I love a good book that can transport me to another time and place. And nothing, but nothing, can beat a great story that has found its consummate reader. History lets us know how we got to today. History inspires, encourages and warns. History, especially when it comes alive through books and stories, can give us insight and understanding to the people and places in our lives.

As a project, I thought it would be fun to “travel” all 51 United States (I couldn’t leave out DC!) by audiobook. Are you taking a road trip to another state? Why not listen to a book that is set in that state? Maybe learn about some of that state’s history at the same time! Are you learning about historical events in school? Why not supplement that learning with a book that drops you right in the middle of those events?

I’m hoping to find audiobooks that appeal to a wide age-range, ideally from upper-elementary aged kids to teens and adults. I’ll keep the books fairly short so they can easily be completed in 1 week: A tour of all 50 states + DC in 1 year!

My criteria for choosing a book:

*It should accurately portray a physical sense of place: the climate, terrain, the type of community: small town, large city, wilderness, etc.

*It should accurately portray the culture of the time: the food and cooking, the clothing, social activities and past-times, the beliefs and social norms.

*I’m hoping to include lesser known historical events, people and places that impacted lives on a local level as well as examining how larger events affected individuals or families.

*It is my aim to provide a large variety of stories, so they’ll all have a different “feel” to them: slow, thoughtful books with lots to think about; laugh-out- loud humorous stories; fast-paced action books that have you hanging on to the edge of your chair; books that make you angry and take action; books that inspire you to learn more. But all of which bring a bit of history to life.

*I’m also hoping to bring lesser known but excellent books to your attention; perhaps the ones you may have overlooked.

*I’d love to hear about your recommendations and books you find worthwhile and excellent. What books brought U.S. history alive for you? Which books had you headed to the library (or the Internet) for further reading and information? Which narrators nailed the character and story?

Parents and teachers, which books got your kids excited about history and reading?