Friday, November 01, 2013

Read Your Way Through the USA (Part II)

Last week, I posted about state-specific reads for children and adults. Let's continue reading our way through the USA, starting with Nebraska.  Missed Part I? Look here for Alabama-Montana (and Virginia). Now, for the rest of the U.S.

Business Insider: My Antonia

Clever choice; I read Willa Cather in an American Literature class and become a big fan.  Andrew Clements's Room One is a fast-paced mystery that touches upon rural homeless issues.

Business Insider: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Not much in the way of children's/youth fiction set in Nevada.  I haven't read Weird Stories From the Lonesome Cafe, although I've heard of it.  Will put it on my list.

Business Insider: The Hotel New Hampshire

A Gathering of Days may not be the most exciting Newbery Medal (1980) read, but it's a good read for those who enjoy children's fiction set in the 1800s.

Business Insider: Drown (short story recorded on CD)

Penny From Heaven is one of Jennifer Holm's finest novels; this 2007 Newbery Honor title explores a little-discussed aspect of World War II (internment of Italian-Americans) and the lingering prejudice faced by Italian American families after the conclusion of the war.

New York
Business Insider: The Great Gatsby

I meant to reread The Great Gatsby when the recent movie version was released; unfortunately, I never got around to it.  I remember hating it and hating the characters when I read it in high school, but I wonder if I might appreciate it more now that I understand more about that era.  In the meantime, I can recommend two books that I have reread several times that although they are both based in New York, portray two very different social classes and eras: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Age of Innocence.  As for children's novels...oh, so many:  the All-of-a-Kind Family series, Dave at NightHarriet the SpyFarmer BoyThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow/Rip Van WinkleMy Side of the MountainStuart LittleThe Cricket in Times Square, and Miriam Chaikin's Molly novels. If you want a brain-bending fantasy novel (for adults) set in 19th century New York, you must read The Golem and the Jinni.

Business Insider: A Walk to Remember

Three awesome reads set in North Carolina: Three Times Lucky (2013 Newbery Honor murder mystery and a 2013-2014 Battle of the Books Middle School title), The Other Half of My Heart (didn't get nearly the attention it deserved when it was published), and Blue (a YA novel set during the polio epidemic).

North Dakota
Business Insider: The Round House

I haven't read The Round House, but I have read Louise Erdrich's children's novels, which look at the frontier/pioneer era through Native American perspectives.  However, they take place in the Lake Superior region.  Chanukah on the Prairie is a unique look at Jewish life in the pioneer era.

Business Insider: The Broom of the System

The Last Runaway (adult historical fiction) is an absorbing look at Ohio Quakers' involvement in the Underground Railroad. I reviewed it in February, and it still remains one of my top reads of this year. Aurora Means Dawn is a stunning picture book about a Connecticut family moving to a settlement town in Ohio. EDIT: Ms. Yingling Reads also suggests Doll Bones for a great Ohio read. Thanks, Ms. Yingling! (Doll Bones will be reviewed in next week's posting.)

Business Insider: Paradise

Out of the Dust (1988 Newbery Medal) is a harrowing verse novel set during the Dust Bowl catastrophe. Jingle Dancer is a superb picture book about a young girl (of the Muscogee tribe) preparing to dance her community's traditional jingle dance.

Business Insider: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Oregon's most famous children's author, Beverly Cleary, incorporates her native hometown (Portland) into her novels, particularly in her Ramona and Henry Huggins stories. Her memoirs are also excellent reads (her final memoir covers her life up to the publication of the first Henry Huggins novel).


Business Insider: The Lovely Bones

I've been wanting to tap maple trees for syrup ever since I read Miracles on Maple Hill (1957 Newbery Medal) when I was a kid.  When I reread it several years ago, I was struck by the sensitive portrayal of the father's depression (due to his war experience).  Sweetgrass Basket is a haunting YA novel about two sisters sent to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School; Fever 1793, one of Laurie Halse Anderson's best novels, is a powerful depiction of the yellow fever epidemic.

Rhode Island
Business Insider: My Sister's Keeper

If you can think of any children's/YA novels set in Rhode Island, please let me know! In the meantime, Christmas Tree Farm  is a delightful look at the year-round activities on a tree farm.

