Booklist: Children's Books about the USA

USA

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Get ready for a road trip across the USA! Take in the sights and sounds of America, from skyscrapers and statues to canyons and coastlines. Learn about the varied geography of the 50 states of America, influential people from history and native American folklore. We've got the topic covered with our handpicked selection of recommended children's books for the USA topic.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The Good Thieves
Katherine Rundell
Chapter book

Set in 1920s New York during the American prohibition era. Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack's spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home.

She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Kamala Harris (Little People, Big Dreams)
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara & Lauren Semmer
Picturebook

Discover the incredible life of Kamala Harris, the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American to be elected vice president of the USA.
Little Kamala used to accompany her parents to civil rights marches in California, strapped into her pushchair so she wouldn’t get lost. From an early age, she dreamed of becoming a lawyer to help people in need. Kamala’s life was full of firsts, including becoming the first woman, Black woman, and South Asian American to be elected vice president. As Kamala stated to little girls everywhere in her speech – she may be the first but she won't be the last. This powerful book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the politician’s life.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
50 Adventures in the 50 States
Kate Siber & Lydia Hill
Non-fiction

This stunning book showcases an amazing adventure activity to try in every single state. 50 Adventures in the 50 States features gripping outdoors activities, vividly illustrated and described alongside fascinating facts about the nature and geography of each activity location - the very best the U.S.A. has to offer budding young adventurers!

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The 50 States
Gabrielle Balkan & Sol Linero
Non-fiction

In 51 charmingly illustrated infographic maps, explore every state of the USA from Alabama to Wyoming and the nation's capital to discover more than 2,000 facts that celebrate the people, cities, nature and historic events that have helped make America what it is today. You'll also get an expansive guide to the state flags and US presidents.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The Crow's Tale
Naomi Howarth
Picturebook

Inspired by a Lenape Native American myth, this poetic picturebook shows how courage and kindness are what really matter.

In the dark depths of winter, snow is falling and the animals are freezing and famished. Brave Crow sets out on a dangerous journey to find the Sun, and beg for warmth. Will Crow succeed, and what will happen to his colourful rainbow feathers?


Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Kidnap on the California Comet
M. G. Leonard, Sam Sedgman & Elisa Paganelli
Chapter book

Harrison Beck can't wait for the opportunity to go on another amazing train journey. So when his Uncle Nat invites him aboard the California Comet, the iconic three-day train journey from Chicago to San Francisco, he leaps at the chance to travel. But when the daughter of billionaire entrepreneur August Reza goes missing en route, Hal finds himself with another mystery to solve. Can he uncover the kidnapper before the journey's end?

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Abraham Lincoln
Jonathan Weil & John Aggs
Non-fiction

Meet Abraham Lincoln, the power-speaking president of the USA. He helped free millions of people from slavery, and his rags to riches tale is legendary.

Find out: How he came up with one of the best speeches ever given; How he got the nickname 'Spotty Lincoln; And how wrestling and crowd-surfing helped him win votes. With black-and-white illustrations on every spread, and lively interjections from each book’s subject, this series of biographies (from the editorial team behind the mega-bestselling Horrible Histories) aim to help readers see how ordinary individuals can grow up to do extraordinary things.


Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The Accidental President
Tom McLaughlin
Chapter book

On a visit to the US things take a strange turn for 12-year-old Ajay when, completely at random and totally by accident, he is sworn in as the new president. Well, I guess he can't be any worse than that guy who had the job before him, right? Wrong. It's quite easy for power to go to your head and Ajay, overwhelmed by it all, goes rogue. Soon he's too busy ordering sparkly capes and enforcing the new national spider plan to spot the dastardly plot unfolding right under his nose.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Little Bird Lands
Karen McCombie
Chapter book

A modern-day Little House on the Prairie, this is an exciting story of settling in the New World while still being haunted by everything you've left behind. The story follows one family’s journey from Scotland to America in search of a promised better life. Set in 1860s America against the backdrop of the American Civil War, the story also explores how  the influx of European immigrants in this period forced the Native American population to become displaced. 

