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Best Books Set in All 50 States

Every state is known for something. Work your way through the list of the Best Books Set in All 50 States.

Why Study All 50 States

Creating a state unit study is a great way to explore and learn about a particular U.S. state in-depth. Whether you’re a teacher planning a classroom unit or a homeschooling parent, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a comprehensive state unit study:

1. Select the State: Choose the state you want to study. Consider factors such as your students’ or children’s interests, the state’s historical and cultural significance, or any relevant curriculum requirements.

2. Set Learning Objectives: Define clear learning objectives or goals for your unit study. What do you want your students or children to know or be able to do at the end of the study? These objectives will guide your lesson planning.

3. Gather Resources:

  • Books and Websites: Collect books, websites, and other resources about the state. Look for both non-fiction books and fiction that is set in the state or reflects its culture.
  • Maps and Atlases: Obtain maps and atlases to help students understand the state’s geography, including its cities, landmarks, and topography.
  • Museums and Exhibits: If possible, consider visiting museums, exhibits, or historical sites related to the state.

4. Curriculum Topics:

  • Geography: Study the state’s geography, including its physical features, climate, and natural resources.
  • History: Explore the state’s history, including Native American heritage, early settlers, important events, and key historical figures.
  • Culture and Society: Investigate the state’s culture, traditions, demographics, and significant contributions to the nation.
  • Economy: Learn about the state’s economy, major industries, and trade.
  • Government: Understand the state’s government structure and key political figures.
  • Natural Environment: Examine the state’s flora, fauna, and environmental conservation efforts.
  • Famous Landmarks: Highlight notable landmarks, such as national parks, monuments, and historic sites.

5. Plan Lessons and Activities:

  • Design a series of lessons and activities based on your learning objectives. These can include readings, discussions, hands-on projects, and field trips if feasible.
  • Create lesson plans that incorporate various subjects like social studies, geography, history, science, and language arts.
  • Engage students with interactive activities like creating state maps, researching famous individuals from the state, or preparing traditional state dishes.

6. Interactive Projects:

  • Encourage students to work on projects, such as creating a state report, building a diorama of a famous landmark, or putting on a presentation about a significant event in the state’s history.

7. Field Trips: If possible, plan field trips to state-related sites, museums, or cultural events to provide real-world experiences.

8. Assessment and Evaluation: Develop assessments to gauge students’ understanding and retention of the material. Assessments can include quizzes, reports, or oral presentations.

9. Culminating Event: Conclude the unit study with a culminating event, such as a state fair, where students can showcase their projects and what they’ve learned.

10. Reflect and Adjust: After completing the unit study, reflect on its effectiveness. What worked well, and what could be improved? Use this feedback to adjust and enhance future state unit studies.

By following these steps, you can create a comprehensive state unit study that engages students or children and provides them with a deeper understanding of the chosen state’s geography, history, culture, and more.


Best Books Set In All 50 States

Alabama

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks

The Keepers of the House: Pulitzer Prize Winner by Shirley Ann Grau


Alaska

The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah

RELATED:  Best Books Set in Kentucky

Two Old Women by Velma Wallis

Alaska by James A. Michener

The Call of the Wild by Jack London


Arizona

Laughing Boy: A Navajo Love Story by Oliver La Farge

The Bean Trees (Greer Family #1) by Barbara Kingsolver

Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko

The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

In the Heart of the Canyon by Elisabeth Hyde


Arkansas

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

A Painted House by John Grisham

True Grit by Charles Portis

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden


California

East Of Eden by John Steinbeck

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler


Colorado

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The Shining by Stephen King

Centennial by James A. Michener

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson


Connecticut

Last Night at the Lobster: A Novel by Stewart O’Nan

Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts

Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

Dune Road: A Novel by Jane Green

Our Little Racket by Angelica Baker


Delaware

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

And Never Let Her Go by Ann Rule

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez

The Saint of Lost Things by Christopher Castellani


Florida

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Florida by Lauren Groff

Tourist Season by Carl Hiassen


Georgia

Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews

A Good Man Is Hard To Find And Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Color Purple  by Alice Walker

Deliverance by James Dickey


Hawaii

Moloka’i and Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

Honolulu by Alan Brennert

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman

East Wind, Rain by Caroline Paul

 


Idaho

Travelers Rest: A Novel by Keith Lee Morris

Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness by Pete Fromm

Idaho: A Novel by Emily Ruskovich

What Beauty There Is: A Novel by Cory Anderson

The Other Idahoans by Todd Shallat


Illinois

Native Son by Richard Wright

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury


Indiana

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Last Words by Michael Koryta

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

Come and Get Me by August Norman

The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington


Iowa

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert Waller

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf


Kansas

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mr Bridge And Mrs Bridge by Evan S. Connell

