*** states arranged in alphabetical order

50 States (1) slide show

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Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks and Jim Haskins (Alabama)
Rosa Parks was an African-American Civil Rights activist. On Dec 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, 42 year old Parks refused to obey her bus driver’s order that she give up her seat to a white passenger. Her actions sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and she became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.
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Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (Alaska)
Author Jean Craighead George went on a trip to Alaska in 1970 to do research for an article for Reader’s Digest magazine. As her plane flew into the airport she saw a young Eskimo girl all by herself out on the tundra. That image was the inspiration for this survival story about a girl experiencing the changes forced upon her culture from the outside.
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The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (Arizona)
This work of historical fiction is set in Judaea in the 1st century in the time of Jesus. The book has received lavish praise for its incredible attention to period and geographical detail. The main character is a young Galilean boy who sees his father and uncle crucified by the Roman army. Author Elizabeth George Speare died at the age of 85 in Arizona in 1994.
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The Pelican Brief by John Grisham (Arkansas)
Though written in 1992, this suspense thriller could easily be torn from today’s headlines. An oil tycoon with powerful political allies wants to drill for oil in a marshland area that is home to an endangered breed of pelicans. Author John Grisham was born in Arkansas. He was a lawyer for 10 years and a member of the House of Representatives for 6 years before becoming a writer.
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A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer (California)
Dave Pelzer suffered one of the most severe documented cases of child abuse in California history. He was starved, stabbed, shoved face first into mirrors, burned over a gas stove and forced to eat the contents of diapers and a spoonful of ammonia by his maniacal, alcoholic mother. His father was apathetic and did not intervene. Only an alert schoolteacher saved David from his horrific plight.
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Bearstone by Will Hobbs (Colorado)
This is the saga of a Native American boy who must confront the last grizzly bear in Colorado. Author Will Hobbs was born in Pittsburgh but his father was in the Air Force and the family moved around a lot. The settings and characters in his stories are all taken from his real life experiences. His wife is a teacher and the main character in this story is based on one of her students.
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The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare (Connecticut)
In 1687, after her grandfather’s death, a young girl named Kit must leave her home in Barbados and go live with her aunt and uncle in Connecticut. On the last leg of her journey a little girl loses her doll into a river and Kit dives in to get it. When she returns to the boat she is met with astonished suspicion because few people could swim at the time and she is accused of being a witch.
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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (Delaware)
Author and Illustrator Howard Pyle was born in Delaware. Known more for his artistic ability than for his writing, he taught illustration at Drexel University and eventually founded his own school of art. His contemporary Vincent Van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother saying that Pyle’s work “… struck me dumb with admiration.”
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Tangerine by Edward Bloor (Florida)
12 year old Paul has a lot on his plate. His family has just moved to Tangerine, Florida, and their new house is infested with termites. He wants to try out for the soccer team but the coach doesn’t want him because he is legally blind. To make matters worse he is constantly compared to his older brother who is a star football player. Things can’t possibly get any worse or can they?
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Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Georgia)
The narrator of this story is a Japanese-American girl named Katie who lives with her family in Georgia. Katie’s best friend is her ever-optimistic, older sister Lynn who taught Katie her first word: kira-kira which means “sparkly or shiny.” As the story progresses Lynn becomes sick and is diagnosed with lymphoma and Katie begins to question whether or not the world really is a bright, shiny place.
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Mind Benders by Neal Shusterman (Hawaii)
This collection of short stories is by turns terrifying, hysterical, thought-provoking and bizarre. The most popular story looks at the consequences of getting on the bad side of a Hawaiian volcano goddess. Author Neal Shusterman’s inspiration for writing came from his 9th grade English teacher who recognized his talents and challenged him to write a new story every month.
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Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Idaho)
Author Edgar Rice Burroughs grew up in Chicago but when he was 16 years old he spent 6 months at his brother’s ranch in Idaho during an influenza outbreak. It was there that he came up with the idea for Tarzan and began to work on this book which first appeared in 1914. Burroughs would go on to write 22 sequels and Tarzan became one of the most popular fictional characters ever.
