Wow! This book has it all when it comes to setting and our reading challenge–geography, history, all the different people who make up Hawaii–and the setting is so integral to the story! So many aspects of the story are uniquely Hawaiian, there’s nowhere else it could be set. I am reading my way across the […]

This was a really nice book, and a great opening for Hawaii! It’s not only the story of Spencer taking care of his dying mother, it also tells the story of how he unexpectedly went from being the middle son to being the only son. The childhood flashbacks take place in the 1950s and 1960s, […]

This was the one I was waiting for! This has been the best one by far for Idaho. The characters are real–and not just because many of them are historical figures–multi-faceted, flawed, real human beings. Yes, there is racism and discrimination, but there are also people who connect on a personal level with the main […]

Idaho has been full of odd contrasts. Ruth Ozeki’s All Over Creation was preachy and full of shallow stereotypes of Idaho and its people. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson was a depressing, maddening, but lovely bit of prose that (hopefully) is not terribly revealing about the people of Idaho while being full of gorgeous descriptions of […]

My dad is a history buff, and one of his areas of interest is the conflicts between Native Americans and the pioneers and settlers who took over their land. He always takes the side of the Native Americans. One of his heroes is the great Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph, who led the United States […]

This was a last minute addition, and I’m really glad I found it–Casanova does a really nice job with the northern Minnesota setting in her Young Adult novel Frozen. I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books from each state, with an emphasis on setting–books where the setting is really tangible, and […]

This was a pretty good book, introducing a historical figure (Nathaniel Bowditch) that I wasn’t familiar with, and some great information about navigation. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (1955) was also a decent choice for my Massachusetts list of books–not quite so much for the setting itself, as for the history. I […]

In the early- to mid-1990s, I lived in Massachusetts, outside of Lawrence, along New Hampshire’s tiny coastal strip, and worked for a Girl Scout council on the North Shore, which included Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn, Salem, Marblehead and Gloucester. I also did an internship a bit to the west, around Worcester. What I remember the […]

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata is my Young Readers choice for Georgia. It’s a Newberry Award winner, and very reminiscent of Bento Box in the Heartland, by Linda Furiya, which we read in Indiana. I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books from each state, with an emphasis on books where the setting […]

Georgia’s on my mind. We spent so much time in California, with 13 books read (!), that I knew I had to head somewhere completely different–and soon! So I decided to head to the Deep South. But what to do when I’ve already read most of the books that top everyone’s list for Georgia? Gone […]