Reading Around the USA: 50 Books for Kids from 50 States

Reading Around the USA: 50 Books for Kids from 50 States


My Name Is America: The Journal Of Biddy Owens, Birmingham, Alabama, 1948
Biddy Owens is the batboy for the Birmingham Black Barons, one of the best teams in the Negro Leagues. With a supporting cast of characters that includes some of the greatest players ever, Biddy¹s story covers the games, the grueling road trips, racial segregation, and day-to-day life in Birmingham during this pivotal time in American history.


The Adventures of Balto: The Untold Story of Alaska’s Famous Iditarod Sled Dog
Balto, the great Alaska sled dog, still stands larger-than-life on Dogdom’s Mount Olympus. Yet few people know Balto’s true story. Only one small part has been told, and even it has been distorted. Balto was only 3 years old when he helped carry serum across Alaska to save the town’s children from diphtheria. As leader of the last dog team in the life-saving relay race, he became an overnight sensation – a BONEa fide international celebrity. But much more happened after that. Balto lived for eight more years. His days unfolded like a sled expedition to the North Pole.


Wright on Time, Book 1: Arizona
Announcing Book #1 in the first series about a homeschooling family. The Wrights travel the USA in an RV. Each month brings them to a new state with a new educational theme to explore and play with. They prove that learning can happen all the time, anywhere, and that being with family is fun! Meet Aidan, age 7: Boisterous and joking all the time, this sporty boy knows how to have fun! Meet Nadia, age 11: Curious and fiery, this intellectual girl can always find out answers to even the most difficult questions. Meet their parents: Harrison, a writer and linguist expert, and Stephanie, a telecommuting computer expert; ready to adventure with their children.


Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of Arkansas
Arkansas has long been a land rich in history and lore, and few of the events associated with The Natural State are more compelling and provocative than those associated with lost mines and buried treasures. Within these pages, award-winning author W.C. Jameson has captured and interpreted the most complete collection of these rich and varied stories of lost treasure.


By the Great Horn Spoon!
In this rollicking adventure set during the California Gold Rush, Jack’s aunt is forced to sell her beloved mansion to meet her debts. She is still unable to raise enough money to pay her creditors, and twelve-year-old Jack goes to California in search of gold to help her. Joined by his trusty butler, Praiseworthy, Jack finds adventure and trouble at every turn. Will Jack strike gold in San Francisco or come home empty-handed?


Down the Colorado: John Wesley Powell, the One-Armed Explorer
Although John Wesley Powell’s minister father always wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, young Wes had different plans for his future. Enraptured by the wonders of the natural world, he was determined to take the path of science. Even after losing his right arm below the elbow in battle during the Civil War, Wes would not be deterred from his dream of leading the first scientific expedition down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon. Braving treacherous rapids and perilous waterfalls, Major Powell would surpass all expectations and return home a national hero.


The Moffats
Meet the Moffats. There is Sylvie, the oldest, the cleverest, and-most days at least-the responsible one; Joey, who though only twelve is the man of the house…sometimes; Janey, who has a terrific upside-down way of looking at the world; and Rufus, who may be the littlest but always gets in the biggest trouble. Even the most ordinary Moffat day is packed with extraordinary fun. Only a Moffat could turn mistakes and mischief into hilarious one-of-a-kind adventure.


The Last of the Mohicans
A fascinating adventure story, grounded in American history. As the French and Indian war rages, the two daughters of a British officer prepare to return home. But when, Cora, Alice, and the soldiers who guard them are betrayed by their Native American scout, their safety depends on wily forest tracker Hawkeye and his friends Chingachkook and Uncas—the last of the Mohicans.


Because of Winn-Dixie
The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.


My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Mother Dear, one day I’m going to turn this world upside down.” Long before he became a world-famous dreamer, Martin Luther King Jr. was a little boy who played jokes and practiced the piano and made friends without considering race. But growing up in the segregated south of the 1930s taught young Martin a bitter lesson — little white children and little black children were not to play with one another. Martin decided then and there that something had to be done. And so he began the journey that would change the course of American history.


Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy
Any person who leaves the country to go to another and later returns will be put to death. This was the law in Japan in the early 1800s. When fourteen-year-old Manjiro, working on a fishing boat to help support his family, was shipwrecked three hundred miles away from his homeland, he was heartbroken to think that he would never again be able to go home. So when an American whaling boat rescued him, Manjiro decided to do what no other Japanese person had ever done: He went to America, where he received an education and took part in events that eventually made him a hero in the Land of the Rising Sun.