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
National parks of the USA
Kate Siber & Chris Turnham
Non-fiction

Take a tour of America's great outdoors and discover the beauty and diversity of its most iconic and majestic national parks.  
Packed with maps and fascinating facts about the flora and fauna unique to each of the 21 parks portrayed , this lushly illustrated coast-to-coast journey documents in large format the nation's most magnificent and sacred places - and shows why they should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Trouble in New York
Sylvia Bishop
Chapter book

Jamie Creeden has always wanted to be a reporter - so when he is given a tour of the famous YORKER newspaper, he can't believe his luck. But a chance phone call draws him into the mystery of the missing actress. Soon Jamie, along with his new friends Eve and Rose, must navigate a tense world of infamous villains, double crosses and carefully planted clues - a world in which he can trust absolutely no one. He still longs to be on the front page - but at what cost? Set in 1960s New York, this is another beautifully written mystery from Sylvia Bishop with themes of fake news,  friendship and loyalty.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
The Wolves of Currumpaw
William Grill
Non-fiction

1892, New Mexico. A wolfpack roams the Currumpaw Valley, preying on the cattle and evading capture by the exasperated local ranchmen. Due to his knowledge of wolf behaviour, a British naturalist by the name of Ernest Thompson Seton is employed to hunt down their notorious pack leader, king Lobo…

A beautifully illustrated and moving re-telling of the first short story from Ernest Thompson Seton’s 1898 classic collection, ‘Wild Animals I Have Known’, this second book from award winner William Grill takes us back to the dying days of the old west.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Snow White in New York
Fiona French
Picturebook

This is a retelling of the tale of Snow White, transposed to New York in the 1920s. Snow White's wicked stepmother uses her position of influence in the city's underworld to contract the killing of Snow White. Snow White stumbles into a club where the seven jazz-men take pity on her and she joins their band. A reporter who hears her sing propels her into the headlines . . . but her fame puts her once again in the sights of her evil stepmother. She is poisoned with a cocktail cherry. A shocked city mourns the death of the beautiful and talented Snow White but as her coffin is carried up the church steps by the grief-stricken jazz-men, Snow White's eyes open and her gaze is met by the reporter. They fall in love and live happily ever after.

Fiona French's iconic re-imagining of a classic fairy tale, with stunning Art Deco illustrations, won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1986 and is a popular hit with KS2.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather

Trailblazers: Harriet Tubman
Sandra A. Agard
Non-fiction

How did Harriet Tubman help hundreds of enslaved people reach freedom? Born into slavery on a Maryland plantation, Harriet's life was full of hardship. In 1849, she made the brave decision to run away, journeying north on the Underground Railroad. Despite the dangers, she returned to the South again and again, leading many others to safety. Discover the story of this amazing abolitionist and find out how she overcame every obstacle in the fight for freedom.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Front Desk
Kelly Yang
Chapter book

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets: 1. She lives in America in a motel, not a big house. 2. Her parents hide immigrants. 3. She wants to be a writer. It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, and go for her dreams?

This is an award-winning and thought-provoking novel for mature Upper KS2 classes and a story that explores the landscape of immigration in modern day America as well as tackling themes of racial prejudice, friendship and the power of kindness.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Holes
Louis Sachar
Chapter book

Stanley Yelnats' American family has a history of bad luck, so when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre (which isn't green and doesn't have a lake) he is not surprised. Every day he and the other inmates are told to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, reporting anything they find. Why? The evil warden claims that it's character building, but this is a lie. It's up to Stanley to dig up the truth. Witty, inventive and completely unique, this is a masterpiece of storytelling that combines sly humour with irresistible, page-turning writing. A popular choice in Upper KS2.

Victorians children's books: Hetty Feather
Living in North & South America: The USA
Jen Green
Non-fiction

Welcome to The USA! In this book, young readers tell you all about what makes their country special, from its great capital city, to the landscape, people, food and things to see and do.

This series introduces young readers to different continents and countries around the world, highlighting the differences and similarities between them. Clear, friendly text and big photos make these books a great starting point for learning about geography in general, and countries in particular.

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