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The Picture Book Buzz

Blue Sky White Stars - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

In the wake of the political and social climate that are country is currently experiencing, it is increasingly important that we come together as a nation. That we welcome and accept the differences that our "melting pot" heritage offers us. We're supposed to be "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL." Sometimes, I think we forget. We need to remember. This week, a beautiful picture book arrived to help remind us of what we could be as a nation.

Blue Sky White Stars

Author: Sarvinder Naberhaus

Illustrator: Kadir Nelson

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (2017)



Patriotism, diversity, history, unity, and America.

Synopsis (From Barnes & Noble):

An inspiring and patriotic tribute to the beauty of the American flag, a symbol of America’s history, landscape, and people, illustrated by New York Times bestselling and Caldecott-honor winning artist Kadir Nelson

Wonderfully spare, deceptively simple verses pair with richly evocative paintings to celebrate the iconic imagery of our nation, beginning with the American flag. Each spread, sumptuously illustrated by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson, depicts a stirring tableau, from the view of the Statue of Library at Ellis Island to civil rights marchers shoulder to shoulder, to a spacecraft at Cape Canaveral blasting off. This book is an ode to America then and now, from sea to shining sea.

Opening Lines:

Blue Sky

White Stars

Red Rows

White Rows

Red, White, and Blue

Why I like this book:

While this is a beautifully illustrated book, which juxtaposes amazing images of our country (from coast to coast) with patriotic images of the flag and our nation's symbols. It is so much more. It is a thought provoking tribute to America and all she stands for.

In one of my favorite spreads of the book, Kadir created an amazingly strong image from Sarvinder's use of the homonym: "Sew Together Won Nation/ So Together One Nation."

This sentiment, and the image of our country united as one, is poignant . Throughout the book, the images and the sparse, but precisely and expertly chosen text, are blended together beautifully.

Sarvinder and Kadir wove iconic images of America - The Statute of Liberty, The Grand Canyon, an Eagle, and the moon landing - with diverse images of strong, proud, Americans of all ages working together toward freedom through - the Civil War, World War II, and the Civil Rights movement. Each pair of images is accompanied by a patriotic sentiment. For instance, "All American" represents a baseball game and a World War II Veteran (note his hat), listening to a radio broadcast of the game with his grandson.

The final image shows the Blue Sky White Stars on the moon, waving forever. A permanent symbol of our nation's unity; a weaving of our differences into one magnificent country. This book is a treasure on its own and an excellent means of starting a discussion of what our nation's symbols stand for and the unity and freedoms for which so many have fought (are fighting). This is a book that will appeal not only to kids, and teachers, but to a larger audience as well.


- author's website has background information and information on immigrants and the flag (

- create Valentines for Veterans or Thank you cards for Veterans Day and deliver them to a Veteran's hospital.

- make your own American flag, a patriotic rocket, and American bracelet, and more crafts (

- learn about Betsy Ross (Betsy Ross: The Story of Our Flag by Pamela Chanko), the construction of the flag (, or some of the events seen in the images.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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