I Pledge Allegiance

I Pledge Allegiance by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez


  • CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children’s Book Center), 2015
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, NCSS/CBC, 2015
  • Denver Public Library’s Best & Brightest Children’s Books, 2014
  • Texas Institute of Letters Denton Record-Chronicle Award, 2015
Libby and photo of Lobo

Libby with Aunt Lobo.

More about Lobo from Pat. Video provided by
WETV’s ¡Colorín Colorado!.
Pat & Pledge illustrator Patrice Barton.

Pat & Pledge illustrator Patrice Barton.

Reading Rock Stars visit

Students at Ortega School in Austin Texas created self-portraits after studying the art in I Pledge Allegiance.

Pat and Libby

Pat and her daughter, Libby Martinez.

I Pledge Allegiance
By Pat Mora and Libby Martinez
Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Download the Educator Guide, aligned with CCSS
Download a hi-res jpeg of the book jacket.
Available as an e-book:    For Kindle    For Nook
Read the press release

Libby’s great aunt, Lobo, is from Mexico, but the United States has been her home for many years, and she wants to become a U.S. citizen. At the end of the week, Lobo will say the Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony. Libby is also learning the Pledge this week, at school—at the end of the week, she will stand up in front of everyone and lead the class in the Pledge. Libby and Lobo practice together—asking questions and sharing stories and memories—until they both stand tall and proud, with their hands over their hearts.

Read a short interview with Pat and Libby about writing I Pledge Allegiance on the Random House blog.

Read a nice article from emissourian.com about celebrating the Fourth of July with I Pledge Allegiance.

Read a review of the book from NAEYC’s Young Children magazine.

Patrice Barton’s illustrations from the book have been chosen for Original Art, the Society of Illustrators’ annual juried exhibition celebrating the fine art of children’s book illustration.

Read a thoughtful opinion essay inspired by I Pledge Allegiance in The Monitor (Texas).

Highlighted Reviews
"Libby and her Great Aunt Lobo are learning the Pledge of Allegiance at the same time—but for different reasons. Lobo is practicing it in order to become a citizen of the United States. She is proud of her Mexican heritage but is also grateful to be in America. In school, Libby has been chosen to lead her class in saying the pledge. Lobo and Libby decide to practice together at home and talk about what it means to both of them. The pencil and digitally painted illustrations have a watercolor softness that shows the deep warmth and closeness between niece and aunt. The characters are endearing, rendered primarily in shades of blue. The story will help young children become more thoughtful about this common daily recitation. Sprinkled with Spanish words, this gentle book explores what it means to be an American from the perspective of both a child and new citizen."—School Library Journal

"On Friday, Mom and I will go with…great-aunt [Lobo] to a special place…[where] she will say the Pledge of Allegiance and…become a citizen of the United States,” exclaims Libby, the young narrator of this family story. Libby vows to practice saying the pledge with Lobo in the week leading up to the ceremony, providing an easy opportunity for the authors to integrate both lines of the pledge and discussions of its meaning into the text. Likewise, the inclusion of Spanish text not only introduces readers to potentially new vocabulary words but it also helps them understand the importance of Lobo’s Mexican heritage as well as her American citizenship. Barton’s warm, mixed-media illustrations echo the warmth in Lobo’s words: “This country is like one big family…that works together to take care of the people who need help.” An authors’ note adds more personal connections as well as a few lines of historical background about the pledge."—Booklist

"It goes without saying that immigration is a hot-button political issue at the moment. Mora’s new book sidesteps the politics in this story of a girl named Libby and her great-aunt Lobo. The older woman has passed her citizenship exam and is about to attend a naturalization ceremony. Libby is studying the Pledge of Allegiance in her class, and is both excited and slightly nervous to lead the class in the pledge prior to her great-aunt’s big day. This book succeeds in not only explaining the Pledge of Allegiance but also the reasons that her great-aunt chose to immigrate to the U. S. An author’s note reveals that Lobo is a real person—Mora’s aunt, who became a U. S. citizen in the 1970s. This title encapsulates what all the books in this column are about when Lobo says, “I am proud to be from Mexico and to speak Spanish and English.” This is an essential purchase."—School Library Journal

"An intergenerational ode to a positive United States immigration experience. Libby is proud of her great-aunt Lobo (which means “wolf” in Spanish), who has just passed the United States citizenship test. On Thursday, Libby will lead her class in saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and on Friday, Lobo will recite the pledge to officially become a U.S. citizen. Lobo and Libby practice together, and Lobo shares her story…Lobo’s nostalgic recounting of her immigration experience pairs well with Barton’s soft pencil sketches…Intertextual historical facts make this book a shoo-in for social-studies units on the United States. "—Kirkus Reviews

"Drawing from family history, Mora (The Beautiful Lady) and her daughter Martinez tell the story of a girl named Libby, whose 80-year-old Mexican-born great-aunt, Lobo, becomes a U.S. citizen. Libby proudly announces to her class that Lobo passed her citizenship test and will soon recite the Pledge of Allegiance at her swearing-in ceremony. Since Libby’s class is also learning the pledge, her teacher offers a bit of background information, noting that its author, Francis Bellamy, “hoped that girls and boys would promise to be good citizens.” Libby and Lobo practice the pledge together, and Lobo offers a poetic response to Libby’s question about why she wants to become a citizen; after she arrived in the U.S. as a child, “the American flag—red, white, and blue—wrapped itself around me to protect me.” Barton’s (The Invisible Boy) digitally painted pencil sketches have a soft, smudgy quality with a pink-and-pale-blue palette that echoes the colors of the American flag. Spanish words appear occasionally, in keeping with the melting-pot theme, and Barton’s art easily conveys Libby and Lobo’s loving rapport."—Publishers Weekly

"Not only does I Pledge Allegiance reference the Pledge numerous times so children can learn it along with the characters in the story, but it also shows the importance of patriotism and family bonds. Often times, I think we take things for granted in today’s society, and this little book reminds parents and kids alike how fortunate we are to live in this country."—Booking Mama blog

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