Print Friendly and PDF

The season of family vacations, cross-country road trips, and Independence Day celebrations is here. Read your way around the United States with these books from the 50 states and the nation’s capital.


Alabama

Rosa

by Nikki Giovanni, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a city bus sparks the Montgomery bus boycott.

Alaska

The Salmon Princess: An Alaska Cinderella Story

by Mindy Dwyer

With a boot for a glass slipper and an eagle spirit for a fairy godmother, this classic tale is set in a southeastern Alaska village.

Arizona

Mule Train Mail

by Craig Brown

Anthony Paya leads mail-carrying mules to the Supai post office at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in this nonfiction narrative.

Arkansas

Fiddlin’ Sam

by Marianna Dengler, Illustrated by Sibyl Graber Gerig

In this family memoir, a fiddler travels the Ozarks playing music and looking to pass his talents on to the next generation.

FEATURED VIDEO

California

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation

by Duncan Tonatiuh

Sylvia Mendez’s family fights for her right to attend a local school, and in doing so, desegregates schools across California.

Colorado

Grandfather’s Christmas Tree

by Keith Strand, Illustrated by Thomas Locker

A grandfather explains how his parents’ settling in Colorado in 1886 led to family Christmas traditions that continued for generations.

Connecticut

Snowflakes Fall

by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

A tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown is told through a story of falling snow that could just as easily be about the changing seasons as it is about loss and renewal.

Delaware

No Kite in Sight: A Delaware Beaches Mystery

by Denise Blum, Illustrated by Nathan Rea

A brother and sister travel Delaware beaches in search of their missing kite.

Florida

Bigmama’s

by Donald Crews

Donald Crews writes an account of childhood visits to his grandparents’ farm in Cottondale.

Georgia

Here Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story of Juliette ‘Daisy’ Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure

by Shana Corey, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper

This biography details Juliette Gordon Low’s upbringing in Victorian era Savannah and her eventual founding of the Girl Scouts.

Hawaii

Too Many Mangos

by Tammy Paikai, Illustrated by Don Robinson

Kama and Nani share mangos from their grandfather’s tree with the neighbors, and each neighbor shares something in return.

Idaho

P Is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet

by Stan and Joy Steiner, Illustrated by Jocelyn Slack

This rhyming book teaches the alphabet through the culture and landscape of Idaho.

Illinois

Murphy’s Ticket: The Goofy Start and Glorious End of the Chicago Cubs Billy Goat Curse

by Brad Herzog, Illustrated by David Leonard (forthcoming July 2017)

A goat is kicked out of a 1945 World Series game at Wrigley Field, and an ensuing curse is blamed for the Cubs’ mishaps for decades, until their 2016 World Series win.

Indiana

Casper and Catherine Move to America: An Immigrant Family’s Adventures 1849-1850

by Brian Hasler, Illustrated by Angela M. Gouge

A family emigrates from Switzerland to Southern Indiana in the mid 1800s.

Iowa

Tomás and the Library Lady

by Pat Mora, Illustrated by Raul Colón

Based on the life of writer Tomás Rivera, Tomás travels to Iowa for his parents’ migrant farm work and falls in love with the local public library.

Kansas

Aunt Minnie and the Twister

by Mary Skillings Prigger, Illustrated by Betsy Lewin

When a tornado strikes, Aunt Minnie and her nine adopted nieces and nephews use their damaged farmhouse as an excuse to build a much needed addition.

Kentucky

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby

by Crystal Hubbard, Illustrated by Robert McGuire

Jimmy Winkfield, who grew up in an 1880s sharecropping family, goes from a child who loves horses to winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Louisiana

The Story of Ruby Bridges

by Robert Coles, Illustrated by George Ford

This biography details Ruby Bridges’ experiences as one of the first black children to integrate into a white school in New Orleans.

Maine

The Wicked Big Toddlah

by Kevin Hawkes

A giant baby gets into even bigger trouble in this humorous tale set in the woods of Maine.

Maryland

Beddy Bye in the Bay

by Priscilla Cummings, Illustrated by Mary Dunn Ramsey

A rhyming bedtime story explains how and where various Chesapeake Bay creatures sleep.

Massachusetts

Dear Mr. Blueberry

by Simon James

It’s summer in Nantucket, and Emily and her teacher exchange letters concerning a whale Emily insists is living in her pond.

Michigan

Mail by the Pail

by Colin Bergel and illustrated by Mark Koenig

Mary sends her father – a sailor on a freighter in Lake Michigan – a birthday card, highlighting how mail is delivered on the Great Lakes.

Minnesota

Mississippi Going North

by Sanna Anderson Baker, Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

A family canoes the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota, enjoying the beauty of nature.

