First of a new project – Read Your Way Through Fifty States!


 images-1 Enchanted Learning has basic information on the state of Vermont, a state map, and assorted printable quizzes, coloring pages, and activity sheets aimed at elementary-level kids. The info is free to all; some printouts are only available to site members. An annual membership costs $20.
 images-2 The Vermont Historical Society sponsors both the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier and the Vermont Heritage Galleries in Barre. Visit the website for information on visits, as well as a wealth of information, online exhibits and photo galleries, research resources, and educational resources for kids – including over 200 printable articles, primary resources, maps and photographs, and an illustrated timeline of Vermont history.
 images-3 At the official Vermont State website, see the Historic Sites page for information on all Vermont historic sites, as well as Vermont archaeology, cultural landscapes, roadside historic markers (all 210 of them), and upcoming history-related events. Find out how to take a state History Trek!
 images By Ann McKinstry Micou, A Guide to Fiction Set in Vermont (Vermont Humanities Council, 2005) is an annotated guide to nearly 500 novels and short stories set in Vermont. Listings are alphabetical, by author. Reference.

READ! For Kids and Teens

 images-5 Caldecott medalist Mary Azarian’s A Farmer’s Alphabet (David R. Godine, 2012) has a wonderful woodblock print for each Vermont-themed letter of the alphabet from Apple through Lamb, Maple Syrup, Pumpkin, Rocker, and Zinnia. J is for Jump (as in the hay). For ages 3 and up.
 imgres By Woody Jackson, A Cow’s Alfalfa-Bet (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2003) is a Vermont Holstein-cow-themed alphabet book illustrated with gorgeous watercolors. (A is for Alfalfa, B for Barn, C for Corn.) For ages 3 and up.
 images-6 For many many cow books and resources for all ages, also see MOO! ALL ABOUT COWS.
 imgres-1 Cynthia Furlong Reynolds’s M is for Maple Syrup: A Vermont Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2002) pairs (well, pretty lame) verses (“Alphabet and Animal begin with A/Our state animal says neigh-neigh!”) with illustrations and informative sidebars. Each letter stands for a Vermont feature: B is for (covered) Bridge; L for Lake Champlain; R for Red Clover. For ages 4 and up.
 imgres-2 “Nothing is more important on this farm than hay,” Nora’s grandfather says. In Jessie Haas’s Hurry! (Greenwillow, 2000), set on an old-fashioned Vermont family farm, Nora and her grandparents hustle to load their wagon and bring in the hay before the storm breaks. Other picture-book stories about Nora, her grandparents, and their farm include Mowing (1994), No Foal Yet (1995), and Sugaring (1996). For ages 4-8.
 imgres-3 The year is 1790, the first U.S. Census is underway, and not everybody is pleased about it. In Jacqueline Davis’s clever picture book Tricking the Tallyman (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009), when census-taker Phinease Bump rides into ‘Tunbridge, Vermont, the nervous citizens do their best to fool him into thinking that there are far fewer (or many more) of them than there really are. Finally, when they come to understand what the census is all about, they consent to be counted “Fair and true.” For ages 5-9.
From the Teaching American History Project, Tricking the Tallyman and the First U.S. Census is a lesson plan based on the book, targeted at grade 5.
 imgres-4 The Vermont Folklife Center has a series of books based on the Center’s historical oral storytelling collection for ages 6-10. Among these are Mildred Pitts Walker’s Alec’s Primer (2005), the story of a young Virginia slave boy, taught to read by his owner’s granddaughter, who escapes from his southern plantation, serves in the Union army, and eventually ends up living free on a farm in Vermont. See the website for a complete list of books with descriptions.
 images-7 Kathryn Lasky’s Newbery Honor book Sugaring Time (Aladdin, 1986) is the story of a Vermont farm family making maple syrup, illustrated with wonderful period black-and-white photographs. This is old-fashioned sugaring: Lasky’s family uses horses, sleighs, and sap buckets. For ages 6-12.
 imgres-5 In Natalie Kinsey-Warnock’s The Canada Geese Quilt (Puffin, 2000), set on a farm in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, ten-year-old Ariel is having trouble coping with the changes in her family – first, with her mother’s pregnancy, and then with her beloved grandmother’s stroke and subsequent depression. The resolution ultimately comes from the Canada Geese quilt that Grandma was making for the baby before her stroke, based on a drawing of Ariel’s of a Vermont spring. Ariel – who hadn’t wanted to have anything to do with sewing the quilt – volunteers to help finish it. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-6 A Moose for Jessica by Pat Wakefield and Larry Carrara (Puffin, 1992) is the (true) story of a young bull moose who wandered into a field near Shrewsbury, Vermont, and became attached to a Hereford cow named Jessica. Illustrated with great color photographs. An NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book for ages 7-12.
 imgres-7 Alice Turner Curtis’s A Little Maid of Ticonderoga (Applewood Books, 1997) – one of a series originally published in the early 20th century – is the story of young Faith Carew, growing up on a farm outside of Brandon, Vermont, who manages to give Colonel Ethan Allen help in capturing Fort Ticonderoga. For ages 8-11.
 images-8 In Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s Understood Betsy (Avyx, 1986), first published in 1916, Elizabeth Ann, aged nine, is an orphan, living with her over-protective Great-Aunt Harriet and Harriet’s middle-aged daughter, Frances. When Great-Aunt Harriet becomes ill, Elizabeth Ann is sent to live with another set of relatives, the Putneys, on their “horrible” farm in Vermont. There, now called Betsy, she discovers a competence and independence that she’d never known before. Fans of Anne of Green Gables will love it. A classic for ages 8-11.
