For Booking Across the USA (2013) I compiled a listing of books written and/or illustrated by Maine residents.
This year for Booking Across the USA Trip 2 (2014), I have compiled a list of books about Maine that can be used with preschoolers through elementary. To make it easier to navigate, I have grouped the books in the manner that we used them. Following you will find the title, author and brief summary.
Many are familiar with these well known Maine stories: One Day in Maine, Blueberry for Sal and Miss Rumphius, so I have not listed them here. I knew we would find non-fiction fact books and stories about wildlife and the ocean, as I have a few in my personal library, but I was surprised at the fairly large number of books available today on Maine and the variety. It has made for some fun exploration and unexpected learning opportunities.
We started this all off with 1) Travels with Charlie book for our section of the country- Travelin’ the Northeast by Miles Backer. The 4 book series by Blue Apple Books is filled with history, trivia facts and bright landmark illustrations on each state in each region. An extra fun point was realizing we needed to search for Charlie on each state page. Seeing our state in this way, the open discussions comparing Maine to the other states inspired us to spend more time learning more about this state in which we live.
Books that provide more general factual information about Maine:
2) I Love Maine by Jeff Cox and Nancy Griffin – Simple board book with clear illustrations. 1 or 2 sentences per page about the highlights of Maine geographically, it’s main industries and wildlife.
3) Good Night Maine by Adam Gamble – Very simple board book. Starting with a “good morning” and travels through Maine through the day until settle with “good night”.
4) Maine ABC by Susan Ramsay Hoguet – Distinct Maine icons make up this rhyming verse ABC book.
5) L is for Lobster – A Maine Alphabet by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds – This rhyming ABC book covers a bit more of the history of Maine like the Algonquin Nation of Native Americans or the battle between the Enterprise and Boxer. The page sidebars contain a wealth of factual information to be used as appropriate for the age group and lesson material.
6) Maine – The Pine Tree State by Robin Koontz – From PowerKiDs Press and part of the Amazing States series. Real photos accompany most of the factual pages. These pages go into detail, yet remain readable with children. Well rounded resource with symbols, state map and bolded key words on information pages.
7) Maine – Facts and Symbols by Emily McAuliffe – Right off you have state map and fast facts. This book really focuses on the symbols.
8) Counting Our Way to Maine by Maggie Smith – Join a family as they travel from the city to Maine for a vacation. Love that we get to count to 20 as we see what the family finds in Maine worth counting.
Maine Wildlife Books:
9) Maine’s Favorite Birds by Jeffrey V. Wells & Allison Childs Wells – This is formatted like a traditional bird book, but contains only birds commonly found in Maine. The bird images are a nice size and make it easy for children to compare to the birds in their environment.
10) The Wildlife of Maine: A Coloring – Learning Book . This book is part of the “Adventures in Maine” Learning – Coloring books. This book contains ready-to-color images of the wildlife of Maine in their habitat. There are also facts about each animal provided.
11) A Loon Alone by Pamela Love – A day in the life of a baby loon chick. We see the other wildlife common to the habitat. The illustrations are scientifically correct, so you get a good real life look at all the animals presented.
12) Moon Loon by Sandy Ferguson Fuller – This story is written from the personal experience of it’s author from her summer visits to a lake in Maine. It’s about a solitary loon.
13) Moose by Anthony Fredericks – Part of the Our Wild World series – This non-fiction book contains pictures of moose from all locations they reside, not just Maine. It is worth including because of the facts presented and the moose is the state animal. So named in 1979.
14) I Met a Moose in Maine One Day by Ed Shankman – With a title like this you know this is a funny, nonsense story. The moose takes a young boy on a trip around Maine from such places as Belfast, Friendship, Camden and Rome.
15) Moose, of Course! by Lynn Plourde – A young boy wants to see a moose, so he sets off to find one. The best advice he got was to “Do nuthin!”
16) The Adventures of Maynard… a Maine Moose by Marybeth Baker – Maynard is a gentle Maine moose who wants to be smaller and quieter like all the other animals in the forest. Moose are big and a bit loud. With the help of his wildlife friends Maynard learns that being different can be special. Being kind and gentle is more important than big and loud to all his friends.
Maine Islands and Ocean Life:
17) Going Lobstering by Jerry Pallotta – Two children get to go out on a lobster boat one day. Big Joe, the lobsterman, explains everything to them about how one fishes for lobster and includes them in that day’s catches. The story is fiction, but the facts are non-fiction.
18) Lobsterman by Dahlov Ipcar – Dahlov Ipcar’s illustrations are worth reading her books for. Lobsterman is a story about a fishing village on the coast of Maine and what daily life is like for a lobsterman and his son.
