10 Inspiring Patriotic Poems About America to Read This Summer (for Kids!)

patriotic poems for kids

Check out this fun collection of famous and lesser-known patriotic poems for kids! 

With many patriotic holidays sprinkled throughout the year, it’s a great idea to have patriotic poems to share with your homeschoolers. 

While some poetry can be difficult for kids to understand, these patriotic poems about America focus on many subjects your kids have likely studied in history. 

Read a few during your homeschool day on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, or as a great summer enrichment on Independence Day or Flag Day, too!

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Please note: All of the poems shared here in their entirety on The Reluctant Homeschool Mama are shared under the use of the public domain. This means that each poem was published before 1927. Publication dates are listed for each poem. 

Famous Patriotic Poems

The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

1814

Written during the War of 1812 on the morning after the battle at Ft. McHenry, Francis Scott Key saw the battered American flag flying high after a long night of bombardment by the British Navy.

Originally published as “The Defence of Ft. M’Henry,” his brother-in-law set it to music, and the poem became our National Anthem.

While we often only sing the first verse, the second and third verses are especially moving!

Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen thru the mists of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;

‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land

Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

star spangled banner

Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Originally published in the January 1861issue of The Atlantic Monthly

This epic poem tells the story of Paul Revere’s ride through Boston and surrounding areas on the night before the first shots were fired in the Revolutionary War.

While there are some significant inaccuracies, this poem can be very entertaining for your kids!

We’ve only included the first, second, and last stanzas here because it’s so long, but you can find the entire poem by clicking on the red title above!

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

paul revere

Related post: 7 Awesome Poetry Picture Books for Kids

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

1883

Native-born New Yorker, Emma Lazarus, wrote this famous poem in an effort to raise money for the construction of the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.

In 1903, a plaque bearing the poem was placed on the inner wall of the pedestal after it was completed.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows worldwide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

statue of liberty

“America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates

First published in 1895, the final version published in 1911

One of the most well-known patriotic songs in the USA was first actually written as a poem called, “Pikes Peak.”

It was set to music and published as “America” for the Fourth of July 1895 edition of The Congregationalist. The poem continued to evolve for the next 16 years, and the version we know today was written in 1911.

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Oh, beautiful for pilgrim feet,

Whose stern, impassioned stress

A thoroughfare for freedom beat

Across the wilderness!

America! America!

God mend thine every flaw,

Confirm thy soul in self-control,

Thy liberty in law.

Oh, beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved,

And mercy more than life!

America! America!

May God they gold refine,

Till all success be nobleness,

And every gain divine.

Oh, beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam,

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

pikes peak

Lesser-Known Patriotic Poems for Kids

“I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman 

1860 in his book, Leaves of Grass

Although this poem was published just before the onset of the Civil War, it describes the harmony of the citizens of the United States as they engage in their varied types of work.

See if your kids can listen for all of the different types of people mentioned in the poem!

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

constitution

“Concord Hymn” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

1837

This poem was written for the dedication of an obelisk on the Fourth of July in Concord, Massachusetts in 1837.

The obelisk commemorates the Battle of Concord, which was one of the very first skirmishes during the onset of the American Revolution in 1775.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

bridge at concord

“Voluntaries” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Published in The Atlantic Monthly, October 1863

This poem was written to memorialize Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who had taken command of one of the first African-American enlisted regiments, and was killed on the hills of Fort Wagner with many of his men and officers.

In an age of fops and toys,

Wanting wisdom, void of right,

Who shall nerve heroic boys

To hazard all in Freedom’s fight –

Break sharply off their jolly games,

Forsake their comrades gay

And quit proud homes and youthful dames

For famine, toil, and fray?

Yet on the nimble air benign

Speed nimbler messages,

That waft the breath of grace divine

To hearts in sloth and ease.

So nigh is grandeur to our dust,

So near is God to man,

Whey Duty whispers low, Thou must,

The youth replies, I can.

soldiers

Related post: 15 Awesome History Book Series Your Kids Need to Read 

“A Nation’s Strength” by William Ralph Emerson

Originally published in 1891in Our Little Kings and Queens at Home and at School.

William Ralph Emerson was a second cousin of the famous American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Ask your kids to listen for what Emerson believes makes our nation strong! Is it wealth or military power? Or is it something else?

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

american flag

Great Washington” by Annette Wynne

Published in 1919 or 1922

Great Washington,

O, to be a worthy son

To you, to hear the clarion call

Of home and country over all,

And to answer it like you,

Standing firm and staunch and true,

Head erect, and facing foe,

Strong in weal and strong in woe,

In my country’s need;

O, to be indeed

A worthy son

To you, great Washington!

Great Patriotic Poetry Books for Kids

Check out these awesome patriotic poetry books for kids! They’re all available on Amazon and would make a lovely addition to your homeschool library!

A Year of Poetry Tea Time: Patriotism by Christine Owens 

Over 200 patriotic poems, not only about American patriotism but other cultures are represented too. Recipes, instructions for authentic tea time, etc. 

Blue Sky, White Stars by Savinder Naberhaus

Award-winning illustrator Kadir Nelson lends his work to this beautiful poetic tribute to the United States and the American flag.

Well-worth the spot on your homeschool bookshelf!

The Star-Spangled Banner (Reading Rainbow Books) by Peter Spier 

On the American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, this book combines the well-known words of our National Anthem with beautiful illustrations.

Final thoughts about these patriotic poems for kids

We hope you’ve enjoyed these patriotic poems and will use them often in your home for homeschool activities and for any patriotic holiday!

If there are any more patriotic poems for kids that you think we need to add to our list, please let us know in the comments below and we will definitely look into it!

Related articles about homeschooling language arts:

27 Awesome Spring Read Alouds for Your Homeschool

29 Fun Winter Read Aloud Books for Kids

25 Fantastic Read Aloud Books for Kindergarteners

Must-Have Books for a Fantastic Homeschool Library

Pin the image below to return to this article in the future!

patriotic poetry for kids

Which of these patriotic poems is your favorite? 

10 Inspiring Patriotic Poems About America to Read This Summer (for Kids!)10 Inspiring Patriotic Poems About America to Read This Summer (for Kids!)10 Inspiring Patriotic Poems About America to Read This Summer (for Kids!)10 Inspiring Patriotic Poems About America to Read This Summer (for Kids!)

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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