Mississippi

Freedom School, Yes!

by Amy Littlesugar, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Told from the perspective of a brave young girl is a fictionalized account of the Mississippi Freedom School Summer Project in 1964.

Missouri

Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant

by Kate Klise, Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

Born in rural Missouri in 1872, Ella Kate Ewing grows to be eight feet, four inches tall and learns to accept her height and use it to her advantage.

Montana

Bug Feats of Montana

by Deborah Richie Oberbillig, Illustrated by Robert Rath

This informational book details Montana’s weirdest and most fascinating bugs.

Nebraska

The Huckabuck Family: and How They Raised Popcorn in Nebraska and Quit and Came Back

by Carl Sandburg, Illustrated by David Small

After a popcorn farming disaster in Nebraska, the Huckabucks head elsewhere until a sign from a squash prompts their return.

Nevada

Rhyolite: The True Story of a Ghost Town

by Diane Siebert, Illustrated by David Frampton

Told in rhyming verse, Rhyolite, a once booming gold mining town, falls as quickly as it rose.

New Hampshire

Ox-Cart Man

by Donald Hall, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

A 19th-century farmer travels to Portsmouth to sell the goods his family produced that year and buy things for the year to come.

New Jersey

Flotsam

by David Wiesner

A boy discovers creatures and treasures at the beach in this wordless picture book inspired by the author’s childhood summers at the Jersey shore.

New Mexico

How Chile Came to New Mexico

by Rudolfo Anaya, Illustrated by Nicolás Otero, Translated by Nasario Garcia

This bilingual book explains how Native Americans brought chile to New Mexico.

New York

Tar Beach

by Faith Ringgold

Cassie Louise Lightfoot imagines taking flight off of her Harlem apartment roof and soaring over landmarks of historical and personal significance.

North Carolina

The Sunday Outing

by Gloria Jean Pinkney, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Ernestine loves watching the trains on their way to and from North Carolina, and with sacrifice and her family’s help, she gets to ride the train, too.

North Dakota

A Boy Called Slow

by Joseph Bruchac, Illustrated by Rocco Baviera

A Lakota Sioux boy, named Slow after his unhurried nature, earns the new name Sitting Bull through an act of bravery.

Ohio

Lentil

by Robert McCloskey

Set in the fictional town of Alto, Lentil uses his harmonica to save the parade from Old Sneep, the town grump.

Oklahoma

They Came from the Bronx: How the Buffalo Were Saved from Extinction

by Neil Waldman

White men wiped out the buffalo Comanche people depended on, but in 1905, the Bronx Zoo sends their own buffalo to repopulate the region.

Oregon

Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains

by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Though more about the journey to get there than the state itself, this is a tall tale of a father and his family bringing fruit trees by wagon to Portland for that “sweet Oregon dirt.”

Pennsylvania

Saving the Liberty Bell

by Megan McDonald, Illustrated by Marsha Gray Carrington

John Jacob Mickley and his father help save the Liberty Bell from British soldiers during the American Revolution.

Rhode Island

Finding Providence: The Story of Roger Williams

by Avi, Illustrated by James Watling

Roger Williams, on trial in Massachusetts for advocating religious freedom, flees into the wilderness with help from Native Americans and eventually founds Rhode Island.

South Carolina

Circle Unbroken

by Margot Theis Raven, Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

A girl’s grandmother teaches her about the art of basket weaving and its historical roots.

South Dakota

Lakota Hoop Dancer

by Jacqueline Left Hand Bull and Suzanne Haldane, Photographs by Suzanne Haldane

Kevin Locke travels from the Standing Rock Reservation to perform the Lakota hoop dance around the world.

Tennessee

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

by Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

Alta and Charmaine fight over who is faster, but they come together to make it to the parade on time to see Wilma Rudolph.

Texas

The Legend of the Bluebonnet: An Old Tale of Texas

Retold and Illustrated by Tomie dePaola

When drought threatens the Comanche, a young girl makes a sacrifice to help her community.

Utah

Dinosaur Mountain: Digging into the Jurassic Age

by Deborah Kogan Ray

In 1908, Earl Douglass sets out for the Uinta Basin to find fossils and become one of the best “dinosaur hunters” of his time.

Vermont

Snowflake Bentley

by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Illustrated by Mary Azarian

Wilson Bentley, born in Jericho in 1865, develops a method for photographing snowflakes.

Virginia

I Took a Walk

by Henry Cole

Inspired by the author’s Loudoun County childhood, a boy wanders meadows and woods spotting various creatures.

