Find out what’s good about flyover states – take the 50 states’ book tour

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Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. – Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Yes, there is life between the east coast and the west coast. Check out what Christine Dell”Amore discovered on her visit to all 50 states.

“Had I believed the nonsense about Nebraska being a “flyover state,” for instance, I would never have herded cattle on horseback through rolling grasslands lush with purple wildflowers and tall pines. Had I stuck close to home, I might not have tasted heavenly banana pudding in Selma, Ala., or bought stamps from the cutest darn post office you’ve ever seen, snuggled in the snow in tiny Plymouth, Vt. Rooting out such gems has been a longtime joy of mine, and around 10 years ago I realized that I had gone to 30-odd states in the process.”

If you want to attempt the fifty-state trek, Maggie Blaha’s Visiting all 50 U.S. states: What counts as really going, gives you some pointers.

This 50 states’ book journey is helpful for you to discover what’s unique about each state. You’ll find that each state offers great literature that gives insights into our vast and varied American experience.




What’s unique about this state?

  • American Falls is unique from most communities because the entire town was moved in the mid-1920s when the original American Falls Dam was constructed.
  • Rexburg is home to Brigham Young University – Idaho.
  • Elk River is the home of the Idaho Champion Western Red Cedar Tree, the largest tree in the state. Estimated to be over 3000 years old this giant is more than 18 feet in diameter and stands 177 feet tall.

Idaho’s classic book is Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson


A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt.



What’s unique about this state?

  • Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy, and Alton hosted the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates that stirred interest all over the country in the slavery issue.
  • The first Aquarium opened in Chicago, 1893.
  • The world’s first Skyscraper was built in Chicago, 1885

Illinois’ classic book is Native Son, Richard Wright


Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic.



What’s unique about this state?

  • Abraham Lincoln moved to Indiana when he was 7 years old. He lived most of his boyhood life in Spencer County with his parents Thomas and Nancy.
  • Explorers Lewis and Clark set out from Fort Vincennes on their exploration of the Northwest Territory.
  • During WWII the P-47 fighter-plane was manufactured in Evansville at Republic Aviation.

Indiana’s classic book is The Friendly Persuasion, Jessamyn West



A quintessential American heroine, Eliza Birdwell is a wonderful blend of would-be austerity, practicality, and gentle humor when it comes to keeping her faith and caring for her family and community. Her husband, Jess, shares Eliza’s love of people and peaceful ways but, unlike Eliza, also displays a fondness for a fast horse and a lively tune.


What’s unique about this state?

  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not has dubbed Burlington’s Snake Alley the most crooked street in the world.
  • Strawberry Point is the home of the world’s largest strawberry.
  • The state’s smallest city park is situated in the middle of the road in Hiteman.

Iowa’s classic book is A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley

Aging Larry Cook announces his intention to turn over his 1,000-acre farm–one of the largest in Zebulon County, Iowa–to his three daughters, Caroline, Ginny, and Rose. A man of harsh sensibilities, he carves Caroline out of the deal because she has the nerve to be less than enthusiastic about her father’s generosity





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Judy Kundert

Judy Kundert, a recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Excellence in Authorship award, loves storytelling, from folk and fairy tales to classics for elementary school children. She authors award-winning middle-grade novels designed to inspire and intrigue children. After she left her career as a United Airlines stewardess, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University, Chicago and a Master of Arts from DePaul University, Chicago. Most recently, she completed a master’s Certificate in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Denver. For fun, she likes reading (usually three or four books at a time), watching movies from the oldies to the current films, traveling, biking, and hiking in vast Colorado outdoors with her husband. Learn more at can find me at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains hiking, biking

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