South Carolina
Business Insider: The Secret Life of Bees

I'll admit that I haven't read On the Road to Mr. Mineo's, but Barbara Cooney is such a reliably awesome author that I feel confident in including it here.  Her novel about a one-legged pigeon that sets everyone a-flutter in a small South Carolina town is one that's on my never-ending To Be Read list.  As for adult fiction, I think Pat Conroy is the quintessential South Carolina author.

South Dakota
Business Insider: A Long Way From Home

By the Shores of Silver Lake (1940 Newbery Honor) strikes a different tone from the other novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder; the family travels by train for the first time (train travel was quite uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous at that time), eats at a hotel restaurant, and lives in a frontier town (De Smet) that houses saloons, a rough railroad camp, and no churches. Quite a change from the remote cabins in which they previously lived.

Business Insider: The Firm and The Client

Ever since I reviewed Artichoke's Heart for School Library Journal in 2008, I've been a fan of Suzanne Suplee's YA novels.  Somebody Everybody Listens To, set in Nashville, follows a talented teen as she hopes to start her country music career in Music City.

Business Insider: No Country for Old Men 

I was excited and proud when The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate received a Newbery Honor in 2010; I reviewed it for School Library Journal in 2009 and adored it.  It's a funny (the turkey scene....) and touching coming-of-age story starring a vivacious young girl more interested in science than dolls and dresses, which was out of sorts for a girl in 1889.  Two additional Newbery classics also take place in the Lone Star State; Holes (1999 Newbery Medal) and Old Yeller (1957 Newbery Honor, and up next in my Newbery reads...oh dear....)

Business Insider: The 19th Wife

They may be somewhat forgotten, but The Great Brain and Journey to Topaz are both excellent stories set in Utah; The Great Brain is a classic boy hijinks story, but Journey to Topaz is a memorable novel about a Japanese-American family's forced move to a relocation camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Business Insider: Pollyanna

I enjoy the Pollyanna movie more than the actual book, so I would recommend a number of books instead, such as  Justin Morgan Had a Horse (a wonderful 1946 Newbery Honor novel by Marguerite Henry) and two novels that deal with child labor during the Industrial Revolution: Counting on Grace (a 2013-2014 Elementary Battle of the Books selection) and Lyddie.

Business Insider: Twilight 

Yes, Washington (state) figures into Twilight (even though a lot of the filming for the last movie was done in Baton Rouge!), and so does one of my most beloved Newbery Honor (2000) books of all time: Our Only May Amelia by the incomparable Jennifer Holm.  If you love this story about a young Finnish-American girl finding her way in a family of seven brothers, you'll want to read its sequel.

Washington D.C.
Business Insider: The Lost Symbol

Thinking about recommended stories set in the District was not easy; luckily, the funny and realistic Lucy Rose series fits the bill.

West Virginia
Business Insider: Shiloh 

Yes, yes, definitely Shiloh for the West Virginia pick. Thank you.  One of my favorite Newbery Medal winners (1992) and one of the greatest boy-and-his-dog stories of all time.  Dream Soul is another fine story set in West Virginia, centered on a Chinese-American family in 1927.

Business Insider: Little House in the Big Woods

Wisconsin is where it all begins for the Little House series; if you're a fan of pioneer stories, check out Caddie Woodlawn. (We do have the sequel, but I've never read it.)

Business Insider: The Laramie Project

My Friend Flicka is a classic horse story set on a Wyoming ranch.  Definitely a must read for horse fans.

Whew!  We made it to the end!  If you have any further recommendations, let me know in the comments!  I'll add them to the posts.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library 

To learn more about the library's collection, programs or events, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.


Ms. Yingling said...

Your list is SO much better (for me!) than Business Insider's, but for Ohio, you have to include Black's Doll Bones and my favorite, Beil's Summer at Forsaken Lake. For an older title, there's Janet Hickman's Zoar Blue (1978). But then, I am from Ohio, so I have a vested interest! (And for Iowa, Sheth's Blue Jasmine is brilliant.)

Jennifer Schultz said...

Hello Ms. Yingling--I just finished Doll Bones, so I will add it to the Ohio section! Unfortunately, we don't have the other two books that you mentioned.