I really think that the right books are the best part of a reading or writing lesson. I made a couple new units- one for Presidents' Day and 4th of July, and one for Valentine's Day. The lessons are pretty open-ended and allow for differentiation. Then I combed my bookshelves for old favorites, and looked for some newer reads to include on the booklists I have included in each unit. My teaching brain is usually geared toward kids with learning disabilities, autism, and primary grades. My 4-6th graders can finally read these terrific books, and if they think they are too babyish, I have them read to a younger child. We also have a high number of English Language Learners at my school, so many of my units are perfect for those kids.
Here's my Patriotic book list: