River Dog Recommends

River Dog Recommends: Independence Day Reads

July 4th = Independence Day

July 4th american flag books

Every month, River Dog Book Co. will send out recommended reading to celebrate that month’s nationally recognized holidays.

Independence Day in America is a day of baseball, barbecues, and the celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This is your friendly reminder that on this day, a group of immigrants to this land fully incorporated themselves as an entity separate from their country of origin.

Interested in learning more?
Read all about how the United States of America
was formed in these well-researched books.

Some are irreverent, some present an alternate perspective, but they all offer a mind-opening take on the events of 1776 and beyond.

Picture Books (ages 3-6)


July PB

Independent Dames: What You Never Knew about the Women and Girls of the American Revolution by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

An informative and detailed history of the women and girls who played important roles in the American Revolution. Anita Silvey writes, “Sybil Ludington rode longer than Paul Revere and didn’t get caught! The Daughters of Liberty make an appearance, along with nine-year-old Susan Boudinot who protested at a tea party of the Royal Governor. Writers (Phyllis Wheatley), soldiers (Deborah Sampson), spies, scouts, nurses, and the wives of the patriots all get their due via a small fact and portrait….”

John, Paul, George, & Ben by Lane Smith

No, this is not about the Beatles (that last name would be Ringo if it were!). This is a silly look at some of the founding fathers before they achieved their ff status.


Upper Middle Grade/Tween (ages 10-14)

July MG

Seeds of American trilogy: Chains, Forgeand Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson is a woman of impeccable research and many writing talents. This trilogy explores events in and around the time period of the American Revolution, following the paths of Isabel and Curzon as they separate and entwine. Heartbreak and heroism ultimately lead to hope.



Young Adult/Teen (ages 12+)

July YA

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Vol. I – The Pox Party & Vol. II – The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson

M.T. Anderson isn’t for everyone. His books are dense, convoluted, and wordy. But the story! Oh, the imaginative story! Set in Boston at the time of the Revolution, this story explores the choice of one African slave – originally raised by philosophers, unintentionally part of horrific experiments, and fearing for his life, will he fight for a freedom he will never experience himself?


YA & Adult Non-fiction

July nf

A Young People’s History of the United States and A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn is truly one of the most influential historians and activists of this time. Though he passed away in 2010, his work lives on, enduring as one of the first all-encompassing works US history to examine it from a perspective rarely before published or fully discussed. “Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People’s History of the United States is the only volume to tell America’s story from the point of view of—and in the words of—America’s women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers.”

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Published in 2015, clearly a play on Howard Zinn’s titles, this book presents the first comprehensive history of the US told from the indigenous perspective. With over 500 federally recognized nations, comprising over three million people, it is time this history was heard.

Adult Non-fiction Essays

partly cloudy patriot

The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell

Think David Sedaris-meets-Howard Zinn. Sarah Vowell offers a series of sardonic essays exploring America’s past and resulting present, mixing her personal stories with well-researched historical episodes. Don’t expect a history book here. Expect entertainment with some history thrown in.



Adult Non-fiction Musical


Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

This book barely needs an introduction, but essentially consider it the liner notes for the astounding historical musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Watch the musical, revel in the music, and read this compelling history of the project, including photos, interviews, appearances by President Obama, and “footnotes” from Miranda himself.


And as a reminder of this bookstore’s mission and policies:

Hate Has No Biz Here Poster

Now go enjoy your day, and also remember – for pets afraid of loud noises and people with PTSD, today/tonight is going to be a hard time with all those bright bursting lights and loud noises. Be careful, be empathetic, and be sensitive to those who might not be celebrating this day the way you are.

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