James Armistead Lafayette, Phillis Wheatley, Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, Prince Hall, Mary Perth, Ona Judge, Sally Hemings, Paul Cuffe, John Kizell, Richard Allen, and Jarena Lee. Includes individual bibliographies and timelines, author note, and source notes.
Read the story of the Founding Father who inspired the smash Broadway musical.
Born in the British West Indies and orphaned as a child, Alexander Hamilton made his way to the American Colonies and studied to become a lawyer. He joined a local militia during the American Revolution, rose to the rank of Major General, and became the chief aide to General George Washington. After the war, he became the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. He founded the Bank of New York and The New York Post newspaper. He served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and is also celebrated as a co-author of The Federalist Papers, a series of essays that are still used today to interpret the U.S. Constitution.
The end of his life became a national scandal when he was shot and killed in a duel with then-Vice President Aaron Burr.
What do the most famous traitor in history, hundreds of naked soldiers, and a salmon lunch have in common? They’re all part of the amazing story of the American Revolution.
Entire books have been written about the causes of the American Revolution. This isn’t one of them. What it is, instead, is utterly interesting, antedotes (John Hancock fixates on salmon), from the inside out (at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, hundreds of soldiers plunged into battle “naked as they were born”) close-up narrative filled with little-known details, lots of quotes that capture the spirit and voices of the principals (“If need be, I will raise one thousand men, subsist them at my own expense, and march myself at their head for the relief of Boston” – George Washington), and action, It’s the story of the birth of our nation, complete with soldiers, spies, salmon sandwiches, and real facts you can’t help but want to tell to everyone you know.
King George: What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About the American Revolution by Steve Sheinkin is a fun, funny way for young readers to learn about a chapter of American history, which has been popularized by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway show Hamilton.
Steve Sheinkin is the acclaimed author of many nonfiction works, including The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery, Newbery Honor Book and National Book Award Finalist Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon, and National Book Award finalist Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were good friends with very different personalities. But their differing views on how to run the newly created United States turned them into the worst of friends. They each became leaders of opposing political parties, and their rivalry followed them to the White House. Full of both history and humor, this is the story of two of America’s most well-known presidents and how they learned to put their political differences aside for the sake of friendship.
Who Was George Washington? - In 1789, George Washington became the first president of the United States. He has been called the father of our country for leading America through its early years. Washington also served in two major wars during his lifetime: the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. With over 100 black-and-white illustrations, Washington’s fascinating story comes to life - revealing the real man, not just the face on the dollar bill!
George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides - There are two sides to every story. Rosalyn Schanzer’s engaging and wonderfully illustrated book brings to life both sides of the American Revolution. The narrative introduces anew the two enemies, both named George: George Washington, the man who freed the American colonies from the British, and George III, the British king who lost them. Two leaders on different sides of the Atlantic, yet with more in common than we sometimes acknowledge. We are lead through their story, and the story of their times, and see both sides of the arguments that divided the colonies from the Kingdom. Was King George a “Royal Brute” as American patriots claimed? Or was he, as others believed, “the father of the people?” Was George Washington a scurrilous traitor, as all the king’s supporters claimed? Or should we remember and celebrate him as “the father of his country?” Who was right? History teaches us that there are two sides to every story. Rosalyn Schanzer’s book is an accessible account of one the most vital periods in American history. It is also a timeless lesson in seeing history from different points of view. The author spent two years researching books, paintings, cartoons, and descriptions of Revolutionary times. She uses art, text, and first-hand accounts to illustrate how history should never be reduced to simplistic conflicts between the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” Her illustrations, and her engaging quote bubbles, bring the Revolution to life again, and allow the characters of the period to speak for themselves. Through its lively text, detailed illustrations, and fully authenticated quotes, George vs. George shines fresh light on both sides of the story of our country’s formative years.
