I Pledge Allegiance

I Pledge Allegiance

by Pat Mora, Libby Martinez, Patrice Barton

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Libby's great aunt, Lobo, is from Mexico, but the United States has been her home for many years, and she wants to become a U.S. citizen. At the end of the week, Lobo will say the Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony. Libby is also learning the Pledge this week, at school—at the end of the week, she will stand up in front of everyone and lead the


Libby's great aunt, Lobo, is from Mexico, but the United States has been her home for many years, and she wants to become a U.S. citizen. At the end of the week, Lobo will say the Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony. Libby is also learning the Pledge this week, at school—at the end of the week, she will stand up in front of everyone and lead the class in the Pledge. Libby and Lobo practice together—asking questions and sharing stories and memories—until they both stand tall and proud, with their hands over their hearts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Drawing from family history, Mora (The Beautiful Lady) and her daughter Martinez tell the story of a girl named Libby, whose 80-year-old Mexican-born great-aunt, Lobo, becomes a U.S. citizen. Libby proudly announces to her class that Lobo passed her citizenship test and will soon recite the Pledge of Allegiance at her swearing-in ceremony. Since Libby’s class is also learning the pledge, her teacher offers a bit of background information, noting that its author, Francis Bellamy, “hoped that girls and boys would promise to be good citizens.” Libby and Lolo practice the pledge together, and Lolo offers a poetic response to Libby’s question about why she wants to become a citizen; after she arrived in the U.S. as a child, “the American flag—red, white, and blue—wrapped itself around me to protect me.” Barton’s (The Invisible Boy) digitally painted pencil sketches have a soft, smudgy quality with a pink-and-pale-blue palette that echoes the colors of the American flag. Spanish words appear occasionally, in keeping with the melting-pot theme, and Barton’s art easily conveys Libby and Lobo’s loving rapport. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
In its heartfelt simplicity but with comprehensive explanations of the very important concepts of the Pledge of Allegiance, this may be my favorite book of recent memory. Based on the true story of the authors’ great-aunt, Pat Mora and Libby Martinez explore the concepts of American citizenship, the immigrant experience, and the meaning of the words of the pledge through the eyes of a child seeing her older relative assuming the mantle of citizenship. As the back matter points out, the Pledge of Allegiance was originally printed in a children’s magazine, but the book explains the intent of the Pledge to unite people under a red, white, and blue of equality and unity. The most difficult word, “indivisible,” is defined for young readers so that they will be less likely to declare their country “invisible” when reciting the Pledge. The story of Lobo’s anticipation of her citizenship ceremony and her great-niece’s shared pride in her aunt’s accomplishments is heartwarming. Barton’s illustrations are realistic but manage to convey a special level of family love and kinship among this Hispanic-American family. Aunt Lobo, who expresses pride in her American citizenship-to-come, also wisely explains that she is proud of her country of origin, and that the two are not mutually exclusive. The illustration of Lobo and little Libby practicing the pledge before an audience of stuffed animals will make readers smile. This book should be required reading at the beginning of each school year. In fact, it should be required reading for many adults, as well. It sent me to the computer to recall the four changes made in the pledge since its introduction. It would be an excellent basis for a history lesson about how we have changed the way we salute our flag, especially since World War II. Highly recommended. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
GR 1–3—Libby and her Great Aunt Lobo are learning the Pledge of Allegiance at the same time—but for different reasons. Lobo is practicing it in order to become a citizen of the united states. She is proud of her Mexican heritage but is also grateful to be in America. In school, Libby has been chosen to lead her class in saying the pledge. Lobo and Libby decide to practice together at home and talk about what it means to both of them. The pencil and digitally painted illustrations have a watercolor softness that shows the deep warmth and closeness between niece and aunt. The characters are endearing, rendered primarily in shades of blue. The story will help young children become more thoughtful about this common daily recitation. Sprinkled with Spanish words, this gentle book explores what it means to be an American from the perspective of both a child and new citizen.—Diane McCabe, John Muir Elementary, Santa Monica, CA
Kirkus Reviews
An intergenerational ode to a positive United States immigration experience. Libby is proud of her great-aunt Lobo (which means "wolf" in Spanish), who has just passed the United States citizenship test. On Thursday, Libby will lead her class in saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and on Friday, Lobo will recite the pledge to officially become a U.S. citizen. Lobo and Libby practice together, and Lobo shares her story. While Lobo's nostalgic recounting of her immigration experience pairs well with Barton's soft pencil sketches, the story of her family's immigration reads a bit candy-coated as she describes her father's desire for a "safer place" to raise his daughters and neglects to mention any hardships they may have faced. In the end, all goes well for Libby at school, and she is able attend the ceremony with Lobo and recite the pledge along with her great-aunt. Intertextual historical facts make this book a shoo-in for social-studies units on the United States, though they have been simplified for the audience. Libby's teacher tells her class that Francis Bellamy wrote the pledge in 1892, but she neglects to point out that "under God" was added during the Eisenhower administration. While it is wonderful to see a book featuring Latina characters who are proud Americans, the promotion of idealized visions of life in the United States and the immigrant experience makes it a distinctly one-sided treatment. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Award-winning PAT MORA's books include Tomás and the Library Lady and Doña Flor. She is an honorary member of the ALA, the highest honor the association bestows on non-librarian members.

LIBBY MARTINEZ has worked in the Texas political arena, has served as the Director of School and Community Partnerships at the Philadelphia Zoo, and is the founder of a strategy consulting practice. She lives with her husband in Colorado Springs.

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