3 Books to Honor Memorial Day With Kids and a Free Activity

The school year is winding down. Summer is on its way. Before you break for the summer, set aside some time to honor and remember the brave individuals who died serving the U.S. Military. Memorial Day typically coincides with the end of the school year so you have to be intentional about fitting it into your end-of-year plans. One powerful way to honor Memorial Day with kids is through reading engaging picture books that capture the spirit of remembrance and gratitude. 

The three Memorial Day picture books I will share with you beautifully depict the importance of the holiday. I’ll also share an activity that helps students show what they’ve learned meaningfully.

Memorial Day Picture Book: The Poppy Lady

The Poppy Lady book to teach students about the symbol of Memorial Day

The Poppy Lady tells the inspiring story of Moina Belle Michael. Moina originated the idea of using poppies as a symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers. Readers learn how her determination and compassion led her to create a lasting symbol of gratitude and respect for veterans.

This book is a wonderful introduction to Memorial Day for students because it teaches us how to take action when we want to support important causes. 

Informational text to help teach about the origin of the poppy as the symbol of memorial day with kids

After reading this inspiring story, extend the learning of the poppy flower. Through the reading of a quick informational paragraph, students will learn how the poppy flower became the national emblem of remembrance.

Memorial Day Picture Book: The Wall 

The Wall book to teach Memorial Day with kids.

The Wall by Eve Bunting follows a young boy as he visits the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with his father. It powerfully captures the impact of war on families and the importance of honoring those who have served.

What I love about this book is that it’s a heavy subject that is told from a child’s perspective to make it more accessible for young kids. It’s a great tool to anchor a larger lesson on Memorial Day and help students better understand the sacrifices made.

Memorial Day Picture Book: Twenty-One Steps

Twenty-one Steps book to read to kids about Memorial Day

Twenty-One Steps takes the reader on a journey through the ritual of the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. The captivating illustrations and the heartfelt narrative share the importance of remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

This book provides such an immersive experience and really illuminates what it means to honor others. Plus, it’s extremely informative on a subject that kids most likely are not aware of. 

Memorial Day Directed Drawing and Writing Activity

There’s no better way to soak up everything students’ have learned than with reflective exercises. After reading one of the books mentioned above, or any other Memorial Day reads,  indulge students in Memorial Day art and writing. 

Memorial Day Directed Drawing of the poppy flower and writing activity

First, students draw the very special symbol of remembrance—the poppy. Students can easily follow the instructions in the FREE printable below.  Then, students will take a moment to reflect on what they’ve learned about remembering those who served with a writing exercise. 

Find more free directed drawings on my directed drawings page!

Pin the image below to save these books and activity ideas to honor Memorial Day with kids!

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Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


Sample a day of Rooted in Reading with these lesson plans and activities for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar!

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