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Best Books Set in Virginia

Every state is known for something. As you work your way through the list, don't miss the best books set in Virginia. After that, dive into the world of books, reviews & challenges to keep your reading journey exciting.

Virginia, a southeastern U.S. state, stretches from the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, with a long Atlantic coastline. It's one of the 13 original colonies, with historic landmarks including Monticello, founding father Thomas Jefferson’s iconic Charlottesville plantation.

The Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg are living-history museums reenacting Colonial and Revolutionary-era life.

What themes are in Books Set in Virginia?

Books set in Virginia, like literature set in any region, can explore a wide range of themes. Some common themes found in books set in Virginia include:

1. History: Virginia has a rich historical legacy, from the colonial period to the American Civil War and beyond. Many books set in Virginia delve into its historical events, figures, and the impact of the past on the present.

2. Identity and Culture: Virginia's diverse population allows for exploration of themes related to identity, race, and culture. Books may explore issues of racial identity, cultural heritage, and the evolving tapestry of Virginia's society.

3. Nature and Environment: The natural beauty of Virginia, including the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chesapeake Bay, often serves as a backdrop for themes related to the environment, conservation, and the human connection to nature.

4. Family and Community: Many novels set in Virginia examine the dynamics of family and community life, including both the bonds that unite people and the conflicts that arise within these close-knit groups.

5. Social Issues: Books set in Virginia may tackle various social issues such as poverty, education, healthcare, and social justice, shedding light on challenges and opportunities within the state.

6. Politics and Power: Given Virginia's historical and contemporary importance in American politics, themes related to government, power, and political intrigue are often explored in these books.

7. Love and Relationships: Romantic and familial relationships are recurring themes in literature set in Virginia, reflecting the complexities and joys of human connections.

8. War and Conflict: The American Civil War, with its significant battles fought on Virginia soil, is a common backdrop for stories of conflict, sacrifice, and the impact of war on individuals and communities.

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9. Change and Progress: As Virginia evolves and modernizes, books set in the state may explore themes of progress, urbanization, and the tension between preserving the past and embracing the future.

10. Southern Culture: Virginia's place in the South provides a rich cultural context for exploring themes related to Southern traditions, hospitality, cuisine, and the legacy of the Old South.

These themes are not exclusive to Virginia literature but are often prevalent in stories set in this diverse and historically significant state. The specific themes and their depth can vary widely depending on the genre and focus of each book.

How to Create a State Unit Study for Virginia

Creating a state unit study for Virginia is an excellent way to explore the state's history, geography, culture, and more. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you design a comprehensive and educational unit study:

1. Define Learning Objectives:
Start by establishing clear learning objectives and goals for your Virginia unit study. What do you want students to learn and take away from the study?

2. Select Age-Appropriate Materials:
Choose educational materials, books, and resources that are suitable for the age and grade level of your students. Make sure to include both primary and secondary sources.

3. Explore Geography:
Begin with the geography of Virginia. Learn about its physical features, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Shenandoah Valley. Study the climate, ecosystems, and regions within the state.

4. Historical Timeline:
Create a timeline of Virginia's history, spanning from its Native American origins to colonization, the American Revolution, the Civil War, and contemporary events. Focus on key historical milestones and figures.

5. Notable Figures:
Highlight important historical figures from Virginia, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Maggie L. Walker. Explore their contributions to history and society.

6. State Symbols:
Discover and study Virginia's official state symbols, including the state bird, flower, tree, and motto. Explain the significance and history behind these symbols.

7. Cultural Aspects:
Delve into Virginia's culture, including its music, arts, cuisine, and annual festivals. Learn about the state's role in the development of bluegrass, its rich history of literature, and events like the Virginia State Fair.

8. Literature and Authors:
Explore literature by Virginia authors, including novelists like Edgar Allan Poe and Ellen Glasgow. Discuss their works and contributions to literature.

9. Local Industries:
Investigate Virginia's major industries and economy, including agriculture, technology, manufacturing, and tourism. Discuss how these industries have shaped the state's economy.

10. Natural Resources:
Study Virginia's natural resources, such as agriculture, forestry, and mining. Examine the state's role in environmental conservation and sustainability.

11. State Government:
Learn about Virginia's government structure, including the roles of the governor, state legislature, and judiciary. Discuss the state's significance in early American history.

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12. Field Trips and Virtual Tours:
Plan field trips to historical sites, museums, and cultural centers in Virginia when possible. If physical visits are not feasible, consider virtual tours and online resources.

13. Hands-On Activities:
Include hands-on activities like cooking traditional Virginia dishes, creating art inspired by local artists, or conducting science experiments related to the state's geography and ecosystems.

14. Multimedia Resources:
Utilize videos, documentaries, and multimedia resources to supplement your unit study. Many online platforms and educational websites offer valuable information about Virginia.

15. Assessments:
Develop assessments and activities to evaluate students' understanding and retention of the material. These may include quizzes, research projects, presentations, and creative assignments.

16. Culminating Project:
Conclude the unit study with a culminating project, such as a research paper, a multimedia presentation, or a cultural fair where students showcase what they've learned about Virginia.

17. Reflection:
Encourage students to reflect on their learning experiences, their favorite aspects of the unit study, and any questions they still have about Virginia.

18. Sharing Experiences:
Have students share their experiences and findings with their classmates, parents, or the school community to showcase their knowledge of Virginia.

Customize the unit study to meet the specific needs and interests of your students, and be adaptable in adjusting the curriculum as necessary. A well-rounded unit study can make learning about Virginia an enriching and memorable experience.

Best Books Set in Virginia

The Kitchen House: A Novel
  • Grissom, Kathleen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Kitchen House: A Novel 

Author: Kathleen Grissom

Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of the highly anticipated Glory Over Everything, established herself as a remarkable new talent with The Kitchen House, now a contemporary classic. In this gripping novel, a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate at a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War.

Prodigal Summer: A Novel
  • Great product!
  • Kingsolver, Barbara (Author)

Prodigal Summer 

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

In this beautiful novel, Barbara Kingsolver, New York Times bestselling author of Demon Copperhead and The Poisonwood Bible, weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.

Big Stone Gap: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Trigiani, Adriana (Author)

Big Stone Gap series

Author: Adriana Trigiani

The first novel in the beloved Big Stone Gap series, now a major motion picture written and directed by Adriana Trigiani, starring Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, John Benjamin Hickey, Jane Krakowski, Anthony LaPaglia, and Jenna Elfman.

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This edition features behind-the-scenes bonus material from the film—including photos, excerpts from the script, and favorite recipes from the set.

The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based on a True Story
  • Bondurant, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Wettest County in the World 

Author: Matt Bondurant

Based on the true story of Matt Bondurant’s grandfather and two granduncles, The Wettest County in the World is a gripping and gritty tale of bootlegging, brotherhood, and murder.

The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after.

The Known World
  • Hardcover Book
  • Edward P. Jones (Author)

The Known World 

Author: Edward P. Jones

From National Book Award-nominated author Edward P. Jones comes a debut novel of stunning emotional depth and unequaled literary power

Henry Townsend, a farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, through the surprising twists and unforeseen turns of life in antebellum Virginia, becomes proprietor of his own plantation, as well as his own slaves.

When he dies, his widow Caldonia succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart at their plantation: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love under the weight of slavery begin to betray one another.

Now that you've completed the list of best books set in this state, why not check out some others? Here are the Best Books Set in All 50 States.


Click here to download the printable. It has a list of books in all 50 states including the Best Books Set in Virginia.

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