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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Illinois)
Science Fiction writer Ray Bradbury was born in Illinois in 1920. Written during the 1950’s, this story portrays a disturbing vision of a future America where independent thinking is discouraged and “fireman” burn books. Though often interpreted as a warning about censorship, Bradbury has always insisted that it is more about the effects of TV and mass media on the reading of literature.

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The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (Indiana)
This is the first in a series of 10 books chronicling the story of Mia’s adolescent turmoil as an average teenager and a princess of royal descent. The stories are written in the form of a journal where Mia explores topics of teen angst, love, and betrayal. Published in the year 2000, it was turned into a movie by Walt Disney the following year. Author Meg Cabot was born in Indiana in 1967.
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The Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Iowa)
This is a general science book that explains our current understanding of the universe in everyday language. Author Bill Bryson was born in Iowa in 1951. He wrote this book because he was not happy with the science textbooks he had when he was student. “It was as if the textbook writers were trying to keep the good stuff secret by making all of it soberly unfathomable.”
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Amelia Earhart by Tanya Lee Stone (Kansas)
Amelia Earhart was born in Kansas in 1897. In 1920, her father took her to an airfield and paid $10 for her to take a 10 minute airplane ride. She became obsessed with flying and soon became one of the first women to get a pilot’s license. She set numerous world flying records before disappearing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean in 1937 while trying to fly around the world.
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Sahara – Clive Cussler (Kentucky)
Author Clive Cussler has written over 20 yarns starring Dirk Pitt, a larger than life action hero in the mold of James Bond. In this adventure, Pitt stumbles onto an incredible conspiracy: President Lincoln was kidnapped by the Confederate Army and taken to the Sahara desert as a POW while the “Lincoln” that was assassinated was an actor. The real life Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky.
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Sounder – William Armstrong (Louisiana)
Sounder is a hunting dog, a loyal mutt with a tremendously loud bark. When the sharecropper who has raised him from a pup is hauled off to jail for allegedly stealing a hog, his family is left in dire straits. To make matters worse, Sounder is shot and disappears in the fracas. The sharecropper’s eldest son is forced to grow up quickly in this drama of resilience and hope set in rural Louisiana.
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Carrie - Stephen King (Maine)
Stephen King is one of the best-selling authors of all-time. Over 500 million copies of his books have been sold. He was born and raised in Maine and it is the setting for most of his works. Published in 1974, this is the story of a shy high school girl who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to exact revenge on her classmates who bullied her. This was his debut novel.
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Dicey’s Song – Cynthia Voight (Maryland)
After their mother becomes seriously ill, 13 year old Dicey and her three younger siblings go to live with their grandmother on a rundown farm on the shores of Maryland. Dicey makes new friends and works on refinishing an old boat she finds in the barn but she soon learns one of life’s hardest lessons: you can never run from your past.
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Walden – Henry David Thoreau (Massachusetts)
Published in 1854, this American classic details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built by Walden Pond, not far from Boston, Massachusetts. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
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The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom (Michigan)
Eddie is a wounded war veteran who lives an uninspired and lonely life fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. He is killed on his 83rd birthday trying to save a little girl from a falling ride. He awakes in the afterlife where he learns Heaven is not a location but a place where your life is explained to you by five people whose lives were intertwined with yours. Mitch Albom was a sportswriter in Detroit, Michigan before he started writing books.
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Charles M. Schulz: Conversations – M. Thomas Inge (Minnesota)
Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1922. His comic strip Peanuts, featuring loveable loser Charlie Brown and his dog Snoopy, first appeared in 1950 and quickly became one of the most influential and popular comic strips of all-time. At its peak it appeared in more than 2,600 newspapers in over 75 countries.
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The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (Mississippi)
Author William Faulkner was born in Mississippi in 1897 and that state is the setting for the majority of his works. This novel chronicles the decline of a once noble southern family descended from a Civil War hero. The book is split into four parts each employing a different point of view and a different writing style. The title is taken from a famous soliloquy in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
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How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Missouri)
Author Dale Carnegie was born in Missouri in 1888. Originally published in 1937, it was based on a series of salesmanship and corporate training courses. One of the first self help books ever written, it became an overnight sensation and remains very popular today. One example of his suggestions: “Remember that a person’s name is, to him or her, the most important sound in any language.”
