20 unit study books about Connecticut!
I may lose my homeschool mother badge for this, but I have never seen an episode of Gilmore Girls. Gilmore Girls is set in the fictitious town of Stars Hallow, Connecticut. That’s my knowledge on the show. I know nothing about characters or plot but I know the name Stars Hallow and that homeschool moms are NUTS for this show. This really doesn’t go anywhere other than the fact that this blog post is all about Connecticut unit study books!
If you are starting to study Connecticut, I have a list of 20 books of various reading levels to get you started. From Webster’s dictionary, to Wild Things, this list has something for all interests and age ranges that homeschooling families may have.
Studying and learning about the fifty states is more than memorizing facts about the state bird and square milage. So the books I include in my unit studies are, as Charlotte Mason coined, living books. Living books are books that make the subject you are studying come alive and are written by people who love the subject. Some books are about a family living in Connecticut, while others are about the state’s history and resources.
ICYMI! Here are the lists for the other states.
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
Connecticut Background and Facts
- Connecticut is nicknamed the Constitution State because it’s believed that ideas for the writing of the Constitution of the United States were drawn from the first constitution of Connecticut.
- Motto – He who translated sustains.
- Connecticut entered the Union on January 9th, 1788. It was the fifth state.
- Connecticut was named for the Mohegan wow meaning “beside the long tidal river.”
- George W. Bush, the 42nd President of the United States was born in New Haven, Connecticut on July 6, 1946.
- Hartford is the Capital city of Connecticut.
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Living Books about Connecticut
Picture Books about Connecticut
“Good Night Connecticut, part of the bestselling Good Night Our World series, features the tall ships of Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, Dinosaur State Park, Connecticut River and ferry boats, Gillette Castle, and more. This delightful nighttime board book gives young readers an upfront and personal tour of the state’s most scenic attractions and landmarks.”
“As one of the 13 original colonies, the state of Connecticut has played a pivotal role in our nation’s history — from its Revolutionary War figures such as Nathan Hale to its captains of industry and invention. N is for Nutmeg entertains as it informs readers on the history and geography, facts and folklore of Connecticut — learn why Groton is the submarine capital of the world and how Samuel Clemens got his pen name.”
“Using numbers as its backdrop, “Yankee Doodle Numbers: A Connecticut Number Book” gives an entertaining and educational travelogue of the state’s historic moments, symbols, landmarks, and famous people. From its role during the Revolutionary War to its nickname of the “Land of Steady Habits,” the history and wonder of Connecticut comes alive.”
“Webster’s American Dictionary is the second most popular book ever printed in English. But who was that Webster? Noah Webster (1758–1843) was a bookish Connecticut farm boy who became obsessed with uniting America through language. He spent twenty years writing two thousand pages to accomplish that. This clever, hilariously illustrated account shines a light on early American history and the life of a man who could not rest until he’d achieved his dream. An illustrated chronology of Webster’s life makes this a picture perfect bi-og-ra-phy [noun: a written history of a person’s life].”
“Almost 100 years after the American Revolution, Abby and Julia Smith were fighting against taxation without representation. Women hadn’t been given the vote, and the Smith sisters refused to pay an unfair property tax. When the authorities seized the cows at tax time for a number of years, the Smiths’s stand attracted the attention of women’s suffrage supporters across the country. Lively, carefully researched illustrations bring this historical episode vividly to life.”
Children’s Books Set in Connecticut
“Tommy knows he wants to be an artist when he grows up. He can’t wait to get to school and have real art lessons. When Tommy gets to school and finds out that the art lessons are full of rules, he is surprised and dismayed. However the wise art teacher finds a way to give Tommy the freedom to create and stay within the rules. Based on the author/artist’s own experiences growing up it is a wonderfully perceptive picture book about growing up and keeping one’s individuality.”
“The compelling story of a young Quinnipiac brave named Blackbird. Through young Blackbird’s eyes we learn the Quinnipiac tribal legend of how the Sleeping Giant landform in Hamden, Connecticut came to look like a giant man sleeping on his back.”
Books by Authors From Connecticut
Maurice Sendak lived in Ridgefiled, CT for 40 years. So take this time to reread or discover for the first one of the greatest picture books ever!