George Washington's Spy: A Time Travel Adventure - This historic time-travel fantasy is a riveting sequel to a bestselling classic. Ten-year-old Matt Carlton and six friends are accidentally swept back in time–to Boston in 1776! The British now occupy the city, and redcoat guards are everywhere! While the boys are being held captive by a den of Patriot spies, the girls have been taken in by a wealthy Tory family. The pox is rampant; danger lies around every corner–and there’s no hope for returning home to their own time. How will these seven children survive? Readers will relish the nonstop action and humorous dialogue in this riveting sequel to Woodruff’s bestselling novel, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SOCKS.
George Washington's Teeth - From battling toothaches while fighting the British, to having rotten teeth removed by his dentists, the Father of His Country suffered all his life with tooth problems. Yet, contrary to popular belief, he never had a set of wooden teeth. Starting at the age of twenty-four, George Washington lost on average a tooth a year, and by the time he was elected president, he had only two left! In this reverentially funny tale written in verse and based on Washington’s letters, diaries, and other historical records, readers will find out what really happened as they follow the trail of lost teeth to complete tooflessness. Illustrated in watercolors with subtle humor by Brock Cole, the main story is followed by a four-page time line featuring reproduced period portraits of Washington.
In this jaw-dropping final installment of New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman’s action-packed series, four risk-taking friends travel back in time to record the most infamous duel in American history. Billionaire Miss Z might be out of the picture, but a top-secret agency wants to send Luke, Julia, David, and Isabel on one final mission. This time, the Flashback Four are headed to Weehawken, New Jersey—in 1804—to videotape the fateful duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. But once they arrive, the team faces a question of historic proportions: Should they capture the tragic details of the duel or try to change them? With real photographs to help put young readers right in the action, plus back matter that separates fact from fiction, The Hamilton-Burr Duel tells the story of one of history’s fiercest rivalries from a fun and fresh new angle.
Newbery Award-winning author Russell Freedman offers up this powerful account of the survival of American soldiers while camped at Valley Forge during a crucial period in the American Revolution.
George Washington’s army almost perished during the winter of 1777-78. Camped at Valley Forge, about twenty miles from Philadelphia, the revolutionaries endured severe hardship because the army’s supply system had collapsed and they were without food, clothing, and blankets. The army was at its most vulnerable; but when the harsh winter drew to a close, the soldiers had survived, and marched away from Valley Forge more determined than ever. The British were defeated in 1783, and Washington, for the rest of his life, said that the credit for the Amrican victory belonged to the soldiers who had braved the horrific conditions at Valley Forge.
“First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen”—and first in the minds of schoolchildren, who learn about George Washington as soon as they begin studying American history. From Washington’s Virginia childhood, through his days as a soldier and general, to his inauguration as the first President of the brand-new United States, and into retirement, this biography captures the full breadth and achievements of his life. It covers both the personal and the private, reveals his views on everything from governmental power to the abolition of slavery, and separates fascinating truth from well-worn legend—including that infamous, but false, tale about chopping down the cherry tree.
“No picture accurately resembled him in the minute traits of his person . . . there was an expression of his face that no painter had succeeded in taking.”―London’s New Monthly Magazine in 1790
George Washington’s face has been painted, printed, and engraved more than a billion times since his birth in 1732. And yet even in his lifetime, no picture seemed to capture the likeness of the man who is now the most iconic of all our presidents. Worse still, people today often see this founding father as the “old and grumpy” Washington on the dollar bill.
In 2005 a team of historians, scientists, and artisans at Mount Vernon set out to change the image of our first president. They studied paintings and sculptures, pored over Washington’s letters to his tailors and noted other people’s comments about his appearance, even closely examined the many sets of dentures that had been created for Washington. Researchers tapped into skills as diverse as 18th-century leatherworking and cutting-edge computer programming to assemble truer likenesses. Their painstaking research and exacting processes helped create three full-body representations of Washington as he was at key moments in his life. And all along the way, the team gained new insight into a man who was anything but “old and grumpy.” Join award-winning author Carla Killough McClafferty as she unveils the statues of the three Georges and rediscovers the man who became the face of a new nation.
George Washington comes alive for preschoolers in this all-American Little Golden Book!
