America Is...

( 3 )


What is America?

It is fifty states from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Ocean and beyond. It is a flag of stars and stripes. It is farmers, miners, factory workers, bakers, and bankers. It is Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, swamps and desert.
It is the stories of all of us, told together.

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What is America?

It is fifty states from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Ocean and beyond. It is a flag of stars and stripes. It is farmers, miners, factory workers, bakers, and bankers. It is Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, swamps and desert.
It is the stories of all of us, told together.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"America is our country. It is the place we call home," begins this unabashedly patriotic picture book. Each spread focuses on a defining aspect of the nation, from the flag's symbolism to the country's ethnic diversity. Borden (The Little Ships) brings little individuality to this familiar subject. She praises America's "very first people... whose words bring wisdom to all who listen" as well as "those of us who came later: many kinds of people from many countries of the world. We are one family, and one team. We are Americans." The author touches down in farming country ("America is... old barns and country roads, fields of corn and wheat"), on busy urban streets ("America is skyscrapers, tall, with many windows, up, up, up"), the prairie ("tall grass, and wind, and stars") as she introduces the basic elements of democracy ("America is... the land where we are free. To live. To speak out. To worship. To work. To play. To follow our dreams"). As the text travels from New England to the Pacific Northwest, Niagara Falls to Western rodeos, Schuett's (Purple Mountain Majesties) stirring illustrations take full advantage of the sweeping scope. Her mixed-media paintings offer expansive vistas as well as focused vignettes, all peopled with a multicultural cast. Ages 6-9. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This positive and patriotic kaleidoscope of the American people, their land and their beliefs is a surefire way to begin a discussion. Each two-page spread begins with the words that comprise the title of the book. The opening spread shows ships approaching the Statue of Liberty at sunrise and a text that begins, "America is our country./ It is the place we call home./ We are the nation/ whose name means freedom/ to people all over the world." Other subjects are the flag, the national holidays of Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, the city and country landscapes, Native Americans and immigrants, farm and city folk, historically important men and women, and means of communication that connect its people across the continent and beyond. The full pledge of allegiance and the words to the national anthem are included. Schuett creates visually interesting double-page spreads. Her colorful map of the United States invites readers to take a long look. The varying perspectives keep each turn of the page fresh: Readers will look up to see skyscrapers, have a bird's eye view of the waterways, a panorama of the plains, and a single-focus picture of a Minnesota cabin buried in snow. Classroom teachers can use this as an introduction to units on immigrants. Through its non-rhyming poetry it presents a basic commonality for all Americans. 2002, Margaret K McElderry/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing,
— Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-"America is our country. It is the place we call home. We are the nation whose name means freedom to people all over the world." So begins this extended attempt to define a country in a picture-book poem. Beginning with the basics of 50 states, moving through traditional symbols, and on to varieties of occupations, transportation, communication, and geography, the recurring emphasis is on " a nation where fifty states meet, where we are all one." Diversity of place-farms to skyscrapers, rodeos to Niagara Falls-and people are presented as creating one "family, and one team." The full-color acrylic, gouache, and ink illustrations are attractive and expansive, but also reinforce the cliched nature of the text. The title page's eagle perched against a star-spangled sky, the Statue of Liberty silhouetted against the flaming sunrise on the next page-it's a bit of overkill, but right in keeping with the romanticized, idealized, traditional images that the author presents. The cast of children and parents is nicely individualized in terms of ethnic features, but there is a sameness to their postures and expressions that saps the vibrancy from the diversity. The treacly acknowledgment of Native Americans-"the proud tribes who live in peace with the earth and the sky "-is no less a stereotype for being positively inclusive. America is many of the things mentioned here, and the poet is entitled to her vision, but relentless wishful thinking denies the complexity of a nation that also includes homeless children, hungry families, and people of color whose experiences belie the "we are all one" refrain. For all its good intentions, this selective series of platitudes isn't going to enrich children's knowledge or experience in any significant way.-Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
You can practically hear the music swell behind Borden's celebration of the US, a land where, between "rugged mountains with caps of snow" and "the swamps and bayous of the Deep South," people "rush to and from work," "proud tribes . . . live in peace with the earth and the sky," and "American farmers grow food that feeds families all over the world." Using lambent acrylics, Schuett (Are Trees Alive?, p. 419, etc.) echoes the text's high tone with scenes of rippling flags, multicultural groups of proud, prosperous-looking citizens, maps in jewel-like colors, Fourth of July fireworks, and sweeping landscapes. It's a stirring tribute, though the glow of idealism washes out any hint that this country might not be paradise on Earth for all of its residents. Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land, illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen (1998), is at least as inspirational while, with its suggestion that we may still be a few steps away from Utopia, providing readers with a clearer-eyed view. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416902867
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 186,173
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Borden graduated from Denison University with a degree in history. She taught first graders and preschoolers and later was a part-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to writing children’s books, she also speaks regularly to young students about the writing process. Her books include Good Luck, Mrs. K!, which won the Christopher Medal, and The A+ Custodian. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and you can visit her at

Stacey Schuett has illustrated numerous books for children, including America Louise Borden, Night Lights by Steven Schnur, and Purple Mountain Majesties by Barbara Younger. She lives in Sebastopol, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2006

    America is... our home!

    What is America to you? Is it ¿a flag of stars and stripes,¿ or ¿the pledge we say at school.¿ Maybe it¿s the ¿lakes so huge and deep they seem as big as an ocean¿ or ¿the land where we are free.¿ It may be a couple of these things to you, but it¿s probably these things plus a whole lot more. America is the world we live in, its past, present and future. America is¿ is a great poetic salute to our great country of America. With the poetic text describing many of the aspects about the country of America and the bold pictures, this book depicts many of the things about America that make it so great. Louise Borden was born (in 1949) and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She became very interested in reading while she was in elementary school. It was at Louise¿s elementary school, Lotspeich that ¿the marvelous shelves of books in the library shaped her into a lifelong reader.¿ Before becoming a full time writer and a guest speaker, Louise was a kindergarten and first grade teacher. She was also a co-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati. Today, writing is a part of her life. ¿The first impulse to write a book is always triggered by something that has touched her indelibly.¿ Louise Borden lives in Ohio with her family. Borden, Louise. America Is¿ New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2002. RL: Ages 6-9, Grades 1-4

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

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