Spring Cleaning and Children’s Books by States

This weekend I was doing a spring-cleaning project (more about that below) and found some books that would also be appropriate for Women’s History Month. The books highlight the lives of Helen Keller, Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin.  Do you know what these women have in common?

Maybe this will give you a hint:

Alabama_quarter,_reverse_side,_2003They are all from Alabama!

Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares is a picture book biography that uses quotations from Helen Keller to tell her own story. It is enhanced by big, beautiful illustrations.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (October 16, 2012)
ISBN-10: 078680890X
ISBN-13: 978-0786808908

Time For Kids: Rosa Parks: Civil Rights Pioneer (Time for Kids Biographies) by Editors of TIME For Kids with Karen Kellaher covers the life of Rosa Parks. The central theme is how she came to be an icon for civil rights.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (December 26, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0060576243
ISBN-13: 978-0060576240

Edit to add:

Rosa’s Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights by Jo S. Kittinger and illustrated by Steven Walker

With a focus on the events that swirled around bus #2857 during the 1950s in Montgomery, Alabama, Kittinger reveals a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights movement.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Publisher: Calkins Creek (October 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1590787226
ISBN-13: 978-1590787229



Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose was a Sibert honor winner in 2010. Before Rosa Parks, there was a teenager named Claudette Colvin who also refused to go to the back of the bus. With her role in history largely forgotten, Philip Hoose brings her back to her proper place.


S0, what is the spring-cleaning project? I am working on the Wrapped in Foil website Reading Across the States. I started with the first state in the alphabetical list, Alabama.

Background:  A few years ago a friend of mine was planning a trip across the United States with her children and she wanted suggestions for books to read on the trip. Taking up the challenge, I created a list of children’s books for each of the states. Thinking others might benefit from my research, I have since developed a website that I update from time to time. Right now the nonfiction sections of each page in particular could use some revising.


Some other nonfiction books I found set in or about the state of Alabama:

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March (Jane Addams Award Book by Cynthia Levinson tells the unpublicized story of the 4,000 black students who went to jail voluntarily in Birmingham, Alabama, between in May 1963 to fight segregation.

Ages 10 +
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1561456276
ISBN-13: 978-1561456277


Alabama (From Sea to Shining Sea, Second) by Kathy Feeney is an informational book with maps, history, landmarks, natural resources, recipes and everything else you would expect to describe a state. It also contains a nice timeline of events that shaped Alabama.

Age Range: 8 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (September 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0531208001
ISBN-13: 978-0531208007


Alabama (Hello USA) by Dottie Brown also has maps, songs, and recipes, as well as colorful photographs.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: First Avenue Editions; 2 edition (October 2001)
ISBN-10: 0822541432
ISBN-13: 978-0822541431

Alabama (This Land Is Your Land) by Ann Heinrichs is organized into sections for ease of finding information.  It describes the history of Alabama, starting with the Native Americans. It also contains information about jobs, cultural life and significant landmarks.

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Compass Point Books (September 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0756503329
ISBN-13: 978-0756503321

Alabama Facts and Symbols (The States and Their Symbols) by Emily McAuliffe is for the slightly younger reader. This title really focuses on the symbols for the state such as its name, flag and nickname. Other symbols covered include state tree, insect and reptile.

Ages 4-8
Publisher: Social Studies Collections; Rev Upd edition (September 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0736822313
ISBN-13: 978-0736822312


Y is for Yellowhammer: An Alabama Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press) by Carol Crane and illustrated by Ted Burn features people and landmarks from throughout Alabama, Y is for Yellowhammer uses a two level approach to appeal to a wider range of ages.




Are you reading doing a unit on Alabama or want to take a trip there? The Alabama Department of Archives and History has youth activity sheets, plus a wealth of other information under the “Education” tab.

Are you from Alabama? I could use your help to make this resource as useful as possible. Do you have any books or other resources to suggest for this list?  If you chose, please leave a comment. If you have reviewed books about or set in Alabama, feel free to leave a link as well. Thank you.


Disclosures:  I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

2 Replies to “Spring Cleaning and Children’s Books by States”

  1. Hi there! My dear friend, Jo Kittinger and also my dear friend, Lori Nichols, both have wonderful children’s books that are about things in Alabama. Take a look! Thanks! -irene (Plus, ask Jo to tell you her other friends who have written books that take place in Alabama. I can’t even remember all of them but there are several.) You can google both Jo and Lori and also find them on Facebook. I hope this helps! Thanks for all you are doing! -irene page!

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