This year’s edition of summer school is focused on learning all about Illinois: the history, people, and regions of our fair state. I found a curriculum (the first six books on the list), as a starting point, and I’m also adding books about famous Illinoisans, as well as (mainly fiction) books set in our state. We’ll also spend a decent amount of time focusing on Chicago, as it is the biggest city in the state, and the city by which I grew up. How do you learn about your home state?
- Illinois History—One of six books in the Heinemann State Studies series, this book, as you might imagine, is a timeline of Illinois history, beginning with the early natives who lived here, up through the modern day.
- Illinois Native Peoples
- Illinois Plants and Animals
- People of Illinois
- All Around Illinois: Regions and Resources
- Uniquely Illinois—This is a fun title that looks at state trivia, from the serious (the government), to the silly (what is a Tully Monster?).
- A Year Down Yonder—One of several fiction books by Richard Peck set in Illinois…this and the following book focus on a small town downstate.
- A Long Way from Chicago
- Fair Weather—This and the following title focus on the World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair, which took place in 1893.
- Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
- L is for Lincoln
- W is for Windy City
- Prairie Numbers
- Across Five Aprils–-A story about an Illinois farm boy set during the Civil War.
- Lincoln: A Photobiography
- Abraham Lincoln
- Who Was Ulysses S. Grant?
- The Great Fire
- The House that Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams—The story of the famous Illinoisan who co-founded Hull House in Chicago.
- Cows on Parade in Chicago—A fun book about a public art project in Chicago in the late 1990s.
- 32 Wheaton Notables, Their Stories, and Where They Lived—A book about some of the famous residents of my former hometown.
- Molly: An American Girl (series)—One of the earliest American Girl book series, Molly is a fictional character from a small town in Illinois, living during the time of WWII.
- Chicago History for Kids—Some fun, hands-on projects and activities focusing on the city of Chicago.
- The United States Cookbook—A great book for learning about the famous foods of the 50 states…Illinois is represented by a family-favorite–Chicago-style pizza!
- Writing a State Report
I also highly recommend the book There Are No Children Here for high school students. It’s a book I read almost two decades ago, and it had a profound impact on me.
I’ve got several fun field trips planned, as well. Stay tuned for details!