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America the Beautiful
Katharine Lee Bates
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America the Beautiful

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  203 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Wendell Minor is an extraordinarily talented fine artist who has received over two hundred awards for his work. Authors refer to him as a "quiet genius" who creates with simplicity and elegance, a "master" at capturing the essence of the written word in vivid imagery, of creating brilliant paintings that evoke the true spirit of story and place. He has illustrated hundreds ...more
Published by Little Brown and Company (first published 1895)
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Katherine Lee Bates' classic poem (including the two verses not usually sung) set to the gorgeous illustrations of Wendell Minor. He selects several famous and/or beautiful places in America to represent the various lines of the poem, from Half Dome and Yellowstone Falls to a picturesque mailbox in Connecticut to a farm in Kansas. Just gorgeous! The back matter includes a brief biography about Bates and Samuel A. Ward (who wrote the music), a facsimile of one of Bates' hand written manuscripts, ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I’d meant to get a copy of this poem book by a different illustrator. But I’m happy with this edition. I love its story. The illustrator grew up in America and moved to Israel after college. An Israeli friend finally convinced him to take a road trip through America to see the sights. The paintings in this book came from that trip they took together.

I’ve always liked this song, better than our national anthem. The four verses of this poem are shown with their music on the inside covers but only
Jan 09, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to read this sort of thing when it shows no awareness of the downsides of colonizing the region. On the bright side, the Tuskegee airmen do make an appearance so it's not all about white nationalism.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katharine Bates's famous tune, American the Beautiful,  is set against gorgeous illustrations of our country. There is a guide at the end of the book that explains each illustrated area of the country as well as a map.

11 other patriotic picture books to enjoy at
Marissa Dunbar
This was an amazing visual representation of the poem and it was a great read. It shows the diversity and history we have followed throughout our country being a country. I loved this book!
Philip Carlson
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poems
America the Beautiful is a poem written by Katherine Lee Bates after a visit to the Western wonder of Pike's Peak in 1893. In 1895, the poem was submitted for publication, revised in 1904, and eventually paired with a tune written by Samuel Augustus Ward. Since that time, it has become an iconic hymn that defines the character of the United States, and sheds light on the beautiful scenery that lies between its coasts. This book is the visual accompaniment that brings the poem to life and enable ...more
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Anita Silvey featured this edition on the 04 July 2011 "Children's Book-a-Day Almanac" blog and her write-up convinced me that I had to see it for myself.

Wow. Each line of the poem has a full-page illustration, and they are all beautifully rendered and well-chosen. The line "Thine alabaster cities gleam/Undimmed by human tears" is set on perhaps the most beautiful painting of the twin columns of light in NYC that I have ever seen. (If I hadn't planned these copies as gifts for kids here and abro
Megan Nelson
This book was inspired by the poem "America the Beautiful" written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893. Katharine Lee Bates was traveling to Colorado from Cape Cod, and while she was in Colorado, she went to Pikes Peak, and it was there that she got the inspiration to write the poem (which is now a song). On her journey to Colorado, Katharine saw many beautiful places, and took notes on everything she saw; which is how we have the song "America the Beautiful".
I really liked this book! I didn't know
Peggy Archer
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful illustrations accompany the words to 'America the Beautiful' in a moving tribute to one of our nations most beloved patriotic songs. In the introduction, the illustrator tells us that 'The paintings in this book are the images that come to my mind when I sing the words.' Back matter tells the reader more about the author of the words in the song and how she came to write them, and more about the composer who wrote the melody that accompanies the words. An illustrated glossary tells abo ...more
I like the pictures and parts of history the illustrator chose to portray for different lines of this familiar song. I'm looking for patriotic books for preschool storytime--I've never done an America one before. But I may have to pass on this because I'll probably start crying on the 3rd verse. Especially with the inclusion of an illustration for 9/11/01.

7/2/14 I tried this as the opener. It worked well because with some illustrations I had the kids tell me what they saw and asked if they did t
Marcie Master
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
This poem is a prime example of the power of poetry on readers of all ages, races, and backgrounds. As the tune is read, sung, or hummed, each of us is able to develop in our minds an idea of what the lyrics represent for us. Although this book attempts to create the author's vision of the lyrics, the true meaning of poetry lies in the individual experiences we associate with the text as it is being read. There are no right or wrong connections, only diverse ideas that are as vast as the poem it ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this with my 7yo for school. I always loved the song and the pictures are beautiful. She asked me to read it again right after finishing it the first time. :-)
Lisa Overberg
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This would be a great book to pair with a history lesson on the United States. All the illustrations are of places throughout the country and are labeled in the back of the book. There is also a brief history on Katherine Bates and Samuel Augustus Ward. Katherine wrote the poem and Ward wrote the melody that was paired with her poem.

Interest Level: PK-3
Grade Level Equivalent: 2.9
Lexile Measure: Not Available
DRA: Not Available
Guided Reading: Not Available
Oct 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Poetry. CIP Summary: "An illustrated edition of the nineteenth-century poem. later set to music, celebrating the beauty of America.

This might be a good book to read around Thanksgiving to celebrate our "coming to America." I really liked the illustrations. Basically, this book is an illustrated form of the song. The song and music is in the book. Appropriate for third grade and younger.
This book includes the lyrics to the song "America the Beautiful." On each page there are a few words from the traditional patriotic song as well as gorgeous illustrations. I can remember as a kid learning this song but I don't ever remember learning about the meaning behind it. Teaching students about some of the words that are in this song would be a great way to introduce new vocabulary.
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book illustrates the poem/hymn "America the Beautiful." I enjoyed the illustrations except that I did not like to see some of our slave-owning forefathers depicted as heroes (a picture of Mt. Rushmore illustrates "O Beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife, Who more than self their counrty loved, And mercy more that life!).
Gabrielle Mcintire
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks
I love this book!!! It is a great way to present the song America the Beautiful to students because they can correlate text and pictures together. This would be a great book to use in history. The pictures show a lot of wonder and awe.
America the Beautiful is one of our best songs about our country and in this simple book of photographs, the words are given. I have used it with my preschool children to start a history and geography lesson about all the various places in our beautiful country. We also learn the song.
Beautiful illustrations complement the lyrics from Bates' America the Beautiful. I also appreciated the foreword that told why Waldman decided to create this book. The end includes short notes on each of the locations shown in his paintings.
The illustrator, Chris Gall, is the great-great-grandnephew of the author, Katherine Lee Bates. Although the poem and the illustrations are in the heroic, idealistic mode,
the song and lyrics still stir a sense of awe and wonder in me, and the illustrations are topnotch.
Rebecca Dean
This book would be good in the classroom while celebrting America. This would also be good to read while having the song play in the background, this way the students will be able to see what they are singing about in the song.
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kiddos
Beautiful illustrations. It's hard not to sing along with the words to the song. My little ones really wanted to know all about the pictures. It was a very engaging read. I also love how he explains the different illustrations in the back of the book.
An illustrated edition of the nineteenth-century poem, later set to music, which celebrates the beauty of America.
I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find one near you:
I loved the explanations of each illustration in the back. America is beautiful!
Feb 09, 2016 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boooks
thank you
Garrett Ellis
Awesome illustrations! Would be great for a patriotism section within a history lesson! Illustrations could be used for history lessons themselves!
Rocco Julian
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shows incredible images and and song lyrics!
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous illustrations.
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