HAMILTON FOR KIDS
Watch Hamilton at home with Disney+ ($6.99/month, or $57.50 for 12 months with ratuken cash back) or at stage productions, now back all over the world. This Tony/Grammy/Pulitzer Prize winning hip-hop musical phenomenon lives up to the hype - and is a great way to get the young, scrappy and hungry excited about US history. Here are tips and resources for learning more about the moment and movement.
NEED TO KNOW
* This is a film of the Broadway show production, taking place on stage with a live audience, Lots of close-ups and cool camera angles, but it's all one one set and you can see the actor's microphones and sometime spit.
* There will be a 1 minutes intermission between the acts (but of course you can pause anytime in the 3 hour run time - and no scary line for the bathroom like on Broadway).
* Your kid will probably become obsessed with the soundtrack; there is a clean version available (the one without the explicit label) to avoid being asked 'If Hercules Mulligan says it why can't I?' Same with the amazing Hamilton Mixtape with covers and remixes from top hip-hop, pop & r&b stars. Weird Al's Hamilton Polka is also a must-listen.
* Though two of the F* words are inaudible, there is still half of one in 'Say No To This,' which is about an extramarital affair (nothing graphic, just some clothed making out and sultry singing). The cast is in their underwear for much of the show, but it is Colonial underwear so not much skin.
* A vulgar word for poop is used in 'Right Hand Man,' 'Yorktown' and elsewhere throughout the show. Bastard & whore are used in the intros to act 1 & 2 & 'Winter's Ball' as the true meaning of the words (son of an unmarried woman/unmarried woman who has a son).
* A few characters die by gunshot (and there is a war) and it gets very sad for a few songs.
* Ron Chernow, the author of the Hamilton biography that inspired the musical, was the show's historical consultant and claims it is mostly accurate. Some details and chronology are shifted for dramatic effect- Hamilton never punched a bursar, Angelica had 3 brothers, there aren't records of Burr and Hamilton crossing paths quite so many times, etc.
* Though Hamilton publicly supported abolitionism (at times), the Schuyler family owned slaves and he handled some transactions. Despite his humble beginnings, he could be seen as an elitist who supported property over personal rights.
* The founding fathers were all white and did not rap, and James Madison was actually the shortest president ever at 5'4". Great opportunity to discuss what this creative choice means, why the whites got to make and tell the story, what has changed and what hasn't. See our black culture resources to continue the conversation.
* Read Hamilton and History: Are They in Sync? and A Comprehensive Guide to the Historical Inaccuracies in Hamilton the Musical for more and see cool portraits and docs in the NYLP Hamilton Archive.
Self-published by a mother of young fans, this accessible book provides a song-by-song breakdown of Hamilton explaining what’s happening in kid-friendly language, with musical notes on different styles and motifs, sidebars clarifying key words and ideas, plus fascinating historical footnotes (did you know Angelica’s husband once dueled Aaron Burr?!?). Find answers to lots of common…
This official backstage pass to Hamilton is a must for obsessed tweens, teens & grow-ups. Includes the award-winning libretto, behind-the-scenes photos and interviews, and illuminating footnotes from composer-lyricist-star Lin-Manuel Miranda. Take a peek at notebooks and emails; read interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sondheim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production;…
At 800+ dense (but compelling) pages, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow’s biography that inspired the musical is not for kids, but grown-ups and enterprising teens who do complete it can answer just about any question a young fan might have. Well-written and very thorough, this acclaimed book fleshes out his Caribbean childhood sped through in…
Get an amusing crash course in colonial history (including a saucy King George) in the No More Kings song of catchy Schoolhouse Rock. See the start of the American Revolution in The Shot Heard ‘Round the World and learn the results of the Constitutional Convention in The Preamble.
Teenage reporters James (American) and Sarah (British) cover the American Revolution for Ben Franklin’s newspaper in this lively PBS animated series. Explore a variety of viewpoints and characters (often voiced by celebrities) over 120 episodes that cover 1773-1789. See a compilation of all of Alexander Hamilton’s appearances
The original Revolutionary War musical, filmed in 1972 after a 1969 hit Broadway debut, focuses on the writing and suspenseful ratification of the Declaration of Independence. These founding fathers are much less diverse and less cool than their Hamilton counterparts, but the music is lively, the lyrics witty and Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom sings (euphemistically) about sex with Thomas Jefferson.
Based on the classic historical kids novel about a cocky colonial apprentice turned revolutionary, this 1957 Disney film has one song – ‘Sons of Liberty” – but it’s a great one. Watch Paul Revere’s ride, the Boston tea party, and decisive battles at Lexington and Concord. See excerpts -as well as the charming mouse tale Ben & Me – in Disney Plus’s The Liberty Story.
Ten Dollar Founding Father
Explore how Alexander Hamilton went from being a young immigrant boy to a celebrated American leader and icon. Engaging storytelling, beautiful illustrations and helpful graphics give a fascinating glimpse to this remarkable life. Includes a glossary and thoughtful prompts encourage age-appropriate discussion about challenging topics. Part of a series of chapter book for kids ages…
Written by acclaimed historical biographer Jean Fritz way before Hamilton was trending, this chapter book biography tells of a man of action who was honorable, ambitious, and fiercely loyal to his adopted country.
Learn about most famous duel in American history dramatized by leading nonfiction picture book illustrator Don Brown. Loose, minimally detailed watercolors follow the parallel live as patriots and politicians that led them to their fatal encounter.
