Read Your Way Across 50 States!
Just for fun, I’ve compiled this list of books which take place in different states in the United States. Some states might not have a book listed yet, but this site is always a work in progress (which is also the reason why I have book titles which don’t have descriptions or reviews yet, they will be filled in later)! If the list gets too long (and it probably will at some point), I might decide to start giving individual states separate pages. A couple of states have an official state children’s book. If anyone would like to recommend a state-specific book, let me know!
For other lists of state-related books, see:
The Mystery in Arizona
Part of the Trixie Belden series. By Julie Campbell.
A group of children create a town of their own in the Arizona desert, using whatever they can find and their own imaginations. By Alice McLerran.
Summer of My German Soldier
A twelve-year-old Jewish girl living in Arkansas during WWII meets a German soldier who escaped from a POW camp, and the two become unexpected friends. By Bette Greene.
The hilarious escapades of Cathy and her crazy cousin Courtney in New York and California. By Judi Miller.
A Jewish family flees Germany to escape World War II and struggles to establish themselves in America. The stories cover the changes in their lives and how the daughters of the family deal with growing up in a new country after they eventually settle in California. By Sonia Levitin.
Linda Craig Mysteries
An orphan girl living on a ranch in California solves mysteries. A Stratemeyer Syndicate series.
Newly orphaned Emily Luccock journeys to the home of her Aunt and Uncle Twice in San Francisco only to find that their home has been taken over by a sinister and mysterious woman. By Barbara Brooks Wallace.
Three friends form a detective business, using a trailer in a salvage yard as their headquarters.
Aaron, a teenage boy in Hollywood, California, is recruited to become a wizard’s apprentice. While learning magic, he also becomes reconciled to his parents’ divorce.
A to Z Mystery Series
Three children solve mysteries in a series with names in alphabetical order. By Ron Roy.
The Baby-Sitters Club Series
A group of girls forms a baby-sitting business. Stories are from the point of view of different girls. By Ann M. Martin.
By Eleanor Estes.
When Brian visits his pen pal in Hawaii for the summer, he confronts a ghostly mystery based on Hawaiian legends. By Janet Lorimer.
A young girl in 1914 wants to go visit her grandmother, but her family can’t afford the train ticket . . . until they realize that they can afford for her to travel as mail. Based on a true story. By Michael O. Tunnell.
Molly lives with her family in Illinois while her father is an army doctor stationed in England during World War II.
Joey and Mary Alice live in Chicago during the Great Depression, but every summer, they go to stay with their grandmother in a small town in Illinois and get caught up in her hilarious escapades. By Richard Peck.
When her father is out of work at the end of the Great Depression, Mary Alice goes to live with her eccentric grandmother in the country. By Richard Peck.
Susan is a little girl during the 1800s, and she and her family make the journey from Kentucky to Indiana in a covered wagon. She shares her adventures with her beloved doll, Abigail. By Portia Howe Sperry and Lois Donaldson.
A Girl of the Limberlost
Elnora lives in the Limberlost swamp during the early 1900s, dealing with her difficult relationship with her widowed mother and collecting moths and butterflies that she can sell in order to get money to help further her education. A children’s classic! By Gene Stratton-Porter.
About a pair of sisters who live in Indiana and have adventures on road trips with their father. Written by Eth Clifford.
For more about books that take place in Iowa, see Iowa: A Literary Landscape.
The Happy Valley Mystery
Part of the Trixie Belden series. By Kathryn Kenny.
About a family and their amazing one-acre farm. Tall tales. By Sid Fleischman.
The Princess in the Pigpen
An Elizabethan princess suddenly finds herself on a farm in 20th century Iowa. By Jane Resh Thomas.
Maine doesn’t have an official state children’s book, but high on my list of suggestions would be Abbie Against the Storm or Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie. They are both about Abbie Burgess, who lived in the 1800s and is known for keeping her family’s lighthouse lit during a terrible storm in her father’s absence. You can find other children’s books about Maine here.
Abbie Against the Storm
A picture book about the life of Abbie Burgess, who is known for keeping her family’s lighthouse lit in her father’s absence. By Marcia Vaughan, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth.
Peter finds out that he’s going to have to share his family vacation with the awful Sheila and her family because the families have gone together to rent a house in Maine. Worse than that, when romance blossoms between his grandmother and Sheila’s grandfather, will Peter and Sheila be able to stand becoming . . . relatives? Part of the Fudge Series. By Judy Blume.
Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
A picture book about the life of Abbie Burgess, who is known for keeping her family’s lighthouse lit in her father’s absence. This one was featured on Reading Rainbow. By Peter Roop and Connie Roop, illustrated by Peter E. Hanson.
