I love the illustrations in the book Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall. Barbara Cooney was the illustrator and I love so much of her work, but haven't even seen a quarter of it as she was very prolific.
Here is a famous quote from her that really speaks to me and how I feel about education:
“I believe that children in this country need a more robust literary diet than they are getting. … It does not hurt them to read about good and evil, love and hate, life and death. Nor do I think they should read only about things that they understand. “…a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” So should a child’s. For myself, I will never talk down to—or draw down to—children.”
Anyway, the story is about a family who works all year long spinning wool, planting in a garden, knitting, harvesting maple syrup, etc, and the first time I read it as an adult (it was published in 1979 I believe) I cried.
Here is the only thing I could find that is rather patriotic looking around my house...my vintage Hazel Atlas milk glass red & white striped mugs! I collect these and now have a lovely set of six. I just adore the bright red and white pattern. They look festive twice a year, for the 4th of july as a flag and during Christmas as a candy cane, but I use them year round.