West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi, New York to Idaho Territory
The first humorous book in the Dear America series follows an Italian girl’s immigrant family as they move from New York City to a utopian community in the frontier West.


DK Biography: Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, led the nation through its darkest hour-the Civil War. Find out about Lincoln’s childhood on a frontier farm, how a struggling small town lawyer became president, and why he became one of America’s most revered leaders. In this groundbreaking new series, DK brings together fresh voices and DK design values to give readers the most information-packed, visually exciting biographies on the market today. Full-color photographs of people, places, and artifacts, and sidebars on related subjects add dimension and relevance to stories of famous lives that students will love to read.


The Bears of Blue River
The Bears of Blue River follows the adventures of a young boy named Balser Brent. Brent loves hunting wild animals. He is especially passionate about hunting bears The mischievous Balser spends most of his time in the forest, finding himself in many dangerous situations, often of his own devising.


Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Iowa Story
What happened next in the Little House series? William Anderson’s research and writing helps fill in the gaps of the famous pioneer family story, which has been loved for generations. This is the definitive book of facts about Laura’s time in Burr Oak, Iowa. This book tells about how the Ingalls family came to Burr Oak, what their time in Burr Oak was like, as well as providing an account of the restoration of the Master’s hotel and information on other Ingalls ties to Iowa. If you want the complete account of Laura’s time in Burr Oak, this is the book to read.


Prairie Skies: Cabin in the Snow
When Charlie and Papa arrive in Lawrence for supplies, they find the bustling Kansas town threatened by border ruffians from proslave Missouri. Papa decides to remain behind with other free-soil settlers to defend the town, so Charlie must drive the wagon back to the family’s isolated claim by himself. At home a different sort of storm is brewing — gray skies, bitter cold, and vicious winds warn that a prairie blizzard is coming. Charlie is always getting into trouble for daydreaming and forgetting his chores. Now he has to show he’s grown-up enough to help Momma, his sisters, and his newborn baby brother survive in their tiny cabin in the snow.


Daniel Boone: Young Hunter and Tracker (Childhood of Famous Americans)
Recreates the early life of the frontier hero who blazed a trail through the Cumberland Gap and led the first white settlers into Kentucky.


Lorenzo And the Turncoat
In Lorenzo Bannister’s latest adventure, he is living in New Orleans and working as a medical doctor. Lorenzo is finally happy and at peace after working for the Continental Army. But his happiness is short lived. A hurricane sweeps through New Orleans, leaving the town severely damaged. Frantic with fear and worry, Lorenzo searches the flooded, demolished city for his fiancée. Once again, Lorenzo finds himself on a dangerous mission, this time in desperate pursuit of his fiancée while waging war on the Redcoats.


The Sign of the Beaver
Although he faces responsibility bravely, thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt realizes he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself When Matt meets Attean, a boy in the Beaver clan, he begins to better understand their way of life and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier. Elizabeth George Speare’s compelling survival story is filled with wonderful detail about living in the wilderness and the relationships that formed between settlers and natives in the 1700s.


Goliath: Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire
Though not as well known as the Great Chicago Fire, the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 was one of the most destructive in U.S. history. This is the true story of a huge horse from Engine Company 15. Goliath bore the full brunt of an explosion and then heroically pulled an entire fire rig to safety by himself. The text builds suspense as it traces the path of the fire, ending with Goliath’s scarred but triumphant return to his post six months after the fire.  Exciting, historically accurate, and visually appealing, this book is an excellent addition to the pleasure-reading pile.


Three Young Pilgrims
When Bartholemew, Remember, and Mary Allerton and their parents first step down from the Mayflower after sixty days at sea, they never dream that life in the New World will be so hard. Many in their Plymouth colony won’t make it through the winter, and the colony’s first harvest is possible only with the help of two friends, Samoset and Squanto. Richly detailed paintings show how the pilgrims lived after landing at Plymouth, through the dark winter and into the busy days of spring, summer, and fall. Culminating with the excitement of the original Thanksgiving feast, Three Young Pilgrims makes history come alive.


Brothers of the Heart: A Story of the Old Northwest
Shem, 14 years old and lame from birth, has traveled westward from Detroit to settle with his family in Millfield, a new town on the edge of the Michigan frontier. Frustration at not finding work and a falling-out with his father cause Shem to run away from home and look for a job in Detroit. As a clerk in a trading company, he is chosen to accompany a trading expedition into the wilderness. Separated from the traders during a storm, he encounters an Indian woman, Mary Goodhue, who teaches him the skills of wilderness living and, more importantly, teaches him to cope with his weaknesses and develop his strengths.