 images-9 In Marguerite Henry’s Newbery Honor book Justin Morgan Had a Horse (Aladdin, 2006), set in the late 18th century, Justin Morgan, in payment for a debt, gets a small, scrawny colt, Little Bub. He enlists the help of young horse-lover Joel Goss to train his colt – and soon Joel discovers that Little Bub is truly special, stronger and faster than any horse around. Eventually Little Bub becomes the sire of Vermont’s famous Morgan horse line. For ages 8-12.
 images-10 For more information on Morgan horses, visit the National Museum of the Morgan Horse.
 imgres-8 In Julia Alvarez’s How Tia Lola Came to Stay (Yearling, 2002), nine-year-old Miguel with his little sister, Juanita, and his mother have just moved from New York to Vermont in the wake of his parents’ divorce. Miguel – the only Latino in his class – struggles to fit in, and worries that things will only get worse with the arrival of his flamboyant Tia Lola from the Dominican Republic, who wears wildly flowered dresses, speaks only Spanish, and paints the family’s conventionally white farmhouse bright purple. For ages 8-12.
 images-11 Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 classic Pollyanna (Empire Books, 2012) is the story of the perennially cheerful 11-year-old orphan sent to Vermont to live with her strict and unsympathetic Aunt Polly. Her upbeat disposition wins the hears of all around her,  including, eventually, Aunt Polly. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-9 Robert Newton Peck’s Soup (Yearling, 1988) is the story of Peck’s rural Vermont childhood in the 1920’s with his best friend, Soup, whose creative ideas for adventures often go dreadfully wrong. Included is a great cast of characters, including their sworn enemy, the female class bully, Janice Riker. There are many sequels, all great, among them Soup & Me, Soup for President, Soup’s Drum, and Soup on Wheels. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-10 Lenore Blegvad’s Kitty and Mr. Kipling (Margaret K. McElderry, 2005), set in the 1890s, is a fictionalized story of writer Rudyard Kipling’s stay in Vermont, as told by Kitty, a young neighbor. Kitty is fascinated by Mr. Kipling and his stories from The Jungle Book, but the townspeople have problems with the new residents. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-12 Gail Gauthier’s The Hero of Ticonderoga (Puffin, 2002), set in small-town Vermont in the 1960s, is the story of sixth-grader Tessy LeClerc, who has been given the best class history assignment – an oral report on Ethan Allen – a project that was expected to go to the entitled class star, Peggy. Tessy ends up giving her report over and over again, trying to get it right – and discovering in the process both her own talents and many surprising parallels between herself and the feisty hero of Ticonderoga. For ages 10-12.
 imgres-13 In Katherine Paterson’s Preacher’s Boy (HarperCollins, 2001), the year is 1899 and in Robbie’s rural Vermont community, many think that the turn of the century may mean the end of the world. This is a complex coming-of-age story as Robbie struggles with questions of belief, social change, morality, and growing up. For ages 10-12.
 imgres-14 In Katherine Paterson’s Jip, His Story (Puffin, 2005), set in Vermont in the 1850s, the title character is a 12-year-old orphan, living and working at the local poor farm, where he befriends a fellow resident, Putnam Nelson, a supposed lunatic. Jip’s story coincides with the pre-Civil-War conflict between abolitionists and slave owners. When he eventually discovers that his mother was a slave, he and Put escape, fleeing to Canada via the Underground Railroad. For ages 10-14.
 imgres-15 Elizabeth Winthrop’s Counting on Grace (Yearling, 2007) is set in Pownal, Vermont, in 1910, where 12-year-old Grace and her best friend Arthur have been taken out of school and sent to help their mothers in the textile mills. With the help of a sympathetic teacher, Miss Lesley, they write a letter about the appalling conditions in the mill to the National Child Labor Committee – and get a response in the form of (real-life) activist/photographer Lewis Hine, who arrives to photograph the “mill rats” at work. Arthur eventually deliberately mangles his hand in the factory machinery in an attempt to escape the mill; and Miss Lesley is fired, though leaves Grace with the hope of becoming a teacher in her stead. A terrific, though sometimes painful, read about child labor. For ages 11-14.
 imgres-16 In Karen Hesse’s Witness (Scholastic, 2003), set in 1924 in a small Vermont town, the Ku Klux Klan has moved in, a frightening event for many, among them 12-year-old Leonora, who is black, and six-year-old Esther, who is Jewish. The book is beautifully written in multiple voices, in free verse. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-17 Set in the 1920s in rural Vermont, Robert Newton Peck’s A Day No Pigs Would Die (Laurel Leaf, 1994) is a powerful coming-of-age novel featuring 13-year-old Robert, his father, a pig butcher, and Robert’s pet pig, Pinky. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-18 Beth Kanell’s Darkness Under the Water (Candlewick, 2008) is the coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Molly Ballou, half Abenaki, half French Canadian, growing up in Vermont in the early 20th century at a time when a state eugenics program was targeting citizens deemed poor or undesirable. Molly has to deal with her heritage, her growing affection for an Abenaki boy, Henry, and the tragedy of her pregnant mother, who loses a baby, possibly at the hands of government nurses. For ages 14 and up.
 imgres-19 Sinclair Lewis’s classic novel It Can’t Happen Here (NAL Trade, 2005), originally published in 1935 and set in the era of the Great Depression, is still relevant, compelling, and frightening today. A new president – Berzelius (“Buzz”) Windrip – has just been elected, promising economic reform and a return to patriotism and traditional American values. Instead, he imposes a totalitarian regime, takes control of Congress, outlaws dissent, and begins to enforce his edicts by means of a paramilitary terrorist force called the Minute Men. Many Americans accept Windrip’s rule, believing it to be America’s path to world power. In opposition, however, is courageous Vermont newspaper editor Doremus Jessup. It’s a sobering account of how easy freedom is to lose. Highly recommended (and a great discussion book) for teenagers and adults.
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