In the exciting final installment of Dan Gutman’s action-packed series, four risk-taking friends travel back in time to record the most infamous duel in American history. Once the Flashback Four arrive in 1804 Weehawken, New Jersey, they face a question of historic proportions: Should they capture the tragic details of the duel or try to…
Best of Wives and Best of Women
A stunning picture book biography about Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, Alexander’s extraordinary wife and an important figure in her own right. The letter-writing style of the period tell Eliza’s story before, during and after Alexander with exquisite, thoroughly researched art that mirrors paintings from 18th-century America. A beautiful and informative biography with extensive back matter.
A lyrical picture book biography of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, co-founder and director of the first private orphanage in New York City and wife of founding father Alexander Hamilton gives a thoughtful, historical account of her life beginning with her childhood influences. Ever since she was a young girl, Eliza Hamilton hoped to help people in…
An easy read with adorable art about Founding Mother Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, a spirited girl who grew up to be a strong woman with a big heart and amazing strength of character. Pairs well with Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father.
Include Women in the Sequel
This entertaining, informative, and long overdue homage to the female fighters in the American Revolution by acclaimed novelist and picture-book author Laurie Halse Anderson and charismatic illustrator Matt Faulkner features page after page of superbly researched information and thoughtfully detailed illustrations. Text is broken up to asides and sidebars that can be read according to…
A 13-year-old Black girl saves George Washington’s life is this loosely-based-on-a-true-story adventure. A housekeeper at NYC’s Fraunces Tavern (now a museum) helps her father uncover a plot to assassinate the General. A good intro to talking about race and slavery in colonial America.
Learn about the fascinating lives of Eliza and Angelica Schuyler (and Peggy), their influence on Alexander Hamilton and United States history, and the roles of women in the 1700s-1800s. Features primary sources like maps and letters, intriguing images, interesting sidebars, a glossary, and writings prompts.
Guns and Ships
Be an eyewitness to the American struggle for independence through stunning artwork and photography with straightforward integrated text. Discover how a rag-tag army battled a great empire, plus see the muskets and cannons of the armies, learn how soldiers were drilled, and find out why Yorktown was not the end of the Revolution.
Follow eleven-years-old Nate into an NYC blood-soaked battlefield in this exciting chapter book. When his uncle’s rage forces him to flee the only home he knows, Nate is suddenly propelled toward a thrilling and dangerous journey into the heart of the Revolutionary War. Part of a popular historical fiction series.
Meet French nobleman and American Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette in this installment of bestselling graphic novel series Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. Lots of action, historical facts and humor in this tale of the fighting Frenchman and friend of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. Also check out the first of the series, One…
To Remind You of His Love
The subtile of this rollicking 200+ page book is Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About the American Revolution. What do the most famous traitor in history, hundreds of naked soldiers, and a salmon lunch have in common? They’re all part of the amazing story of the American Revolution. Find interesting anecdotes, close-up narratives filled…
Learn both sides of the story in this engaging and wonderfully illustrated book. Hear alternating perspectives of two enemies, both named George: George Washington, the man who freed the American colonies from the British, and George III, the British king who lost them. Art, text, and first-hand accounts illustrate how history should never be reduced…
Meet England’s King George III in an amusing, anecdote-packed tale that begins as a bashful boy who blushed easily, goes on to his early days as king, and examines his role in the American Revolution – when Americans ceased to think of him as good King George. Fascinating history made accessible for young readers.
You Simply Must Meet Thomas
Renowned artist Maira Kalman uses her wit, wisdom and unique illustrations to explore the fascinating life and interests of the Renaissance man who was our third president. Besides writing the Declaration of Independence and arguing with Hamilton, this energetic man played violin, spoke seven languages and was a scientist, naturalist, botanist, mathematician and architect. His…
Hamilton wasn’t the only one Jefferson fought with. Learn about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Independence-era friendship that went sour with the realities of leading a country. Full of history, humor, brilliant watercolor-and-ink illustrations and important messages about friendship and forgiveness.
This fun-to-read biography of an architect, inventor, musician, farmer, writer, slave owner and third U.S. president unveils the many facets of this founding father’s remarkable and complicated life. Part of a popular series that also has books on Alexander Hamilton, George Washington and the Declaration of Independence.
Who Tells Your Story
This fun encyclopedia of hip-hop royalty features rhythmic, rhyming verse and photographs of styled 3-D clay figures. Learn about Grandmaster Flash, the Beastie Boys, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott and Kendrick Lamar and many more luminaries. Keep a music playing device nearby while reading.
Learn about the development of the first New York theaters and the birth and evolution of the American musical in a lively and engaging chapter book. Get the inside story on favorite stars and shows (including Hamilton) and discover new favorites.
Descriptive writing and vibrant artwork of street parties, break dancing and turntables tell the important story of a hot summer day in 1973 in the Bronx when Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, invented a new kind of music. Making breaks―the musical interludes between verses―longer for dancing led to a new type of music and…
* Read an annotated version of the lyrics for explanations of allusions, metaphors, etc.
* Act out scenes: Example - one person (as Angelica) reads "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Everybody else listens, as if they are hearing this for the time and thinking about what it means to them. Angelica continues - "And when I meet Thomas Jefferson. I'm 'a compel him to include women in the sequel!" Everyone yells 'Work!' Try this with other parts of the Declaration of Independence. Or make up some moves to 'Helpless.' Now do everything exactly backwards and 'rewind.'
* Watch/listen to Lin Manuel's other musical creations Moana, Mary Poppins Returns and In The Heights and compare/contrast. Get a bedtime story from Elizabeth Schulyer/Philippa Soo. And did you know King George is Sven in the Frozens?
* Anytime anyone asks 'What time is it?' respond 'Show time!' Not annoying at all.