Washington

Elliot the Otter: The Totally Untrue Story of Elliot, Boss of the Bay

by John Skewes and Eric Ode, Illustrated by John Skewes

Elliot the Otter is convinced he is in charge of all the action in Puget Sound’s Elliot Bay.

Washington, D.C.

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured White and Black America

by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Jamey Christoph

While Gordon Parks lived in many places and excelled in many fields, this biography focuses on his work as a photographer documenting racial injustice in Washington, D.C.

West Virginia

John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads

Adapted by Christopher Canyon

In this adaptation of John Denver’s famous song, various vehicles traveling along Appalachian backdrops arrive at a family reunion.

Wisconsin

Mai Ya’s Long Journey

by Sheila Cohen

Mai Ya journeys from a refugee camp in Thailand to Madison where she must balance her Hmong heritage and American life.

Wyoming

When Esther Morris Headed West: Women, Wyoming, and the Right to Vote

by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

After Wyoming passes a bill allowing women to vote and hold public office, Esther Morris becomes the first female judge in the United States.

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

When it comes to holiday gifts, we know what you really want, mama. A full night's sleep. Privacy in the bathroom. The opportunity to eat your dinner while it's still hot. Time to wash—and dry!—your hair. A complete wardrobe refresh.


While we can't help with everything on your list (we're still trying to figure out how to get some extra zzz's ourselves), here are 14 gift ideas that'll make you look, if not feel, like a whole new woman. Even when you're sleep deprived.

Gap Cable-Knit Turtleneck Sweater

When winter hits, one of our go-to outfits will be this tunic-length sweater and a pair of leggings. Warm and everyday-friendly, we can get behind that.

$69.95

Gap Cigarette Jeans

These high-waisted straight-leg jeans have secret smoothing panels to hide any lumps and bumps (because really, we've all got 'em).

$79.95

Tiny Tags Gold Skinny Bar Necklace

Whether engraved with a child's name or date of birth, this personalized necklace will become your go-to piece of everyday jewelry.

$135.00

Gap Brushed Pointelle Crew

This wear-with-anything soft pink sweater with delicate eyelet details can be dressed up for work or dressed down for weekend time with the family. Versatility for the win!

$79.95

Gap Flannel Pajama Set

For mamas who sleep warm, this PJ set offers the best of both worlds: cozy flannel and comfy shorts. Plus, it comes with a coordinating eye mask for a blissed-out slumber.

$69.95

Spafinder Gift Card

You can't give the gift of relaxation, per say, but you can give a gift certificate for a massage or spa service, and that's close enough!

$50.00

Gap Stripe Long Sleeve Crewneck

This featherweight long-sleeve tee is the perfect layering piece under hoodies, cardigans, and blazers.

$29.95

Gap Chenille Smartphone Gloves

Gone are the days of removing toasty gloves before accessing our touchscreen devices—thank goodness!

$9.95

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug

Make multiple trips to the microwave a thing of the past with a app-controlled smart mug that'll keep your coffee or tea at the exact temperature you prefer for up to an hour.

$79.95

Gap Flannel Shirt

Our new favorite flannel boasts an easy-to-wear drapey fit and a flattering curved shirttail hem.

$59.95

Gap Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket

Stay warm while looking cool in this iconic jean jacket, featuring teddy bear-soft fleece lining and a trendy oversized fit.

$98.00

Gap Crazy Stripe Scarf

Practical and stylish, this cozy scarf adds a pop of color—well, colors—to any winter ensemble.

$39.95

Nixplay Seed Frame

This digital picture frame is perfect for mamas who stay up late scrolling through their phone's photo album to glimpse their kiddos being adorable. By sending them to this smart frame to view throughout the day, you can get a few extra minutes of sleep at night!

$165.00

Gap Crewneck Sweater

Busy mamas will appreciate that this supersoft, super versatile Merino wool sweater is machine washable.

$59.95

This article was sponsored by GAP. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and Mamas.

Our Partners

There's a lot of discussion about the importance of early education—but what about soft skills like respect and kindness? How can mamas teach children important values like cooperation, gratitude, empathy or politeness?

These values are basic, foundational beliefs that help us know right from wrong, that give balance and meaning to life and that enable us to form community bonds with one another. These soft skills are crucial for kids to learn at any age, and it's important for them to be reinforced, both in the classroom and at home, throughout their childhood.

Here are fundamental ways to build character in your young children:

Kindness

Performing random acts of kindness can have a positive influence on both the individual showing and receiving the kindness. As a family, think of ways that each one of you can show kindness to others. Some ideas may include baking cookies for the mail carrier, donating an unopened toy to a local charity, purchasing canned goods for a homeless shelter or leaving notes and drawings for the neighbors. Include your child in the process so they can see firsthand the joy that kindness can bring to others.