Farmer Boy Goes West (Little House, Big Adventure)
Almanzo Wilder is going west! He and his family are moving all the way from their cozy farm in Malone, New York, to the bustling town of Spring Valley, Minnesota. Almanzo can’t wait to explore, but life in Spring Valley isn’t what he expected. The Wilders have to stay with relatives in a small, cramped house where Almanzo’s aunt Martha is cold and unfriendly. Almanzo longs for the freedom he had back home, and he especially misses his horse, Starlight. Even as he makes new friends at school and helps his father pick a plot of land for the family to settle on, Almanzo can’t help but wonder: Is Minnesota the right place for the Wilders? Or do they belong in New York?


The Mystery on the Mighty Mississippi (Real Kids, Real Places)
Some call it the mightiest river in the land. We call it a GIGANTIC history lesson! INCLUDES: A chapter guide of additional information, trivia, historical facts, and more to help teachers be “experts” on earthquakes, the Natchez Trace, and more! Activity ideas that make the book come dramatically to life for young readers! The author’s additional comments and thoughts about zydeco, alligators, and more! Additional information on Mark Twain, the Mississippi River, and more! Reproducible activities for math, science, geography, english, and much more! Great out-of-the-box ideas like stick puppets, edible rafts, and much more!


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
“Tom Sawyer liked adventures, which means he was always getting in trouble.” Searching for treasure, witnessing a murder, getting caught in a bat cave, tricking others into doing his work, running away with Huckleberry Finn–Tom Sawyer’s antics and mischief-making are sheer, child-pleasing delight. Every boy and girl should experience the joy and fun of this classic tale.


First Dog: Unleashed in the Montana Capitol
This award-winning and beautifully illustrated story is told from the point of view of Jag, the real-life Canine Special Assistant to the Governor of Montana. Written for children ages 6 to 12, First Dog is Jag’s story of how a cow dog from a farm in Whitefish—the last pup in the litter—traveled to Helena and became the First Dog. Featuring fun and fascinating information about what a governor does and how Montana government works, First Dog teaches kids that government belongs to them—and shows them that one day they, too, could be sitting at the governor’s desk.


Night of the Twisters
When a tornado watch is issued one Tuesday evening in June, twelve-year-old Dan Hatch and his best friend, Arthur, don’t think much of it. After all, tornado warnings are a way of life during the summer in Grand Island, Nebraska. But soon enough, the wind begins to howl, and the lights and telephone stop working. Then the emergency siren starts to wail. Dan, his baby brother, and Arthur have only seconds to get to the basement before the monstrous twister is on top of them. Little do they know that even if they do survive the storm, their ordeal will have only just begun.


The Last Stubborn Buffalo in Nevada
Nothing about Nathan T. Riggins’ young life is dull. He’s always finding himself in one crazy situation after another–from the time he buys a buffalo for a dollar to his run-ins with bushwhackers, bank robbers, and a bobcat. But through every situation, Nathan knows two things for certain: his friends will be there to help when they can, but more importantly, God is always looking out for him. So journey back to the Old West in these fast-paced tales where adventure lurks behind every tumbleweed, and discover along with Nathan the importance of telling the truth, being faithful, and trusting in God.

New HampshireNew Hampshire

The Trouble with Jeremy Chance
Set in New England just as troops are returning from World War I, this is a classic American coming-of-age story. Curious and impulsive, 12-year-old Jeremy is always getting into trouble. This time, after an argument with his father, Jeremy decides to run away to Boston to meet his older brother’s troop ship. Jeremy’s adventures — and misadventures — provide plenty of opportunities for him to use his common sense and determination, from his train trip through rural New Hampshire to his wide-eyed explorations of Boston upon his arrival there.

New JerseyNew Jersey

The Fighting Ground
April 3, 1778. He may be just thirteen, but Jonathan knows he’s ready to go to the war against the British. He can handle a gun. He yearns to battle for glory, just like his brother and cousin. So when Jonathan hears the tavern bell toll, calling men to fight, he runs to join them. He doesn’t realize that in just twenty-four hours, his life will be forever altered — by the war, by his fellow soldiers, and by the terrible choices he must make.