Bright, appealing artwork and simple words introduce the youngest readers to our first president with engaging anecdotes, beginning with how young George liked to study and ride his horse. Fun facts at the end—such as that Washington’s image can be found on our dollar bill, our postage stamps, and on Mount Rushmore—round out this charming Little Golden Book.
And look for: My Little Golden Book About Abraham Lincoln.
Alexander Hamilton: Little Lion - Now that the twins have begun to settle into their new lives at Elm Medona, they delve deeper into The Treasure Chest and uncover more about the Pickworth family, including the disappearance of their great-uncle Thorne and the theft of priceless family artifacts. In this adventure, The Treasure Chest transports Felix and Maisie to tropical St. Croix in 1772. There they meet a young man named Alexander Hamilton who is about to embark on a journey to New York. Felix and Maisie aren’t sure why The Treasure Chest has brought them to meet Alexander, but they are determined to not let him out of their sights . . .even if that means stowing away on the very ship he is sailing off on!
Alexander Hamilton - Historical facts are presented in a fun, graphic format that invites young readers to explore the lives and times of our founding fathers, focusing on the key contributions of each and the lasting impact these men have had on the development and growth of our nation. Includes a timeline at the end.
Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father - Fans of the Broadway musical Hamilton and American history lovers will want to share this illustrated biography of Alexander Hamilton with their young readers. Did you know that one of our Founding Fathers was not born in America? An orphan from the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton came to the colonies and played an important role in the Revolutionary War, rising to become General George Washington’s right-hand man. But his accomplishments don’t stop there! He helped obtain the ratification of the Constitution; he was America’s first secretary of the treasury; and he established the first national bank and the U.S. Mint. A man of ambition, loyalty, and principle, he is now being celebrated as the prominent patriot he was. Step 3 Readers feature engaging characters in easy-to-follow plots about popular topics—for children who are ready to read on their own.
Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington -
A boy from Virginia becomes the first president
Before he was the face on the dollar bill, George Washington was a shy boy with a hot temper. But George had character and adaptability. He taught himself courage and self-control. At an early age, and without really realizing it, George Washington gathered the qualities he’d need to become one of the greatest leaders America has ever known.
Anne Rockwell’s prose is dignified, Matt Phelan’s illustrations are striking, and the details they reveal about George Washington’s early days are fascinating, sometimes tragic, and always moving.
Everyone wanted George Washington to be the president. He was responsible, led the army in a fight against the British, and helped write the Constitution. But being the president is a very important job, and George was too nervous. So, to everyone’s surprise, he said no! However, George had many supporters, and with the help of the cheering crowds and loyal advisers and dignitaries, George realized that he didn’t have time to think about how nervous he was, he just had to do his job. With little-known facts and a bit of humor, Suzanne Tripp Jurmain gives readers a glimpse into the more personal side of the first president of the United States.
George Washington grew up in the English colony of Virginia. He was tall and strong, fair in judgment, and respected by his friends as a good leader. As he grew older, George saw how England took advantage of the American colonies—and he didn’t like it. When the colonies declared their independence, George was chosen to lead their army as its general. And when the colonies won their freedom, George was elected to lead the new nation as its first president.
In this eye-opening look at our Founding Fathers that is full of fun facts and lively artwork, it seems that Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and their cohorts sometimes agreed on NOTHING…except the thing that mattered most: creating the finest constitution in world history, for the brand-new United States of America.
Tall! Short! A scientist! A dancer! A farmer! A soldier!
The founding fathers had no idea they would ever be called the “founding Fathers,” and furthermore they could not even agree exactly on what they were founding!
Should America declare independence from Britain? “Yes!” shouted some. “No!” shouted others.
“Could you repeat the question?” shouted the ones who either hadn’t been listening or else were off in France having fun, dancin’ the night away.
Slave owners, abolitionists, soldiers, doctors, philosophers, bankers, angry letter-writers—the men we now call America’s Founding Fathers were a motley bunch of characters who fought a lot and made mistakes and just happened to invent a whole new kind of nation.
And now here they are, together again, in an exclusive engagement!