19) What the Sea Left Behind by Mimi Gregoire Carpenter – Meet Tessa. She’s a young artist that gathers things left behind by the sea to paint. The Atlantic Ocean leaves many interesting things along the rocky coastland and on the sandy beaches. Through the realistic paintings used for the illustrations you to can get a good understanding of just what Tessa has collected.
20) Surrounded by Sea: Life on a New England Fishing Island by Gail Gibbons – Follow the changes on an island fishing village through the seasons. (This could be any island off the New England states, but since Maine has the most of these, we used it as part of our exploration.) As with all Gail Gibbons books they are factually based.
21) Island Alphabet: An ABC of Maine Islands by Kelly Paul Briggs – Imagine an island to match each letter of the alphabet and fun little facts to go along with each simple letter poem. Compass, Lime, Mount Desert, Otter, or York for a few.
22) L.L.Bear’s Island Adventure by Kate Rowinski – L.L. Bear (yes, there is an L.L. Bean connection) takes his sea kayak out around Blueberry Island for a last Autumn picnic before all his friends head on their way for hibernation or migration. A bad storm hits and one of the friends is caught in it. Working together everyone turns up safe.
23) Andre’ The Famous Harbor Seal by Fran Hodgkins – This special seal spent it’s summers in Rockport, Maine where a special relationship developed with harbormaster Harry Goodridge. This relationship from when Andre’ was a seal pup until they both died has become a legend.
24) Seal Pup Grows Up: The Story of a Harbor Seal by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld – Just what the title says this book is about what the life of a seal pup is like. Non-fiction told in story form.
25) Fishing for Numbers: A Maine Number Book by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds – Learning about the history of Maine through counting. Each illustration has a simple counting rhyme accompanying it with addition historical information to allow further learning as appropriate. Many sections are connected to the sea which played and continues to play an important part in Maine’s history and economy.
26) Puffin’s Homecoming: The Story of an Atlantic Puffin (Smithsonian Wild Heritage Collection) by Darice Bailer – Each spring Puffins come from the Atlantic Ocean to nest and breed, before returning to the Ocean. Follow this experience in this factual story.
27) Lighthouse Lullaby by Kelly Paul Briggs – Imagine a snowy night on an island in Maine. What would it have been like for the keeper of the lighthouse and his family? This poem and illustrations can help you get there. The illustrations were inspired from a nineteenth-century family photo album from a lighthouse keeper on Boon Island Light.
Poetry about Maine:
28) At One in a place called Maine by Lynn Plourde – This story is written as a poem “I live in a place…..” “I am at one…….” The beauty of the painted illustrations flow along with the expression of the words. For us, Lynn Plourde is know for her sillier stories. The serenity and love in this story was a surprise. She definitely touched on my feelings for this beautiful state I feel lucky to live in.
29) A Kittery Kayaker by Webster Bull – A collection of limericks about Maine its places and the things that make those special.
30) A Garden of Whales by Maggie Steincrohn Davis – A poem about whales. The author’s wish would be to bring back whales to the sea by growing them in gardens. We can not. We need to honor whales. (Whaling itself was not big in Maine, but building ships used for whaling was. The whaling industry here now is all about whale watching.)
Our Backyard Maine:
31) The Henhouse: A true story of life on a Maine farm by Carol Shorey Dean – A young girl begs her father to let her help with the care of the chickens. Once in the henhouse she finds out how scary aggressive roosters can be. How smelly chicken poop is and how loud 100′s of chicken are. She is rescued by her dad, but being real to life this is not a warm and fuzzy book.
32) Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud by Lynn Plourde – Silly take on a real side of Maine – mud season. Fun rhyming verse and nuthin’ can beat “rud” for a sense of a true Maine expression.
33) Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell – Follow a young girl through a year as she follows a flock of wild turkeys through her back yard woods. Maine has a large population of wild turkeys. We get to watch them in the field behind our place.
34) Turtle Splash: Countdown at the Pond by Cathryn Falwell – Frog Song Pond is 2 miles from our place. Through this book you can see the wildlife that visit it through a day as 10 turtles disappear into the pond. It’s the same wildlife we are familiar with around our homes.
35) Scoot! by Cathryn Falwell – Visiting Frog Song Pond again. This time with different wildlife visiting and more focus on sounds and movements. What finally makes 6 silent, still turtles scoot? (We have been lucky enough to have been invited to visit the pond and spend time with author Cathryn Falwell. That really makes that connection between children and a book.)