New MexicoNew Mexico

The Day It Snowed Tortillas
In the title story, a very clever woman saves her silly husband from a band of robbers. She makes the old man believe it snowed tortillas during the night! In another story, a young boy gladly gives up all of his wages for good advice. His parents think he is a fool, but the good advice leads to wealth and a royal marriage. The enchantment continues in story after story—a clever thief tricks a king for his kingdom and a prince finds his beloved in a house full of wicked step-sisters. And of course, we listen again to the ancient tale of the weeping woman, La Llorona, who still searches for her drowned children along the riverbanks.

New YorkNew York

Roundup of the Street Rovers (Trailblazer Books)
For Kip O’Reilly, life on the streets doesn’t seem all that bad. At least he and the other rovers have each other, and that’s more than enough to keep them happy–well, as long as they can steal to survive. Just selling newspapers doesn’t quite cut it. When Kip is finally caught stealing one morning, he’s sent to jail. Fortunately for Kip, Rev. Brace of the Children’s Aid Society bails him out, but only on the condition he comes to live at the Boys’ Lodging House and starts earning an honest wage. When the opportunity comes for the children at the society to head west on the “orphan train” in search of families to take them in, Kip is on board.

North CarolinaNorth Carolina

The Mystery of the Lost Colony (Real Kids! Real Places!)
Mimi tells Christina and Grant a mystery story about North Carolina’s Lost Colony, complete with two boisterous boys, kidnapped coins, a foggy graveyard, a missing friend and a moonlight trip on an old sailing ship! This mystery incorporates history, geography, culture and cliffhanger chapters that keep kids begging for more! Each mystery includes SAT words, educational facts, fun and humor, a scavenger hunt and activities.

North DakotaNorth Dakota

The Long Winter (Little House)
The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.


The Boy Who Saved Cleveland
If not for Seth Doan, the city of Cleveland wouldn’t exist today…In 1798, Cleveland, Ohio, was in danger of being wiped out by a malaria epidemic. Based on fact, this book tells the remarkable story of Seth Doan, a young boy whose heroic efforts kept his family and neighbors alive and ultimately put the city of Cleveland on the map.


Beautiful Land: A Story of the Oklahoma Land Rush
Annie Mae and her family set out for Oklahoma where in 1889 there will be a race to claim land, yet Annie Mae feels they will not make it in time and fears her dreams of living on a beautiful piece of land of her own will be gone.


Attack in the Rye Grass: Marcus and Narcissa Whitman (Trailblazer Books)
Perrin Whitman was twelve years old and thrilled to travel by wagon train to Oregon Territory with his missionary aunt and uncle. It was 1843, and life in the wild, unsettled Northwest promised Perrin the adventure he craved—but also the opportunity to witness a fierce and tragic battle for peace and freedom. Upon their arrival in Oregon, Perrin found an immediate friend in the young Indian girl, Shikam, whose brother would later become the famous Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe. Both Perrin and Shikam had the same goal: keep peace between the white settlers and the Indians.


The Madcap Mystery of the Missing Liberty Bell
Ding, Dong! Ding, Dong! When Christina discovers that the Liberty Bell hanging in Liberty Center is a fake, she enlists Grand and two Philadelphia friends to help her find the real one. But time in running out! They have to solve this mystery before the Fourth of July! See if you can crack this mystery. Some mysterious historical characters, including Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Betsy Ross, offer them clues. But are they actors… or are they ghosts? Along the way, the kids are chased by Redcoats, cornered in a creepy old ship, and learn about the birth of the United States! So grab your tri-corn – it’s time for a trip back in time!

Rhode IslandRhode Island

The Art of Keeping Cool (Aladdin Historical Fiction)
Fear permeates the Rhode Island coastal town where Robert, his mother, and sister are living out the war with his paternal grandparents: Fear of Nazi submarines offshore. Fear of Abel Hoffman, a German artist living reclusively outside of town. As Robert watches the townspeople’s hostility toward Hoffman build, he worries about family secret everyone seems to be keeping from him – a secret involving Robert’s father, a bomber pilot in Europe. Can Robert find his own way to deal with the shocking truth about his family’s past?

South CarolinaSouth Carolina

Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye
When Sylvia Freeman moves with her mother from Florida to South Carolina in 1978, she doesn’t know a soul in town. With her mom out working in the pepper fields all day long, the African-American child is on her own and befriends an elderly neighbor. An unlikely best friend for the almost 11-year-old, the 100-year-old woman shares her life and wisdom with the lonely girl, and Sylvia feels special in her presence. The plot thickens when a strange “Mystery Man” arrives and turns out to be her father-and Miz Lula Maye’s long-lost grandson.