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Soldier Boy by Brian Burks (Montana)
The Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, was a famous example of the inevitable conflicts between western settlers and Native Americans as the U.S. pushed its boundaries further west. It occurred in 1876 in modern day Montana. This is a fictionalized account told from the point of view of a young man who served in the U.S. Cavalry under General Custer.
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The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X and Alex Haley (Nebraska)
Malcolm Little was born in Nebraska in 1925. He became known to the world as controversial Civil Rights activist Malcolm X. This biography is the result of a collaboration between Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley based on a series of in-depth interviews conducted during the mid-1960’s. Haley would go on to even greater fame in the 1970’s when he wrote the slavery epic Roots.
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Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich (Nevada)
In this case what happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas, it’s detailed in this incredible report. 6 college students who went to MIT in Boston took Vegas for millions of dollars in the mid-1990’s. These brilliant college students used their math skills to count cards while playing blackjack. This book was the basis for the 2008 movie 21, famous for the quote, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!”
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A Separate Peace by John Knowles (New Hampshire)
This is a coming of age story about 2 boys and their time together at a prep school in New Hampshire during WW II. Gene is quiet, introverted, and intellectual. Finny is athletic, outgoing, and carefree. Despite being polar opposites they become best friends. But can their friendship survive a growing animosity and a horrible accident?
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Blubber by Judy Blume (New Jersey)
Wendy, the smart and popular class president, and her 5th grade friends relentlessly bully a shy, overweight classmate named Linda. Linda gives an oral report on whales to the class and is given the cruel nickname “Blubber.” This is a disturbing and honest look at the complex issue of bullying and there is no contrived, happy ending. Author Judy Blume was born in New Jersey in 1938.
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…and now Miguel – Joseph Krumgold (New Mexico)
Miguel is a 12 year old Hispanic-American from New Mexico. His father and grandfather are sheepherders and Miguel longs to join them on the yearly sheep drive to the mountains. But as the old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for!” Author Joseph Krumgold was the first author to receive the illustrious Newbery Award for excellence in children’s literature twice.
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My Side of the Mountain – Jean Craighead George (New York)
Unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, 13 year old Sam runs away and sets out in search of the family’s abandoned farm in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. He soon learns some valuable lessons about life and about himself. He raises and trains a peregrine falcon named “Frightful” who becomes his friend and partner in the struggle for survival.
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To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers by James Tobin (North Carolina)
This the unlikely tale of the Wright Brothers, bicycle shop owners from Dayton, Ohio, who built and flew the first successful airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. Neither brother had a high school diploma or any sort of technical training. Their chief rival was Samuel Langely, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, who had generous backing from the government and private industry.
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Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson (North Dakota)
Phil Jackson is the most successful coach in NBA history. He has won a record 11 NBA titles – 6 with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls and 5 with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. He grew up in North Dakota and went to the University of North Dakota. This book chronicles the 1995-96 season when the Bulls won 72 games, the most in league history.
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M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton (Ohio)
This drama covers 3 eventful days in the life of a teenager who lives with his family in the Appalachian Mountains near the Ohio River. Their lives are threatened by a strip mining company that has left a giant slag heap perched precariously above their house. Author Virginia Hamilton’s grandfather was brought to Ohio as a baby in the 1850’s as part of the Underground Railroad.
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Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls (Oklahoma)
29 monkeys from a traveling circus are loose on the prairies of Oklahoma and 14 year old Jay Berry is determined to capture them and use the reward money to buy a horse and a .22 rifle. With the help of his grandpa and his hound dog, Jay Berry comes up with plan after plan, but he soon learns that catching monkeys is easier said than done.
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What Matters Most: Diary of a Teenage Girl by Melody Carlson (Oregon)
16 year old Maya is thinking about graduating from high school early, an appealing option since popular cheerleader Vanessa and ex-boyfriend Dominic are making her life miserable. But when she plays her dad’s old guitar in front of an audience for the first time she discovers talents and opportunities she never dreamed of. Author Melody Carlson grew up and still resides in Oregon.