After a life of travel, Alice Rumphius settles down in a house by the sea and is called the Lupine Lady because of her love of the flowers and for scattering seeds wherever she goes. By Barbara Cooney.
Part of the Meg Duncan Mysteries series. By Holly Beth Walker.
Twelve-year-old Phineas Hall and his fifteen-year-old sister, Althea, have recently moved to Maine with their father, Professor Hall, because he got a job working at the small Vandemark College. When the patriarch of the Vandemark family dies and leaves a real Egyptian mummy to the college, Professor Hall is put in charge of the exhibit, and the kids investigate the mystery that surrounds the mummy. By Cynthia Voigt.
Gordy Smith Series
About a boy from a poor, troubled family during World War II. By Mary Downing Hahn.
Jacob Have I Loved
Sara Louise has been overshadowed by her twin, Caroline, her entire life. As she grows up, Caroline somehow always seems to be prettier, more talented, more popular, and have more opportunities than Sara Louise has while Sara Louise has to make more sacrifices for Caroline’s sake as well as the rest of the family. When she is grown, Sara Louise finally sets out on her own to discover her own identity and become her own person, away from Caroline, and learns to make peace with her past and create a better future. By Katherine Paterson.
This is the Official State Children’s Book of Massachusetts! A family of Mallards make their home in the Boston Public Gardens with the help of some friendly policemen. By Robert McCloskey.
By Esther Hoskins Forbes.
This book features a young girl who was an historical interpreter at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum, playing the part of a real pilgrim girl who lived in 17th century Plymouth. By Kate Waters.
Official State Children’s Book of Michigan: The Legend of Sleeping Bear by Kathy-jo Wargin
Four girls during the early 1900s fix up a vacant cottage to use as a kind of playhouse, but having a real house as their playhouse changes their lives as it brings them into contact with new and interesting people. By Carroll Watson Rankin.
Flee Jay Saylor investigates mysteries with her child genius sister, Clarice. By Carol Farley.
A granddaughter passes on stories that her grandmother told her about growing up on a farm in Michigan during the 1800s. The stories often have a Christian moral. By Arleta Richardson.
A girl talks about how her grandmother, who she likes to call “Babushka” because she originally came from Russia, cured her of her fear of storms by teaching her to make a special kind of cake, Thunder Cake. By Patricia Polacco.
About a girl in elementary school who solves mysteries with the help of her friends, who call themselves The Martians. By Susan Pearson.
Kirsten, An American Girl Series
Kirsten is a pioneer girl in the 1850s. She comes to America from Sweden with her family, and they settle in Minnesota, which was then on the American frontier.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
About a black girl named Cassie Logan and her family’s struggles during the Great Depression. By Mildred D. Taylor.
Gib Rides Home and Gib and the Gray Ghost
A two-book series about an orphan boy in Nebraska during the early 1900s. By Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
About an orphan boy who lives with relatives in 1950s Nebraska and has adventures with his friend, Paul. By Trella Lamson Dick.
For more books about New Hampshire, see Books About New Hampshire.
Laura and Bill are visiting their Uncle Joe, who is the caretaker of a large hotel in New Hampshire. The hotel is closed for the winter, but the children investigate the ghost who supposedly haunts it and may have their uncle under her spell. By Janet Adele Bloss.
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret
A pre-teen girl moves from New York to New Jersey and deals with issues of growing up and tries to decide what religion she should follow, asking some of the big questions in life and questioning what she really believes. She was raised without a religion because one of her parents is Christian and the other is Jewish, and they wanted to allow her to decide for herself when she was old enough. By Judy Blume.
Cheaper By the Dozen
Not specifically a children’s book, but appropriate for children. It was a favorite of mine when I was young. It was the inspiration for the modern Cheaper by the Dozen movies, but unlike the movies, it is about real people. The father was an efficiency expert, not a football coach. There is an older movie based more closely on the book.
A pair of twins star in a silent movie serial during World War I and learn that their father’s death was due to war-related sabotage, not an accident.
Josefina, An American Girl Series
This is part of the Something Queer Mysteries series. Gwen and Jill visit a ranch in New Mexico and investigate a haunted barn. By Elizabeth Levy.
Anna, Grandpa, and the Big Storm
Anna’s grandfather has come to visit her family in New York City in 1888, but he doesn’t think the city is very interesting until he and Anna are caught on a train during the Great Blizzard that struck the city in that year and they have to band together with other people to help each other. By Carla Stevens.
When Amelia Fairwick hears that her father has been killed, she must go live with distant cousins in New York. However, nothing is what it seems, and she finds herself at the center of a sinister plot. By Barbara Brooks Wallace.
The hilarious escapades of Cathy and her crazy cousin Courtney in New York and California. By Judi Miller.
