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Aloha, Hawaii!

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I started this list because of all the buzz about Moana; while I realize that film is not totally rooted in Hawaiian culture, I wanted my children to have a deeper understanding of the rich history of one of the Polynesian islands than a single film (however dominant in the marketplace) could provide. What follows is a list that delves into the historical, geological, and mythological stories of Hawaii. There are stories that focus on native peoples, colonialism, Pearl Harbor, and President Obama, as well as tales that tell of contemporary, everyday life on the islands. There are stories of the volcanoes and wildlife that make the islands unique. And there are, of course, stories from the mythological tradition (many about Maui that, my elder daughter noted, did not make it into the Disney movie). As always, I appreciate the interdisciplinary approach of this list and the way it illustrates a place with a rich history that is by no means confined to the past.

  1. A is for Aloha: A Hawai’i Alphabet by U’ilani Goldsberry and Tammy Yee
  2. The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit Maui! by Lisa Manzione and Kristine Lucco
  3. Aloha Is… by Tammy Paikai and Rosalie Prussing
  4. Children of Hawaii by Frank Staub
  5. Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan and Lillian Hsu-Flanders
  6. Goodnight Hawaiian Moon by Dr. Carolan and Joanna F. Carolan
  7. Grandma Calls Me Beautiful by Barbara Joosse and Barbara Lavallee
  8. Listen to Hawaiian Playground by Putumayo Kids Presents
  9. Hawai’i: The Aloha State by Jill Foran
  10. Hawaii: The Aloha State by Emily Oachs
  11. The Hawai’i Snowman by Christine Lê and Michel Lê
  12. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by M.C. Hall
  13. How Māui Slowed the Sun by Suelyn Ching Tune and Robert Yoko Burningham
  14. Hula Lullaby by Erin Eitter Kono
  15. The Last Princess: The Story of Princess Ka’iulani of Hawai’i by Fay Stanley and Diane Stanley
  16. The Legend of the Kukui Nut by Robert Brandon Henderson and Mark McKenna
  17. Legends of Landforms: Native American Lore and the Geology of the Land by Carole G. Vogel
  18. Little Princess Ka’iulani in Her Garden in the Sea by Ellie Crowe and Mary Koski
  19. Māui and the Secret of Fire by Suelyn Ching Tune and Robert Yoko Burningham
  20. The Menehune of Naupaka Village: A Hawaiian Fairy Tale by Christopher Sur and Gary Kato
  21. The Musubi Man: Hawai’i’s Gingerbread Man by Sandi Takayama and Pat Hall
  22. Pearl Harbor by Stephen Krensky and Larry Day
  23. Pele and Poli’ahu: A Tale of Fire and Ice by Malia Collins and Kathleen Peterson
  24. Pele and the Rivers of Fire by Michael Nordenstrom
  25. Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai’i by Gerald McDermott
  26. A President from Hawai’i by Dr. Terry Carolan, Joanna Carolan, and Elizabeth Zunon
  27. Punia and the King of Sharks: A Hawaiian Folktale by Lee Wardlaw and Felipe Davalos
  28. South Pacific Mythology by Jim Ollhoff
  29. The Story of Hula by Carla Golembe
  30. The Surprising Things Maui Did by Jay Williams and Charles Mikolaycak
  31. Tales of Tutu Nene and Nele by Gale Bates and Carole Hinds McCarty
  32. Tsunami: The True Story of an April Fools’ Day Disaster by Gail Langer Karwoski and John MacDonald
  33. The Woman in the Moon: A Story from Hawai’i by Jama Kim Rattigan and Carla Golembe
  34. Young Princesses around the World: A Story Based on the Real Life of Princess Liliuokalani of Hawaii by Joan Holub and Nonna Aleshina
  35. Who Is Barack Obama? by Roberta Edwards and John O’Brien
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From Sea to Shining Sea: The U.S.A.

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To complement our unit on New York, we looked more broadly at the United States, too. The goal of this list was to provide an overview of the geography of the fifty states and a brief introduction to how the states got started. There are so many directions we can explore from this list, but my purpose here was to give my girls a sweeping view of our country so we can dig into the details later, from sea to shining sea.

  1. The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan and Sol Linero
  2. Celebrate the 50 States by Loreen Leedy
  3. Complete Melissa and Doug’s Wooden Fifty States Puzzle (pictured)
  4. Exploration and Conquest: The Americas after Columbus (1500-1620) by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro
  5. Greetings from the 50 States: How They Got Their Names by Sheila Keenan and Selina Alko
  6. Home: A Journey Through America by Thomas Locker
  7. The New Americans: Colonial Times (1620-1689) by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro
  8. The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller
  9. The Scrambled States of America Talent Show by Laurie Keller
  10. Watch Scholastic’s The Scrambled States of America
  11. What Is the Statue of Liberty? by Joan Holub and John Hinderliter
  12. What Was Ellis Island? by Patricia Brennan Demuth and David Groff
  13. The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide by Millie Miller and Cyndi Nelson
  14. United Tweets of America: 50 State Birds by Hudson Talbott
  15. Listen to Wee Sing America

 

 


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New York, New York: A Helluva State

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I’ve lived in New York for nearly a decade now, though I’ve never been to New York City during that time. I know…I know. I’m not exactly a city girl. This list includes the glamorous, bustling Big Apple, but, like my experience, it showcases the rest of this great state, too. From history to politics to classics in American literature to landmark environmental movements, this list illustrates the richness of New York. And while I haven’t taken my girls to Times Square…yet, they’re just as excited about the big city as they are about Niagara Falls and the rolling farmland closer to home. I hope you enjoy this list, and I hope it helps you see the Empire State in a new way, too.

  1. Blizzard! by Jim Murphy
  2. Celebrating New York by Marion Dane Bauer and C.B. Canga
  3. Christmas in New York City: Adventures of Bella and Harry by Lisa Manzione and Kristine Lucco
  4. The Christmas Tugboat: How the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Came to New York City by George Matteson, Adele Ursone, and James E. Ransome
  5. Color Crayola’s New York shape and flag
  6. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden and Garth Williams
  7. E is for Empire: A New York State Alphabet by Ann E. Burg and Maureen K. Brookfield
  8. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  9. Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman
  10. Good Night, New York City by Adam Gamble and Joe Veno
  11. Good Night, New York State by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper
  12. Historic Houses of New York State by A.G. Smith
  13. Hudson by Janice Weaver and David Craig
  14. In New York by Marc Brown
  15. The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward
  16. Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt by Judith St. George and Britt Spencer
  17. Mirette & Bellini Cross Niagara Falls by Emily Arnold McCully
  18. New York: The Empire State by Margery Facklam, Peggy Thomas, and Jon Messer
  19. New York, New York! The Big Apple from A-Z by Laura Krauss Melmed and Frané Lessac
  20. Old Penn Station by William Low
  21. Rip Van Winkle’s Return by Eric A. Kimmel and Leonard Everett Fisher
  22. River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River by Hudson Talbott
  23. Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building by Deborah Hopkinson and James Ransome
  24. This is New York by M. Sasek
  25. A Walk in New York by Salvatore Rubbino
  26. What Is the Statue of Liberty? by Joan Holub and John Hinderliter
  27. What Was Ellis Island? by Patricia Brennan Demuth and David Groff
  28. Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt? by Gare Thompson and Elizabeth Wolf
  29. Who Was Franklin Roosevelt? by Margaret Frith and John O’Brien