Reston author Audrey Adair holds up her newest release, Patriotic Activity Book for ALL Americans. On the screen is a live shot of her two grandchildren and daughter, Allison Albert, completing a book project.
"Patriotic Activity Book for ALL Americans" (Adair, 2021) is the newly released interactive content book co-authored by Reston composer and former teacher Audrey J. Adair. Co-author, fellow teacher, and graphic artist Leah Solsrud, who happens to be Adair's mother, illustrated the book. The 267-page guidebook is available on Amazon for $12.99 and rated five stars.
According to the author, the book is a resource for parents, teachers, and anyone interested in learning about the United States' heritage of distinct cultural voices. It celebrates democracy and features background information about the United States on three topics, national symbols, patriotic music, and holidays. A wide range of games, crossword puzzles, and trivia appeal to all age groups. The downloadable words and sheet music for familiar patriotic songs add to the content. "Patriotic Activity Book covers important and interesting civic facts that all Americans should know," said the reviewer Angela Iunes of Reston.
Solsrud passed away before the book was published. “I think her legacy as an author and illustrator shines through this comprehensive guidebook, and she would be pleased…All the images are hers," said Adair.
ADAIR styled the book on her "Ready-to-Use Music Activities Kit," established as the all-time best seller for Parker Publishing Company's Music Educators Book Club. "As the project manager, I could see that the topics are up-to-date and have a logical flow, making the stories easy-to-read with engaging activity pages, covering a wide range of abilities," said Project Manager for "Patriotic Activity Book" Walter D. Lazear of Reston.
Adair said she felt compelled to write a book on patriotism after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
According to Adair, she and her mother developed the book's original version to share traditions, customs, and values that protected America's democracy" "We were offered a contract with a release date three years away. But we were disenchanted by that long wait. So, we put the manuscript aside," she said.
It wasn't until 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic that Adair witnessed the country's democracy challenged again. Men and women put their lives on the line to help others. She dusted off the first version, and inspired, returned to the project.
"The topic of patriotism is often neglected or confused…As a result, Americans have a simplistic and sometimes misleading view," writes Adair in her book. In the second version, Adair educates the reader, raising awareness. She adds two holidays, Juneteenth and Native American Day, a quote from President Joe Biden, and a dedication to "true patriots."
"Our country cannot function without the frontline workers… We thank them for their service as we do for our military veterans," Adair writes.
THE WORD patriot expands beyond service members in the Armed Forces and first responders. According to Adair, the circle widens to grocery store employees and teachers who report for work, healthcare workers helping others, and those who lost their lives helping others. Patriots are also individuals who confront the status quo and protest against police brutality and racial disparities. They express distrust of the administration. Patriots are those who help fellow Americans by volunteering, participate in politics, support food banks and protect other citizens and themselves by wearing a mask. And they sing patriotic songs at home.
"I gave this to my three neighbor kids whose parents did not grow up exposed to the richness of American traditions, historical figures, and songs," said Doug Whall, Reston resident.
"I wrote this book so people could learn that Americans could become more knowledgeable. I have a passion for certain topics, and this was one of them," said Adair.