Read Aloud books for big US roadtrip

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  • Sandi Luciano

    Hi!  I am a new homeschooling mom.  I am homeschooling my 2 older boys this year.  Ages 7.5 and 6.  We also have a 3.5 year old.  For about 3 months our family will be on the road on a big roadtrip all over the US.  I was thinking it would be fun to coordinate our family read alouds with the area we are in the US.  We will be starting in the North Midwest and going east to DC area.  Then we’ll go down the East coast until Georgia.  Then we will cut through the South to go to Colorado.  Finally we will go up the midwest.

    Since we will be traveling so much, I was hoping to get a long list of read alouds that would work for our travels, but have the list be long enough that I can pick and choose depending which titles are available via Overdrive and ebook borrow from the library (as I was hoping to use the library and ebooks due to the travel schedule).

    Suggestions and book ideas?


    Discover America ABC series, like K is for Keystone for Pennsylvania, P is for Peach for Georgia, O is for Old Dominion for Virginia, etc.  Kindle has ebooks available.

    Wish You Were Here by Kathleen Krill, guide to the 50 states

    It Happened in America by Lila Perl, true stories from the fifty states

    Georgia: Pink and Say by Polacco (author has many titles with Michigan setting too.)

    Kentucky: Daniel Boone bio.

    Illinois: Abraham Lincoln bio.

    Maryland: Aunt Flossie’s Hats by Howard, Clara and the Bookwagon by Levinson

    Wisconsin: Caddie Woodlawn, Rascal by North, Little House in the Big Woods, The Raft by LaMarche

    Missouri and Kansas: Little House series by Wilder

    West Virginia: When I was Young in the Mountains by Rylant

    Ohio: Johnny Appleseed, Lentil by McCloskey, Warm as Wool by Sanders

    Virginia:  There are lots of History books on Colonial Williamsburg and the people who were there, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington (and their homes you can tour), Patrick Henry, etc.  I could spend three months touring only this state!

    Colorado: Boss of the Plains by Carlson, Prairie School by Avi

    It sounds like a wonderful, educational trip you have planned.  I wish you happy and safe travels!


    Pennsylvania: Homespun Sarah by Verla Kay, The Cabin Faced West by Fritz, Story of William Penn by Aliki, Chocolate by Hershey by Burford, Benjamin Franklin bio.

    Oklahoma: Dust for Dinner by Ann Turner, Bluestem Horizon: A Story of a Tallgrass Prairie by Lee (Nature Conservancy)

    Nebraska: Dandelions by Eve Bunting

    West Virginia: More Than Anything Else by Bradby (9 yo Booker T Washington at salt mines)

    South Carolina: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Hill

    The South: Follow the Drinking Gourd, The Gold Cadillac by Mildred D. Taylor, The Story of Ruby Bridges, Rosa’ s Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights,

    From “On My Own” History/Bio. Readers:

    Minnesota: Clouds of Terror

    Kentucky & Colorado: Aunt Clara Brown, Official Pioneer

    Iowa: Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express

    North Carolina: Rescue on the Outer Banks

    Virginia: Willie McLean and the Civil War Surrender

    Pennsylvania: Saving the Liberty Bell

    DC: Washington is Burning



    The Scrambled States of America by Deborah Short is a fun one, as well as the accompanying card game. A great app game is Stack the States.

    Hope your trip is lots of fun. When I was 11, my family helped my cousins on a cross country move, and I have so many great memories of that trip!

    Sandi Luciano

    Thank you very much!  These are very helpful.  I noticed that the Discovery America State by State series is on kindle unlimited!  So that might be a great way for me to have access to all of those books while we are traveling.

    I am just now starting to read about narration and how to incorporate it into your homeschooling.  I have the narration book from SCM.  I was wondering… do you think these state by state books or the “It Happened in America” by Lila Perl are good living books to tend itself for narration for my kids?  We are just starting out with narration so I guess you are suppose to pick a good living book and start out with small passages.


    Sandi Luciano

    At first I was daunted by the thought of such a big roadtrip.  But then I talked with a lot of other people, some who grew up with memories of large roadtrips, and they said it was some of their most cherished memories of their youth.  🙂



    The Discover America State books are abc books.  They have nice illustrations and rhyming text of four lines per letter.  Then there is a side bar for more detailed information, which your oldest might be ready for.  My 10 yo reads these to herself and then we discuss what she remembers, which is not everything she read.  But you could try oral narrations immediately after one or two pages, just starting out.  You could read the rhyming text out loud to all of your children, then have your oldest read the extra sidebar text or read it to him.  You need a USA map or children atlas as, surprisingly,  no maps are included in these state geography books.  Scrambled States mentioned above could work for this.  They have a card game, too, by the same name for age 8+.

    It Happened in America has more of a story than the Discover America alphabet series.  It has just a few small b&w drawings compared to the beautiful full-color large illustrations in Discover America. .  It is better for older children, possibly your 7.5 yo.  Amazon suggests age 9-12.  He could narrate after one or two paragraphs and build up from that.

    I found two more historical fiction picture books for Pennsylvania, available for kindle by Alane Adams: The Egg Thief and The Coal Thief.  I have not read them yet, but they look nice.

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