• Joe Pace

Favorite Non-Fiction Books, #1: Exploring the 50 States


That's a big cow

One of the earliest non-fiction books I remember cherishing - a book I've owned since it was published in 1983. Eight-year old me was absorbed by the brief profiles of each of the fifty states in Marcie Anderson's book, by the information about state trees and birds and flowers, and geographic data about relative size. This book taught me the state capitals, and the maps, rudimentary though they were, kept me entertained for hours. Pulling out my battered old copy (pictured) for this profile, I had to sigh a little at the entry for New Hampshire and its reference to the Old Man of the Mountain in present tense. Sigh.

In the 36 years since I devoured this book, I've gone on to denser, more sophisticated, more comprehensive tomes on the geography and history of our union, some of which will be featured on this list. But there's a reason I still have this juvenile volume on my shelf. You always remember your first.

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