Elvira Woodruff’s million-copy seller, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SOCKS, returns in time for the book’s anticipated HC sequel – Ben Franklin’s Boots!
A mysterious rowboat transports five adventurous kids back in time to the eve of the Battle at Trenton where they experience the American Revolution. Through encounters with Hessian soldiers, revolutionaries, and even George Washington himself, Matthew, Quentin, Hooter, Tony, and Katie watch history unfold before their eyes as they see first-hand, the grim realities of war and the cost of freedom.
Find out more about this famous Founding Father!
With his face on the ten-dollar bill and an award-winning musical about his life, it’s clear that Alexander Hamilton’s story is one worth telling. Despite feeling like an outsider, Hamilton fought hard to form a united nation with a strong central government–and many of his ideas are still relevant today! With this illustrated leveled reader, kids can learn more about the man who, in many ways, was a true American hero.
Duel! Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words - In the early morning hours of July 11, 1804, two men stood facing each other on a New Jersey cliff side. One was the U.S. vice president, Aaron Burr, and the other was Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury. They were ready to fight to the death for honor. These Founding Fathers, once friends and colleagues, had become the bitterest of enemies. After years of escalating tension, Burr had finally challenged Hamilton to a duel. In the end, only one man survived, but their infamous rivalry lives on.
George Washington -- Soldier, Hero, President - This biography of one of the most famous and recognizable American presidents mark DK’s commitment to bringing US history-based biographies to the DK Readers series. In George Washington, the young reader will learn about our first president’s childhood, his life as a farmer, statesman, general, and his days as president. The 48-page Level 3 books, designed for children who can read on their own, contain more complex sentence structure and more detail. Young readers will devour these kid-friendly titles, which cover high-interest topics such as sharks, and the Bermuda Triangle, as well as classics like Aladdin. Information boxes highlight historical references, trivia, pronunciation, and other facts about words and names mentioned. Averaging 2,400 to 2,800 words, these books offer a 50/50 picture-to-text ratio. The Dorling Kindersley Readers combine an enticing visual layout with high-interest, easy-to-read stories to captivate and delight young bookworms who are just getting started. Written by leading children’s authors and compiled in consultation with literacy experts, these engaging books build reader confidence along with a lifelong appreciation for nonfiction, classic stories, and biographies. There is a DK Reader to interest every child at every level, from preschool to grade 4.
Dear Mr. Washington - Based on the true story behind Gilbert Stuart’s famous portraits of Washington, this funny historical read will leave rascals, ruffians, and troublemakers of all ages laughing. Charlotte, James, and baby John have promised to be on their very best behavior for when George Washington comes to have his portrait painted by their father, Gilbert Stuart. But, it seems like every time George Washington comes to visit, Charlotte has to write another apology letter, even when they try to follow George Washington’s Rules of Good Behavior. If these whippersnappers want any dessert, they are going to have to learn some manners—and fast! What results is a hilarious chain of events, a giant mess…and a painting that will be remembered for centuries to come.
Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider - The perfect chapter book biography for young fans of the Hamilton musical! Most people know that Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, and that his face is on the ten dollar bill. But he was much more than that! Born in the West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an immigrant, an outsider. He fought in the American Revolution and became George Washington’s most valuable aide-de-camp. As one of America’s Founding Fathers, he was there for the writing of the Constitution and became the first Secretary of the Treasury. Jean Fritz’s award-winning talent for bringing history to life shines as she shares the true story of Alexander Hamilton, a man of action who was honorable, ambitious, and fiercely loyal to his adopted country.
Young fans of the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton” will enjoy this narrative nonfiction picture book story about the important friendship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary War. Lafayette has come to America to offer his services to the patriotic cause. Inexperienced but dedicated, he is a much-needed ally and not only earns a military position with the Continental Army but also Washington’s respect and admiration. This picture book presents the human side of history, revealing the bond between two famous Revolutionary figures. Both the author and illustrator worked with experts and primary sources to represent both patriots and the war accurately and fairly.
Explores the childhood, character, and influential events that shaped the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers.
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