Home > Literacy Resources > Articles > Choosing Good Books > Travel Reads: Selecting Books for Family Vacations > The Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)

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The Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)

Illinois
Abe Lincoln Grows Up and Prairie Town Boy by Carl Sandburg.

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. 
Historical fiction set during the Civil War.

Cassie's Journey by Brett Harvey. 
This story begins in Illinois, where Cassie's family joins a wagon train.

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer. 
Two boys take off beyond their parents' limits. One boy dies in an Illinois river, and his friend deals with the guilt of his loss.

Running for Our Lives by Glennette Tilley Turner. 
This story is about escaping slaves and the Underground Railroad.

Michigan
Next Spring an Oriole by Gloria Whelan. 
In 1837, 10-year-old Libby and her parents journey by covered wagon to the Michigan frontier, where they build a new home near friendly Indians and other pioneers.

Minnesota 
Antler, Bear, Canoe by Betsy Bowen.

Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. 
These books are set in a small town in the early 20th century.

Courage at Indian Deep by Jane Resh Thomas.

A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgins Clark. (Adult Fiction)

Four Miles to Pinecone and Grand Opening (Adult Fiction) by Jon Hassler. 

Kirsten series by Janet Beeler Shaw. 

Ladder to the Sky: How the Gift of Healing Came to the Ojibway Nation by Barbara Juster Esbensen.

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 
Laura and her family move to Minnesota.

Striking Out by Will Weaver.
In northern Minnesota, 13-year-old Billy Baggs starts to overcome the grief of losing his brother once he starts playing baseball.

A Taste of Smoke by Marion Dane Bauer.

Under This Roof by Borghild Dahl. 
Set in Minnesota during the turn of the 20th century. A young girl tries to keep her family together after the death of her parents.

The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen. 
A young boy grows up on a northern Minnesota farm.


Nebraska

My Antonia by Willa Cather. (Classic)
A young man tells the story of a Bohemian woman named Antonia, his childhood friend and neighbor on the Nebraska prairie. She survives poverty and other adversities, triumphing in the end.


North Dakota 

American Daughter by Era Bell Thompson. 

An autobiography about the experiences of an African American woman in North Dakota.

Beyond the Bedroom Wall by Larry Woiwode. 
A novel about the lives of three generations of the Neumiller family in North Dakota and Illinois.

The Bones of Plenty by Lois Phillips Hudson. 
An absorbing novel about the members of a proud, independent North Dakota wheat-farming family and their struggles during the Depression.

Boots and Saddles by Elizabeth Bacon Custer. 
A pro-Custer account of life in the Dakota Territory by General Custer's wife, who describes life at Fort Abraham Lincoln.

Boy From Johnny Butte; Gopher Tails for Papa; Lanterns Over the Prairie; Stone Johnny School; and
The Tiger-Lily Years by Erling Nicolai Rolfsrud.

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 
Laura and her family travel to the Dakota Territory, hoping to own their own land.

The Checkered Years by Mary Dodge Woodward. 
Diaries of the bonanza farms of early North Dakota.

The Lawrence Welk Story by Albert Govoni. 

The Marquis de Mores: Emperor of the Bad Lands by Donald Dresden.

Medora by Zdena Trinka. 
A story about the Marquis de Mores, a Badlands rancher, adventurer, and gunslinger who challenged Teddy Roosevelt to a duel.

Out Where the West Begins by Zena Irma Trinka. 
An early romantic history of North Dakota.

Prairie School by Lois Lenski. 
A story about the Great Blizzard of 1949.

Reapers of the Dust: A Prairie Chronicle by Lois Phillips Hudson. 

Sacagawea: Indian Guide by Wyatt Blassingame.

The Snowbird by Patricia Culvert. 
Set in the Dakota Territory in 1883, the story involves the relationship between an orphaned teenager and her silverwhite foal, Snowbird. 

Teddy, The Saga of the Badlands by Zdena Trinka. 
A story about a period in Teddy Roosevelt's life spent in North Dakota.

White Buffalo by Lyla Hoffine. 
A story about the Teton Sioux Indians.

Wings Over Alaska by Edward A. Herron. 
A biography of Carl Ben Eielson, a pioneer of Alaskan aviation and air mail service.

Ohio
The Bells of Christmas by Virginia Hamilton.

The Borning Room by Paul Fleischman. 
At the end of her life, lying in bed in the room in which she was born in 1851, Georgina remembers what it was like growing up on the Ohio frontier.

Dr. Gravity by Dennis Haseley.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Classic)
This is the first book in a series about the adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family, who were among the early pioneers of the American West.

M.C. Higgins the Great by Virginia Hamilton. (Newbery Medal winner)
An African American boy learns about his family, heritage, and himself when a mudslide threatens his family and home.

Weasel by Cynthia DeFelice. 
While his father recovers from an injury, 12-year-old Nathan is alone in the frontier wilderness in the winter of 1839. He runs afoul of renegade killer "Weasel."

South Dakota
Addie series by Laurie Lawlor.

Black-Eyed Susan by Jennifer Armstrong.

The Cave by Kathleen Karr.

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Hugh Glass, Mountain Man by Robert M. McClung.

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 
The little town referred to in the title is De Smet, S.D., which is nine miles from Lake Preston.

My Prairie Year by Brett Harvey.

The Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)