Peter Hatcher tells humorous stories about his little brother, Farley Drexel Hatcher, who everyone calls Fudge.
Nina’s father owns an antique store, and Nina loves a pair of automatons which have been in the shop for years. When her father suddenly receives two different offers to buy them, they learn that the automatons have been hiding a secret.
Caroline comes to believe that the new man in her apartment building, who seems interested in her mother, may actually be a murderer.
Samantha, An American Girl Series
Samantha is an orphan living with wealthy relatives in New York during the early 1900s. She starts off living in a small town along the Hudson River with her grandmother and later moves to New York City to live with her uncle.
Audrey and her younger brother Nathan are having a picnic when they accidentally unearth an old pocket watch that transports them back in time to the Revolutionary War.
A classic mystery series featuring a girl and her group of friends who solve mysteries and support good causes. They live in a small town near the Hudson River in New York state. Created by Julie Campbell and continued by other authors.
The House of Dies Drear and Mystery of Drear House
Thomas Small moves to Ohio with his family to live in an old house that was once part of the Underground Railroad. The house still contains. By Virginia Hamilton.
The story takes place in during the Great Depression when Kate learns a secret about her family’s home that dates back to the Civil War. By Helen Pierce Jacob.
For books about Oklahoma, see Teaching Oklahoma History.
About the everyday adventures of a little girl living in Portland. Her stories focus on her adventures at school and with family and how things change for her as she grows up. By Beverly Cleary.
Miranda is living with her grandmother in Oregon while her scientist parents are away studying algae in Antarctica. Her grandmother owns a bed and breakfast called The Jumping Frog, which has a Mark Twain theme. Mark Twain once stayed there years ago, and Miranda must solve a mystery concerning the theft of some letters written by Mark Twain. By Sharon E. Heisel.
Addy begins as a slave girl in the South during the Civil War. She and her mother manage to escape and settle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they eventually reunite with other family members.
The Cabin Faced West
A girl moves further west with her family, establishing a new homestead in 1784 Pennsylvania and receiving a surprise visit from George Washington. By Jean Fritz.
J. Huntley English is a boy genius who also happens to believe in monsters and wants to find real ones. With his friends, he investigates strange phenomena and odd people in their small town in Pennsylvania. By Drew Stevenson.
About a girl who wants to be a detective and her two friends. They investigate spooky mysteries in a small town in Pennsylvania. Written by Drew Stevenson.
A boy named Kenny moves to Providence and finds himself caught up in a ghostly mystery, taken back in time to stop an old murder and prevent others from being caught up in a never-ending tragedy. By Avi.
The son of a colonel in the revolutionary army during the American Revolution becomes the man of his family when his father is captured. With British soldiers occupying his family’s house, young Joey does what he can to keep his family safe.
A historical mystery series with Christian themes that takes place in turn-of-the-century South Carolina. Amanda Shaw is an orphan with a mysterious past but who finds a new life with relatives she had never met. By Lois Gladys Leppard.
For more books about Texas, see Reading Through Texas.
Three sisters compete for a job as companion to a wealthy woman in 1855 Galveston. By Jennifer Armstrong.
A Comanche girl realizes that the only way to save her people from a drought is to sacrifice the thing she loves most. By Tomie dePaola.
A young deaf girl is kidnapped for ransom. Her best friend searches for her while she struggles to leave clues to help her friend learn her kidnapper’s identity.
For books set in Utah, see Fiction Set in Utah.
For more books set in Vermont, see Vermont Secretary of State Reader’s Corner.
About a girl whose parents are divorced and the changes in her family. By Jeanne Betancourt.
Robert and his best friend Soup have a reputation for getting into scrapes in their small town in Vermont during the 1920s. By Robert Newton Peck.
Tia Lola Series
After his parents divorce, ten-year-old Miguel moves to Vermont with his mother and sister, and his Great-Aunt Lola comes to live with them from the Dominican Republic. By Julia Alvarez.
A young orphan girl goes to live with relatives on a farm in Vermont and finds a happier home than the one she left behind and a new sense of self-confidence. It is public domain and on Project Gutenberg. By Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
Felicity is a girl living in Virginia at the beginning of the American Revolution.
The girl playing the part of Mary Geddy at Colonial Williamsburg shows the kind of life a girl at the beginning of the American Revolution lived. By Kate Waters.
Meg and her best friend Kerry solve mysteries in their small Virginia town and other places along the east coast. By Holly Beth Walker.
An orphan boy with a mysterious past searches for his long-lost twin and the secret to his true identity. By Barbara Brooks Wallace.
A group of kids form a backyard business encoding and decoding secret messages for spies. By George Edward Stanley.