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134 Kids and Teen Book Recommendations from State Libraries

134 Kids and Teen Book Recommendations from State Libraries

The Library of Congress has an annual book festival where, among other things, all 50 states and the US territories are invited to have a table and promote their state literacy programs. Every state has their own “center for the book” that selects notable books about the state and/or by state authors, although not all are online. Since I think that’s pretty cool and it can be hard to find good books, I’m including links here, by state, to the lists I brought home and haven’t lost yet.

The headers are clickable links to state Centers. Some states have many books listed, others may only have one or two. That is simply a reflection of the information available on a single day at a single event, and of what I brought home and didn’t lose. In other words, just because only one or two books are listed here doesn’t mean a state doesn’t have a huge list of great writers and books on their website. Check out the sites!


If these were from a particular state, I lost track of which one.

  • 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson (young adult series)


  • Through the Storm Towards the Sun by Carol Feller Brady
  • Attu Boy, A Young Alaskan’s WWII Memoir by Nick Golodoff
  • Cold River Spirits: Whispers from a Family’s Forgotten Past by Jan Harper-Haines
  • Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People by Willie Hensley
  • Shadows on the Koyukuk: An Alaskan Native’s Life Along the River by Sidney Huntington and Jim Rearden
  • Alaska’s Daughter: An Eskimo Memoir of the 20th Century by Elizabeth Pinson
  • Raising Ourselves: A Gwich’in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River by Velma Wallis


These are Teen Book Award nominees. The first group is for youth in grades seven through nine.

  • The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
  • Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
  • Bad Girls of Fashion: Style Rebels from Cleopatra to Lady Gaga by Jennifer Croll
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  • Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
  • Front Lines by Michael Grant
  • Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
  • The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
  • The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
  • Compass South by Hope Larson
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
  • The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero by Patricia McCormick
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • All We Have Left by Wendy Mills
  • Never Missing, Never Found by Amanda Panitch
  • Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  • Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
  • shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

This second group of titles is intended for youth in grades ten through twelve.

  • The Memory Book by Lara Avery
  • Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti
  • Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
  • The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
  • The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
  • Lucky Penny by Anath Hirsh
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
  • My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
  • Monstress by Marjorie Liu
  • You Were Here by Cori McCarthy
  • The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda
  • The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Barzelay
  • The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
  • American Girls by Alison Umminger
  • My Name is Not Friday by Jan Walter
  • Bluescreen by Dan Wells
  • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner


Island Heritage publishes a lot of picture books set in Hawaii and our family loves them.


  • Mumbo Jumbo, Stay Out of the Gumbo by Johnette Downing


In addition to the specific titles listed below, Ashley Bryan, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Rachel Field, and Paul Janezko are recommended children’s poets.

  • Miss Rumphius, Island Boy, and Hattie and the Wild Waves by Barbara Cooney (picture books)
  • Hardscrabble Harvest, Brwon Cow Farm: A Counting Book, and Lobsterman by Dahlov Ipcar (picture books)
  • Blueberries for Sal, Time of Wonder, and One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey (picture books)
  • A Beach for the Birds and Going on a Whale Watch by Bruce McMillan (picture books)
  • Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life’s Song by Ashley Bryan and Bill McGuinness (chapter books)
  • Endgame by Nancy Garden (chapter books)
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose (chapter books)
  • The Lobster War by Ethan Howland (chapter books)
  • Country Girl, City Girl by Lisa Jahn-Clough (chapter books)
  • Sand Dollar Summer by Kimberly Jones (chapter books)
  • Rules by Cynthia Lord (chapter books)
  • Messenger by Lois Lowry (sequel to The Giver) (chapter books)
  • Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt (chapter books)
  • Something about America by Maria Testa (chapter books)
  • Finest Kind by Lea Wait (chapter books)
  • The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizbeth Coatsworth (classics)
  • Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler as told to Joseph Egan (classics)
  • Calico Bush and Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (classics)
  • A Penny for a Hundred by Ethel Pochocki (classics)
  • Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter & Connie Roop (classics)
  • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (classics)
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (classics)
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglass Wiggin (classics)


  • Band Geek by Josie Bloss
  • Cheating Lessons by Nan Willard Cappo
  • Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Jason and Kyra by Dana Davidson
  • Played by Dana Davidson
  • *Who’s Jim Hines? by Jean Alicia Elster
  • Willow Run by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • Chasing Tail Lights by Patrick Jones
  • Cheated, Nailed, and Things Change by Patrick Jones
  • Blood is Thicker by Paul Langan and D.M. Blackwell
  • Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories about Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka
  • Harry Sue by Sue Stauffacher
  • Sister to the Wolf  by Maxine Trottier
  • *Summer of the War by Gloria Whelan
  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

*Michigan Notable Book Award Winner


  • Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian (picture book)
  • The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey (middle grade)
  • The Memory Book by Lara Avery (young adult)


  • All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
  • Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith
  • The Bell in the Bridge by Ted Kooser
  • Bluestem by Frances Arrington
  • Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  • Dandelions by Eve Bunting
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
  • Heaven is for Real for Kids by Todd Burpo
  • Light on the Prairie: Solomon D. Butcher, Photographer of Nebraska’s Pioneer Days by Nancy Plain
  • Native American Doctor: The Story of Susan La Flesche Picotteby Jeri Ferris
  • The Only Alex Addleston in All These Mountains by James Solheim
  • The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
  • The Schoolchildren’s Blizzard by Marty Rhodes Figley
  • Simpson’s Sheep Just Want to Sleep by Bruce Arant
  • The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don’t Mind by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
  • Sky Sailors: True Stories of the Balloon Era by David L. Bristow
  • This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art o fJohn James Audubon by Nancy Plain
  • Willa: The Story of Willa Cather, an American Writer by Amy Ehrlich
  • Worth by A. LaFaye


Each of these authors has written many outstanding books.

  • R.L. Stine
  • Angela Johnson
  • Charles Chesnutt
  • Cynthia Rylant
  • Langston Hughess
  • Nikki Giovanni


  • Shine by William Bernhardt
  • The Boy Who Carried Bricks by Alton Carter
  • Ghostlight by Sonia Gensler
  • Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison
  • Bike on, Bear! by Cynthea Liu
  • The Apple Tree by Sandy Tharp-Thee


  • How to Be An Indian in the 21st Century by Louis V. Clark III
  • Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir by Thomas Pecore Wesco
  • Old Farm Country Cookbook: Recipes, Menus, and Memories by Jerry Apps adn Susan Apps-Bodily
  • Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail by Melanie Radzicki McManus

I hope you find something of interest in this massive, overwhelming list of books.


The Wise Mom (Liz Long) and the Wise Dad have two sons, who are currently in middle and high school. She has published half a dozen books including "The Constitution: It's the OS for the US", a YA zombie series, and a series on survival skills (including laundry, hygiene, and budgeting, as well as outdoor and emergency skills). She also blogs on TheModerateMom.com and contributes to TheSurvivalMom.com.

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