We spent the last month doing some American history, focusing on the start of the states. In the process, we came across a couple of interesting books that you could use to piece together American history from the formation of the states.
For an overview of key points for each state, try Our 50 States by Lynne Cheney. With its illustrations and little bits of information for each state, this book is designed for younger kids. Even so, older kids may enjoy picking up tidbits about each state.
From there, we used Greetings From The 50 States: How They Got Their Names by Sheila Keenan. It’s amazing how much history went into naming the different states. Much of it comes from Native American languages, which leads to a new avenue of study if you so choose. You also get a fair amount of British history that determined state names.
Finally, for the older kid or adult who wants to dig deeper, try How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein. Turns out, our state boundaries reflect all kinds of history – from wars to slavery to trade, all of it helped determined the borders of our states. So, if you want to learn American history in a more round-about way, try focusing on how states got the way they are today.
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