The 50 States by Sol Linero & Gabrielle Balkan

The 50 States is one of those books that a) I wish you had growing up and b) should be in every school in the US or that teaches about the US. Authors Linero and Balkan have smartly broken down every state into colorful yet educational info/pictographics that make learning fun and interesting. I am greatly enjoying going over each state with my daughter and enjoying her enthusiasm over historical subjects. Because the wording doesn’t talk down to kids, it’s great for parents to go over with younger kids or for older kids up to tweens to enjoy.

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Each State is represented by a large image. Within each state image, icons tell the story of that state’s people, places and history (recent and old). Some significant dates are included and callouts spotlight events/people/dates that deserve more description. A separate callout square, consistent on every page, discuses the moments and dates that mark the state’s history – from ancient times 12,000 years ago to modern. As well, there is a small welcome box to each page that tells a bit about it – an introduction to the State.

Each map contains information about neighbor states, bodies of water, state parks, battlefields, national forests, reservations, state flags, capitals/important cities, and more. At the end of the book there is a gallery of the US Presidents to date.

The real treat of the book is the consistency – this isn’t a wild jumble of facts thrown onto a page with abandon; rather, each page is carefully laid out like the previous to make the reading experience easier and to make researching/looking up facts easy and simple. Colored fonts are used sparingly and each page keeps its design elements intact – allowing for some white space and breathing room. As a graphic educational device, it succeeds brilliantly.

This is highly recommended for home and educational use. It’s something I would have loved as a kid since it is fun and fascinating. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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