“Johnny’s wish had come true. His family would be visiting his grandparents for Christmas. His grandparents lived in an old house in New England where his father had been born. The family together, the smells of the cookies baking, the snowy Christmas tree farm with trees of so many shapes and sizes, and most of all the wooden horse he had told his brother Liam about would make this the best Christmas ever. In his grandparents’ attic Johnny finds many treasures, but the wooden horse he remembered so well is missing. How can Johnny make his brother’s Christmas wish come true?”
“The Aldens begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process they find a grandfather. Gertrude Chandler Warner was born in 1890 in Putnam, Connecticut, where she taught school and wrote The Boxcar Children because she had often imagined how delightful it would be to live in a caboose or freight car. Encouraged by the book’s success, she went on to write eighteen more stories about the Alden children.”
Chapter Books Set in Connecticut
“In 1707, eight-year old Sarah Noble and her father traveled through the wilderness to build a new home for their family. “Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble,” her mother had said, but Sarah found that it was not always easy to feel brave inside. The true story of Sarah’s journey is inspiring. And as she cares for her father and befriends her Indian neighbors, she learns that to be afraid and to be brave is the greatest courage of all.”
“McBroom, his wife, and their 11 redheaded children pack up their homestead and head West!”
“Tomie’s family starts building their new house at 26 Fairmount Avenue in 1938, just as a hurricane hits town, starting off a busy, crazy year and many adventures all his own. Tomie dePaola’s childhood memories are hilarious, and his charming illustrations are sure to please.”
“Wanda Petronski is a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is ‘never going to stand by and say nothing again.'”
“Meet the Moffats. There is Sylvie, Joey, Janey, and Rufus. Even the most ordinary Moffat day is packed with extraordinary fun. Only a Moffat could get locked in a bread box all afternoon, or dance with a dog in front of the whole town, or hitch a ride on a boxcar during kindergarten recess. And only a Moffat could turn mistakes and mischief into hilarious one-of-a-kind adventure.”
“Meet the marvelous Pyes— Mrs. Pye, Mr. Pye, Rachel Pye, Jerry Pye, and Uncle Bennie, who is Jerry and Rachel’s uncle—even though he’s only three years old. Lastly is Ginger Pye, the intellectual dog, who Jerry bought for a hard-earned dollar. The most famous pup in all of Cranbury, Ginger knows tons of tricks, is as loyal as he is smart, and steals the hearts of everyone he meets . . . until someone steals him!”
Young Adult Books Set in Connecticut
“Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.”
“Lahni Schuler is the only black student at her private prep school. She’s also the adopted child of two loving, but white, parents who are on the road to divorce. Struggling to comfort her mother and angry with her dad, Lahni feels more and more alone. But when Lahni and her mother attend a local church one Sunday, Lahni hears the amazing gospel choir, and her life takes an unexpected turn. In this moving book, acclaimed author Bil Wright tells the story of one girl’s search to find a home where she truly belongs.”
Books Set in Connecticut (For Mom!)
I love to read, and I love a good theme or challenge for a reading list. So my final two books on this book list are one adult fiction and one adult non-fiction.
Fiction Book Set In Connecticut
“Hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs, Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.”
Non-fiction Book Set In Connecticut
“There once may have been 250,000 miles of stone walls in America’s Northeast, stretching farther than the distance to the moon. They took three billion man-hours to build. And even though most are crumbling today, they contain a magnificent scientific and cultural story―about the geothermal forces that formed their stones, the tectonic movements that brought them to the surface, the glacial tide that broke them apart, the earth that held them for so long, and about the humans who built them.”
And there you have it! 20 books to begin a unit study about Connecticut. This list has some wonderful fiction books that take place in Connecticut, The Moffats and 26 Farimount Ave. being my faves! From nutmeg to the dictionary and boxcars to wild things, young readers have a lot they can learn from the constitution state.
I hope this book list sparks an interest in your homeschooler. Maybe you will devour all of Tomie dePaola’s books or the entire Boxcar Children series! Whatever it is, I hope you find some fun areas to explore and expand during your Connecticut unit study.