FEATURED VIDEO

Responsibility

Children have a strong desire to mimic adult family members. Encourage your child to help complete simple chores in and around the house. Children feel a great sense of accomplishment when they can do their share and feel that sense of responsibility. Two-year-olds will enjoy folding towels, putting books away, putting paper in the recycling box and tending to the garden. Older children may enjoy helping out in the kitchen or with yard work.

Patience

Patience is the ability to demonstrate self-control while waiting for an event to occur. It also refers to the ability to remain calm in the face of frustration. This is a skill which develops in children as they mature. While it is important to practice patience, adults should also be realistic in their expectations, evaluate daily routines and eliminate long periods of wait time from the schedule.

Politeness

Schedule a time when the whole family can sit down together for dinner. Model good manners and encourage older siblings and other members of the family to do the same. Use phrases such as, "Can you please pass the potatoes?" or "Thank you." Be sure to provide your child with guidance, by explaining what to do as opposed to what not to do.

Flexibility

Change your routines at home to encourage children to be flexible in their thinking and to try new things. Try being flexible in the small things: enjoy breakfast for dinner, eat ice cream with a fork, have your child read a bedtime story to you or have a picnic in the living room. Let your child know it is okay to do things in a different way.

Empathy

Children are beginning to understand different emotions and that others have feelings. Throughout their childhood, talk about their feelings and share one's own feeling with them as well. By taking the time to listen to how children are feeling, you will demonstrate to them that you care and reinforce with them that you fully understand how they are feeling.

Cooperation

Coordinate playdates or take your children to events where they can practice introducing themselves to other children, and potentially with adults. Find games and other activities that require turn-taking and sharing.

Gratitude

Encourage your child to spend five minutes every day listing the things they are grateful for. This could be done together just before bedtime or after dinner.

Respect

As parents, our goal is to teach children to recognize that even though people have different likes and dislikes or beliefs and ideas, they must treat each other with manners and positivity. Respect should be shown when sharing, cleaning up, and listening to others. Always teach and model the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. Also remind children that respect can be shown towards things in the classroom. Treating materials and toys correctly shows appreciation for the things we have.
Learn + Play

Medical researchers and providers consider a woman's postpartum period to be up to 12 months after the delivery of baby, but too often, health insurance doesn't see it the same way. Nearly half of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and while the babies who are born during these births are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a year, their mothers often lose their coverage 60 days after delivering their child. There is clear data showing 70% of new moms will have at least one health complication within a year of giving birth.

FEATURED VIDEO

This week, members of Congress' Subcommittee on Health met to mark up H.R. 4996, the "Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act of 2019, and it was favorably forwarded to the full Committee.

What does this mean? It means that while this bill still has a ways to go before it potentially becomes law, its success would see states get the option to provide 12 months of continuous coverage postpartum coverage to mothers on Medicaid. This would save lives.

As we at Motherly have said many times, it takes a considerable amount of time and energy to heal from birth. A mother may not be healed 60 days out from delivering. She may still require medical care for perinatal mood disorders, breast issues like thrush and mastitis, diabetes, and the consequences of traumatic births, like severe vaginal tearing.

Cutting off Medicaid when her baby is only 2 months old makes mom and baby vulnerable, and the Helping Moms Act could protect families from dire consequences.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and according to the CDC, "about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications." This is not okay, and while H.R. 4996 is not yet signed into law this bill could help change this. It could help address the racial disparities that see so many Black mothers and Native American mothers dying from preventable causes in the first year of motherhood.

A report from nine American maternal mortality review committees found that there were three leading causes of death that occurred between 43 days and one year postpartum: cardiomyopathy (32.4%), mental health conditions (16.2%), and embolism (10.8%) and multiple state maternal mortality review committees have recommended extending Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum in order to prevent these deaths.

Basically, making sure that moms have have continuous access to health care the year after a birth means doctors can spot issues with things like depression, heart disease and high blood pressure at regular check-ups and treat these conditions before they become fatal.

The Helping Moms Act is a step forward in the fight for maternal health and it proves that maternal health is truly a bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the value in providing support for mothers during the postpartum period.

The Helping MOMS Act was was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. It was co-lead by Texas Republican Michael Burgess (who is also a medical doctor), as well as Georgia Republican Buddy Carter, Washington Republicans Jaime Herrera Beutler and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Ayanna Pressley from Massachusettes and Lauren Underwood of Illinois (both Democrats).

