When I first laid eyes on The 50 States, written and researched by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sol Linero, I absolutely had to have it because I think it's easily the most delightful book on the topic that I've ever seen. One of the many great things about having kids is getting to re-learn alongside them. I was never good at geography -- and I'm eager to re-visit both United States and world geography with my kids. The 50 States presents a beautiful and very inviting opportunity for kids to soak up facts about America. Featuring 50 fact filled maps, each state gets an entire two-page spread in this oversized book that's easy to share and view together as a family (perfect for homeschooling too). To prevent brain drain over the school break, my kids and I will be reading and learning about one state every day this summer.
I find The 50 States wildly appealing aesthetically — elevating a lesson in history and geography to a whimsical and artistic journey into knowledge via Linero’s delightful illustrations and Balkan’s expertly curated information. Not many kids are going to want to spend summer break flipping through the pages of an educational book — which is why this tome is so brilliant — it makes learning fun and highly digestible. My kids instantly wanted to flip to our home state of California, and we were eager to discover the famous people from Californa, historical moments in history (when gold was discovered, when Disneyland opened), key facts (capital, state flower, postal code, etc.) and more obscure facts about our state ie: the avocado capital of the world is in Fallbrook! Who knew? I love garnering random trivia tidbits and The 50 States is rife with bountiful information about what makes each state unique. There is nothing boring or dry about history and geography in this book — which is a feat in and of itself!
Rounding out the adventure across America are adorable illustrations of every President of the United States, as well as where they were born, their term dates and their First Lady. Another bonus: pictures of every state flag. The 50 States book should be a staple in every home!
Lead and 3rd and 4th images © Beth Shea for Inhabitots