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Maniac Magee – Jerry Spinelli (Pennsylvania)
Set in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this is the tale of an orphaned boy looking for a home. He becomes a local legend for his fearless nature, eventually earning the nickname “Maniac.” Serious themes of racism and homelessness are explored in this young adult novel that mixes fact and fiction in a style reminiscent of the movie Forest Gump.
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At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft (Rhode Island)
Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was born in Rhode Island in 1890. Relatively unknown during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades and he is now regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Stephen King cites Lovecraft as his favorite author. The rock group Metallica has written songs based on Lovecraft’s stories.
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Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (South Carolina)
Tom is an unemployed teacher and football coach from South Carolina. His twin sister Savannah is having trouble and her psychiatrist asks Tom to attend some sessions. Reluctant at first to talk about the past, he slowly opens up about their dysfunctional childhood growing up with an abusive father and a status hungry mother.
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Face to Face with Mt. Rushmore by Jean Patrick (South Dakota)
The faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln where carved into the granite of Mt. Rushmore in the southwest corner of South Dakota during the 1930’s. The entire project cost less than $1 million dollars and no workers were seriously injured. One of the world’s most famous monuments, it attracts about 2 million visitors every year.
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The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Tennessee)
This is an eerie, post-apocalyptic tale about a desperate father and his young son traveling across an American landscape blasted by an unnamed cataclysm that has destroyed almost all life on Earth. The bleak, minimalistic writing style matches the desolated landscape. Author Cormac McCarthy went to high school in Knoxville, Tennessee before attending the University of Tennessee.
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Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger (Texas)
This is a journal of the 1988 Permian High School Panthers football team’s attempt to win the Texas state championship. Originally meant to be a feel good chronicle of high school sports, it ultimately turned into a tale of misplaced priorities. The story was the inspiration for a hit movie in 2004 and a television spin-off that began in 2006.
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Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen (Utah)
Marly’s dad returns home from the war a physically and spiritually broken man so her mom decides to take the family to Maple Hill, a peaceful country setting where she spent her summers as a child. Though specifically set after WW II, it is truly a timeless tale of recovery that can be embraced by any generation. A devout Mormon, author Virginia Sorenson was born in Utah in 1912.
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Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream & Dessert Book by Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield (Vermont)
In 1977, lifelong friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield completed a correspondence course from Penn State University and opened an ice cream parlor in Burlington, Vermont. From there Ben & Jerry’s has grown into a world-wide chain with stores in over 30 countries. This book offers more than 90 delicious recipes for ice cream lovers!
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Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson (Virginia)
5th grader Jess is an autistic boy who lives in rural, southwest Virginia. He becomes friends with his new neighbor Leslie who is an outgoing tomboy. The two children create an imaginary forest kingdom that they call Terabithia. Author Katherine Paterson’s inspiration for the novel was a real-life tragedy. Her son’s best friend was killed when she was struck by lightning.
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Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Washington)
The 4th installment in the Twilight series brings the tale of Bella, Edward, and Jacob to its finale. The story ends where it began – in the sleepy, little town of Forks, Washington, which by the way is a real town. The vampire genre has never been more successful. This novel sold a staggering 1.3 million copies in the U.S. in the first 24 hours on sale!
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The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (West Virginia)
14 year old Sara is very protective of her 10 year old brother Charlie who has been mentally handicapped since he suffered from an extremely high fever at the age of 3. He loves watching the swans in the lake near their house but one day he wanders off and gets lost. A search party gathers and begins to look for the missing boy in the West Virginia wilderness.
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The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Wisconsin)
16 heirs of reclusive millionaire Sam Westing are called upon at the reading of his will to unravel the mystery behind his death. Set in Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan, this whodunit is a must read for anybody who has ever enjoyed the board game Clue. Take notes and see if you can solve the mystery before you turn to the last page.
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Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (Wyoming)
A widowed farmer is overwhelmed by the task of taking care of his farm and raising his two small children. He writes an ad in a newspaper for a mail-order bride. Sarah answers the ad and moves from Maine to become his wife. The novel is set in the western U.S. during the 1800’s. Author Patricia MacLachlan was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1938.