The Worn-Out Flag

A Patriotic Children's Story of Respect, Honor, Veterans, and the Meaning Behind the American Flag

Children - Picture Book
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 04/20/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Philip Van Heusen for Readers' Favorite

Finally, a children’s picture book that I absolutely loved! In The Worn-Out Flag, Karen Bowen reminds readers of the importance and symbolism of the American flag. Too many have forgotten how important the flag is to our history and that it stands for our freedoms, including the freedom to protest against the flag. You can’t find that freedom anywhere else. Sam and his friend Miguel notice that the flag on the front of Sam’s house is torn. Miguel’s dad is away that weekend for his regular military duties. After his dad returns, the two families have a meal together and decide to hold a retirement ceremony for the damaged flag. They go to a beach where they burn the old flag in a proper ceremony. This is a fantastic book for young people (and not-so-young people) to learn the importance of one of our country’s symbols and how to respect it. I highly recommend this book as a historian.

When I was young, everyone stood for the pledge of allegiance to the flag every morning at school. We were taught how to respect the flag and what it stood for. Today, the flag is often maligned, which is very sad. The Worn-Out Flag instills the importance of the American Flag in young people and educates them about it. This children’s picture book is not just a story but a treasure chest of information about the flag, its history, and proper care. Karen Bowen’s writing enlightens and informs so well that this book is a must-read for every young American. The writing will keep your child’s attention, and the references included will allow them to share a flag retirement ceremony when they need it. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! I believe every K-3 grade student in the USA should have this book read to them every year.

Keith Mbuya

It is the weekend and Miguel wants to play hoops with his best friend Sam. As Miguel fetches Sam from his house, he has to wait for Sam to put up the American flag outside their house. Miguel notices the flag is torn. The flag reminds Miguel of his dad who is a Marine and is away on military duties. After the game, Miguel mentions the torn flag to Sam’s parents. Sam’s parents agree to buy a new flag but in honor of Miguel’s dad. They also plan to hold a retirement ceremony for the flag at the beach the following weekend, when Miguel’s dad would be home. Find out how the retirement ceremony of the flag is done in Karen Bowen’s The Worn-Out Flag: A Patriotic Children's Story of Respect, Honor, Veterans, and the Meaning Behind the American Flag.

Karen Bowen’s The Worn-Out Flag is just what you should be looking for if you love children’s educational picture books. With an interesting plot, Karen ingeniously teaches kids almost everything they need to know about the American flag, briefly diving into its history and significance. The colorful images complement the text, making it easy to follow and understand the story. Karen’s thoughtful choice of words will enrich your child’s vocabulary and enlighten them on important aspects of the nation’s political and military history. There are also details about how to dispose of a worn-out flag, apart from the retirement ceremony. This is the type of book that will spark your child's love of history, helping them respect the military, and instilling a patriotic spirit in them.

Marie-Hélène Fasquel

The Worn-Out Flag by Karen Bowen is a captivating children’s book with different interwoven themes, focusing on the American flag and why young (and not-so-young) Americans should respect it. It is the story of Sam and Miguel, two young friends and their parents. Miguel’s dad is a soldier and the flag represents him fighting for his country when he is away. Unfortunately, one day, as Miguel and Sam were about to put it up, Sam noticed the flag was torn. The two families had a retirement ceremony for the flag, which represents the United States of America.

The Worn-Out Flag by Karen Bowen is extremely moving as it tackles being true to one’s flag. It is beautifully illustrated. The pictures are realistically drawn and the use of subtle colors is excellent. This book is perfect for young children as it describes in simple terms what the American flag stands for, what each part, each symbol, and each color means. For instance, kids will learn that white is for purity, that red represents valor, and that blue corresponds to perseverance and justice. This story will also help their parents (or teachers) teach them about the fifty states, the thirteen colonies, and the unity of the states. But, it is far from being the only theme dealt with. It is also about friendship, patriotism, traditions, respect, family bonds, valor, courage, and selflessness. It is about defending your country, which Miguel understands very well, even if he misses his dad. It is about communication and emotional expression too, as he learns to articulate his feelings to his father. This delightful story and its timeless message will resonate with children and parents alike.