Gabriel's Story: A Novel (Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award) by David Anthony Durham

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool


Kentucky

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

The Sugar Maple Grove by John E. Espy

Eden Hill by Bill Higgs

The Patron Saint Of Liars by Ann Patchett


Louisiana

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Cane River by Lalita Tademy

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers


Maine

The Cider House Rules by John Irving

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve


Maryland

The Chesapeake Series by Nora Roberts

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

Tess Monaghan series by Laura Lippman

Kindred by Octavia Butler


Massachusetts

Caleb’s Crossing by  Geraldine Brooks

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

RELATED:  Popular Book Series For Tweens

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman


Michigan

Song of Solomon: A Novel by Toni Morrison

Station Eleven: A Novel (National Book Award Finalist) by Emily St. John Mandel

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

A Mentor and Her Muse by Susan Sage

The Dollmaker by Harriet Simpson Arnow



Minnesota

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund


Mississippi

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

My Dog Skip by Willie Morris

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin


Missouri

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Twenty-Seventh City by Jonathan Franzen

Stoner by John Williams

A Good American by Alex George


Montana

Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling

Wind from an Enemy Sky by D’Arcy McNickle

Montana 1948 by Larry Watson

Swift Dam by Sid Gustafson

The Big Sky by A. B. Guthri


Nebraska

The Prairie Trilogy: O Pioneers!; The Song of the Lark; My Antoniá by Willa Cather

Children Of The Corn by Stephen King

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman

Outside Valentine by Liza Ward


Nevada

Better Luck Next Time: A Novel by Julia Claiborne Johnson

We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride

The Desert Rose by Larry McMurtry

Leaving Las Vegas by: John O’Brien

The Delivery Man by Joe McGinniss


New Hampshire

The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious


New Jersey

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Pulitzer Prize Winner) by Junot Díaz

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Family Life by Akhil Sharma

On the Street Where You Live by Mary Higgins Clark


New Mexico

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Death Comes For The Archbishop by Willa Cather

Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford

The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy

Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade


New York

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Godfather (The Godfather, #1) by Mario Puzo

Firestarter by Stephen King

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer


North Carolina

Where the Crawdads Sing: Reese's Book Club (A Novel) by Delia Owens

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

The Last American Man by: Elizabeth Gilbert


North Dakota

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

The Dakota Trilogy by Debbie Macomber

The Grass Dancer by Susan Power

Paradise Valley by C.J. Box

Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman


Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

Indignation by Phillip Roth

Reading Blue Devils: A Novel by Jon Bennett

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison


Oklahoma

The Grapes of Wrath  by John Steinbeck

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

The Outsider by Stephen King

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

True Grit by Charles Portis


Oregon

Mink River by Brian Doyle

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July


Pennsylvania

Rabbit, Run by John Updike

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

An American Childhood by Anne Dillard

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Made to Break Your Heart by Richard Fellinger


Rhode Island

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Gilded Newport Mysteries by Alyssa Maxwell

The Memory of Running by Russ McLarty

RELATED:  Best Books Set in Kansas


South Carolina

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

Sullivan’s Island by Dorthea Benton Frank

The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe


South Dakota

Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen

The Work of Wolves by Kent Meyers

Black Hills by Nora Roberts


Tennessee

A Death in the Family by James Agee

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

The Firm by John Grisham

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington


Texas

The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

Texas by James Michener

The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr

The Gates of the Alamo by Stephen Harrigan


Utah

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer

Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff


Vermont

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Radio Free Vermont by Bill McKibben

Stranger in the Kingdom by Howard Frank Mosher


Virginia

The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani

The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant

The Known World by Edward P. Jones


Washington

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (National Book Award Winner) by Sherman Alexie

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff


West Virginia

In An Empty Room: A Novel by Stephen Spotte

Snakehunter by Chuck Kinder

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman

The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart by Glenn Taylor


Wisconsin

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskins


Wyoming

Open Season by CJ Box

Ridgeline by Michael Punke

Close Range : Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

Empire of Shadows by George Black

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde


Work your way through the states. Check off every book as you read it and each state as you complete it. Click here to download this printable.


To continue learning, Traveling the States helps you travel to all 50 states in America in a unit study fashion which is appropriate for ALL ages!

If you enjoyed this, I have a monthly membership for parents and educators that want to teach or supplement lessons with shows and movies.

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With Homeschooling with Shows and Movies membership, you will get resources every month, including:

  • List of This Month’s Suggested Themes
  • List of Monthly Observances
  • List Of Movies for Unit Study
  • Unit Study Resource
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  • (BONUSES) Resources for you, the teacher

These resources are worth it if you’d like to easily incorporate shows and movies into your homeschooling.

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