"Incentivizing postpartum Medicaid expansion is a critical first step in preventing maternal deaths by ensuring new moms can see their doctor. I'm proud that my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, came together to put an end to the sad reality of American moms dying while growing their families," said Kelly. "We can't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. This is a good, bipartisan first step, but it must be the first of many."

It doesn't matter what your political stripes, reducing America's maternal mortality stats should be a priority.

News

Whether you're having a low-key Friendsgiving with your closest friends or prepping to host your first big Thanksgiving dinner with both families, figuring out all of the menu details can be the most overwhelming step. How much should I cook? What ingredients do I need? How does one actually cook a turkey this big?

But, don't worry, mama—HelloFresh is lending a helping hand this year with their Thanksgiving box in collaboration with Jessica Alba. Because you already have enough on your plate (and we're not talking stuffing).


Here are the details. You can choose from two Thanksgiving boxes: Turkey ($152) or beef tenderloin ($132). The turkey box serves 8-10 people while the beef one will serve 4-6 and both are $6.99 to ship. We got to try both and they're equally delicious so you can't go wrong with either one, but the turkey does require a 4-day thaw period so keep that in mind. And if you're wondering what the sides are, here's a sneak peek:

FEATURED VIDEO
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole with crispy onions
  • Ciabatta stuffing with chick sausage and cranberries
  • Cranberry sauce with orange, ginger and cinnamon
  • Apple ginger crisp with cinnamon pecan crumble

While someone still has to do the actual cooking, it's designed to take the stress out of Thanksgiving dinner so you can focus on spending time with your loved ones (or watching Hallmark Christmas movies). You don't have to worry about grocery shopping, portion sizes, recipe curation or forgetting that essential thing you needed to make the meal perfect. Everything is super simple to make from start to finish—it even comes with a cooking timeline.

Orders are open through November 21 and can be delivered anytime through November 24. Even better? You don't need a subscription to order.


ORDER A BOX

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

My mother's death propelled me to start the process of becoming a parent as a 43-year-old single woman. As my connection to her remained strong in spirit after her death, I was ready to experience the same bond with my own child. I began the journey with Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), and after three failed attempts at getting pregnant, I decided to adopt.

The adoption process is a lengthy and humbling one—one that includes fingerprints, background checks, references, classes, doing a profile of yourself and your life that birth parents eventually use to choose adoptive families.

After my application was approved, a young couple chose me just a month later. I couldn't believe my fortune. But I had to get to work and prepare the house for my baby's arrival. I bought the best of everything—bassinets, clothes, diapers, car seats… the list goes on. I told close friends and family that it was finally happening.

FEATURED VIDEO

But all of this was in vain. The day I was supposed to pick my daughter up, I learned that the birth parents had changed their minds. They no longer wanted to give their daughter up for adoption. As time passed, it was difficult to endure no interest from potential parents but the faith in believing what is meant to be continued. To increase my potential, I enrolled with a second adoption agency.

A few months later, as I was getting ready to try IVF for the first time, I received a phone call to let me know that a woman had selected me to adopt her child. So I opted out of IVF and found myself in a hospital delivery room with the birth mother, assisting her in the delivery of MY child. It was a boy! I was so thrilled, and he was just adorable.

After six years of losses and disappointments, I was able to bring him home and awaited the final word that the mother and father have given the needed consent. I was getting ready to watch the Super Bowl with him dressed in football gear, I got a phone call.

Once again, the adoption agency informed me that the birth mother had changed her mind. That evening, I had to return the baby to his birth mom. I was heartbroken, and my hopes were shattered.

What now? Going back to IVF meant starting from scratch, and that would take a minimum of six months before being able to really start getting pregnant. I was 49 years old, and the clock was ticking. I really wanted to be a mom by the age of 50.

I was in Chicago, recovering from a collapsed lung, when I received yet another phone call from the adoption agency. An expecting mom had chosen me and had already signed over all of her rights. This little girl was mine. For real, this time. But I had to get to Southern New Jersey by Thursday to pick her up from the hospital.

After negotiating with my doctor to give me the green light to leave while recovering from my condition, I hopped on a train, and 22 hours later, I arrived to New York City in a massive snow storm. I took longer than expected to get to her, but after navigating the icy roads of New Jersey, I met my daughter!

She is now 2 years old, and she has changed my life in ways that just can't be fully described. What I can say is that I now understand my mother's love even more and her devotion to me and my siblings, and as I am sharing the same with my daughter, my bond to my mother keeps on growing.

Becoming a mom at 49 was never what I had envisioned. But whether you are trying to conceive or have decided to adopt a child, the road to becoming a parent is rarely easy. I know that inner strength and believing in what was meant to be kept me moving forward.

Life
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.