South DakotaSouth Dakota

Wright on Time: South Dakota
The Wright family’s homeschooling adventure continues on to South Dakota as their RV hits the road again. The kids wonder what all those motorcycles are doing in the small town of Sturgis. Nadia learns how newspapers are created. Aidan gets to lead the way on a daring round of follow the leader. Prince Pumpkin the Third, their pet turtle, stumbles across something that he probably shouldn’t have. Meanwhile, what startling new secrets of the Time Tuner are revealed? This is the fourth book of the Wright on Time series.


Flaming Arrows (Odyssey Classics)
Chad’s family takes refuge from vicious Chickamauga raiding parties with a desperate group in a wilderness fort. But not every danger is outside the wall.


A Line in the Sand: The Alamo Diary of Lucinda Lawrence (Dear America Series)
In the journal she receives for her twelfth birthday in 1835, Lucinda Lawrence describes the hardships her family and other residents of the “Texas colonies” endure when they decide to face the Mexicans in a fight for their freedom.


The Great Brain
J. D. idolizes his older brother Tom, a.k.a. The Great Brain, a silver-tongued con artist with a genius for making a profit. No matter what the situation, The Great Brain will always find a way to turn it to his advantage–usually, his financial advantage. As boys growing up at the beginning of the 1900s, J. D. and Tom have plenty of scope for their adventures. And while J. D.’s ingenuity may not equal his conniving brother’s, as a narrator he is endearingly sympathetic and wildly entertaining.


Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys
In the summer of 1777 the small town of Bennington, Vermont, was roused in the middle of the night. The British redcoats were on their way to take the supplies stored near Bennington! Nine-year-old Aaron Robinson pictured himself bravely running through the lines with messages for the generals, or heroically guarding his grandfather’s tavern, or even taking part in a battle with the Green Mountain Boys. But instead he was told to help his grandfather bake bread for the soldiers. Patricie Lee Gauch tells this Revolutionary War tale based on a true story with simplicity and humor.


With Lee in Virginia
Henty wrote immensely popular children’s books about fictional youngsters who lived in critical periods of history. Here, he focuses on the Civil War as seen through the eyes of a Southern teenager who staunchly supports the rights of slaves but joins Lee’s cavalry and fights for the Confederacy. 15 black-and-white illustrations.


The Seattle Puzzle (The Boxcar Children Mysteries)
The Aldens are on vacation in Seattle! On their first day of sightseeing, they start the day at the Hungry Heart Diner where a mystery falls right into their laps! Benny finds a riddle taped to the bottom of their table.

West VirginiaWest Virginia

Way Down Deep
Although Ruby seemed to just appear out of thin air on the steps of the courthouse on the first day of summer in 1944, no one in Way Down Deep, West Virginia, ever worried too much about where the toddler came from. So even though Ruby can’t help but wonder where she came from, she has led a joyful and carefree life in Way Down Deep, loved and watched over. But when Ruby is twelve, a new family moves to Way Down Deep, and they inadvertently provide enough clues about Ruby’s past that she is able to find her own people. Ruby travels from Way Down Deep to the top of Yonder Mountain to learn who she really is.


Little House in the Big Woods
Laura Ingalls’s story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep.


Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of Old Wyoming
W.C. Jameson takes us on an adventure to the four corners of Wyoming to investigatae tehe Snake River Pothold Gold, the Hallelujah Gulch Robbery Loot, the Lost Treasure of Big Nose George, the Lost Cabin Gold Mine, and twelve other action packed tales. Jameson has written more than 60 books on treasure hunting and served as an advisor to Walt Disney Productions on the National Treasure movies starring Nicholas Cage. An amateur treasure hunter in Texas testified in court that he had found a multi-million dollar lost treasure by using only a copy of one of Jameson’s books and Google Earth for directions.

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  4. Heather

    I just found this link and love the idea! Thank you for doing so much work. My son just loved seeing which ones he’s already read. One little point that I just have to make though is that The Long Winter is not based in North Dakota, but just outside of De Smet, SD. I realize it was all ‘Dakota Territory’ at that point, but the actual location is quite far from the North Dakota border. I can tell you love Little House books (as do we) so thought you might want to know that.

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