Children’s Corner — Spirit of America series

22 Nov


The Spirit of America series is the brainchild of MaryTherese Grabowksi. She and illustrator, Michelle Graham-Fricks, have created a series for elementary-aged children that focuses on the history of America and the democratic process. Here are a few words from main character, America Johnson:

Hello Patriots!

I’m America Johnson and I am so glad you came to visit- let’s take a patriotic adventure together! Along the way my big brother Sam, my BFF Elisa, my BDF (best dude friend) Ben and of course my sassy dog Liberty will be part of the fun.

We all know READING ROCKS!! We want you to read along and learn things at an earlier age to  prepare for that high school civics class. For example: Do YOU know the official address of The White House? What do you know about our first president? Why should anyone vote? These questions and many more are answered in this series of 25 books to date. 

 How about we have fun too? Learning should never be boring and trust me, you will laugh and learn on our patriotic adventures!

You can learn more about this series at


MaryTherese Grabowski is an award winning former TV journalist. Her years of covering the military, government and politics helped keep civics top of mind for this admitted Air Force brat. Her love of patriotism and talent as an emcee afforded her the opportunity to entertain our troops overseas for 15 years in the Operation Seasons Greetings morale tours. “MT” was the 2009 Spirit of Bob Hope Award nominee for the United States Air Force Reserve.

Patriotism is deep rooted in her soul. The notion to write the “Spirit of America” patriotic children’s book series came about when she asked her young niece, “Can you tell me who makes up The President’s Cabinet?” The response was “Why do I care who makes his furniture?” So, although humorous Grabowski realized we are missing kids at an earlier age teaching them the basics of civics which they are usually taught in tenth grade and that is two years before these students are eligible to vote.

Grabowski and her illustrator Michelle Graham-Fricks are making this a “movement” to educate students earlier on the basics. “If you can take historical events and information and present them through creative story telling you just might hook these kids.”

Grabowski’s main character America Johnson takes young readers on patriotic adventures that are fun and educational. Each book has a quiz at the end helping young patriots to not only be more prepared for that civics class down the road, it gives new birth to patriotic pride that seems to have been lost lately.

Grabowski is available for books signings, readings, speaking engagements and as an emcee.

MaryTherese lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband Bob.

Contact “MT” at:

Check out her Author’s Page on Amazon!

Michelle Graham-Fricks is an eccentric, passionate, magical thinker, and artist that has a diverse background. Another unique quality she possesses is that she remembers distinctly what it is like to be a kid. She was a military kid, but not a typical one. She was taught patriotism and serving others early in life by her father, who is a Vietnam Veteran and further served through the Air National Guard and her mother who was, and still is, a talented homemaker.

She is the oldest of three sisters, so there was always a lot going on in their house. This did not stop Michelle from finding time to sit in her favorite persimmon tree so she could imagine and draw. Then in Kindergarten she heard many, many stories and listened to fairy tales on small records with the turn-along books. She admired the lovely art in those books so much, and loved when the teacher would turn the book to show the illustrations to the class. Then, the teacher had the students write and illustrate their own books, and the drawings would no longer be called drawings but no illustrations!

Years later, in high school, she would do art for many competitions, in every medium, her favorite being bombastic color drawings, however. Then it happened!  Her art mentor told her something very prophetic. He said, “One day, you will be illustrating for children, because your heart is so young. If you don’t, it would be a shame.” What a wise sage.

Michelle lives in Bayside, Texas with her husband Trey and their seven children.

Michelle is available for speaking engagements, artistic presentations, and career day visits.

You can reach her at:


Liberty on The Loose in The White House

Have YOU ever lost YOUR dog before? What is the strangest place you had to look for your dog? If there were ever an adventure to go down in history it should be the day America Johnson lost her dog in The White House! Liberty on the loose in The White House is a fun filled story of Liberty, a sassy Scottie, who just had to break her leash and dash into The White House to check things out. America and her family were excited to be touring The White House on their vacation but now they have to find their dog before they get into trouble. Searching for Liberty was an education for America and her family about the most famous home in The United States and who lives there. Who knew a little pooch could cause so much commotion and laughter at the same time!

To purchase, click HERE.

My Impressions:

In the first book of the series, the Johnson family travels from Middle Georgia to Washington, D. C. to visit historic sites, including the White House. Along for the ride is Liberty, an adventure-loving explorer, who doesn’t hesitate to get up close and personal with off-limits areas. This fun story introduces kids to the home of America’s Presidents. At the end is a quiz to reinforce the facts your child will learn from the story.

Your Vote Counts!

When you are a kid, voting for macaroni and cheese for dinner is just as big a deal as an adult voting for President of The United States! In both cases you want your voice to be heard. Why is it important to vote? In Your Vote Counts America, Johnson learns the hard way that some kids don’t understand why they should speak up. Her dream of running for student council at school turns into an explanation to students about using their voice, making a choice and voting. Believe it or not, sometimes adults don’t understand it either. Ironically, there is a presidential election at the same time as America’s school elections. This helps her Dad explain the similarities in voting and responsibilities. This patriotic adventure will take you through the importance of voting. Even as a kid you get to make decisions. As adults you will be making hundreds of decisions big and small every day. It’s never too early to learn about the importance of voting . . . otherwise you might get something besides macaroni and cheese!

To purchase, click HERE.

My Impressions:

In the second book in the Spirit of America series, Your Vote Counts, America Johnson is running for Student Council. When she finds her fellow students think their vote won’t count, she enlists a teacher to help show that every vote or decision makes a difference. In this book the concepts of voting, democracy, and a republic are simply explained, along with easily understood examples of the importance of voting. Again, at the end of the book, are questions to remind kids of what they have learned.

America by George!

Oh the dreaded history report. How many times have YOU struggled to give a report on someone from U.S. history because your teacher said to make it interesting and memorable? The first President of the United States has never been portrayed as he is in America By George! When America Johnson had a homework assignment to give a memorable report on our first president she thought “I know just what to do to get my class to always remember George Washington!” Some false teeth, a wig and a rap set the stage for this fun filled history lesson. (Yes, you read it correctly –  there is a rap in this story!). America By George! will not only help you remember important facts about our first Prez, it may just have you fine tuning your musical skills for other homework assignments.

To purchase, click HERE.

My Impressions:

America by George! is the third book in the Spirit of America series. America Johnson is eager to share with her history class about the first president of the United States. With a bit of creativity, America tells George Washington’s story in a way that will make it easy for your child to remember facts from his life. Questions at the end of the book reinforce what the story shared.

All the Spirit of America books are fun ways to engage you kids in the history of America and our democratic processes. Currently, there are 5 books in the series, including a patriotic take on Clement Moore’s famous poem entitled The Night Before Christmas in America.


Audience: elementary aged children.

(Thanks to the author for complimentary copies of these books. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


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