The Ultimate List of Books about Kansas for Children
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Children’s Books about Kansas
Growing up in Kansas – from Langston Hughes to Nicodemus Town
Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes, by Floyd Cooper
While Langston Hughes is most famous for being a member of the Harlem Renaissance, his youth was not in New York. It was spent in Lawrence, Kansas.
This book mentions Lawrence, Kansas as home, but also travels to Topeka, Kansas; Kansas City, Kansas; Mexico; France; Russia; Cleveland, Ohio; and other places of Langston Hughes’ traveling life. The first half of the book is set squarely in Kansas, with familiar landscapes.
No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas, by Tonya Bolden, illustrated by Don Tate
Junius G. Groves was born into slavery in Kentucky. Upon re-claiming his freedom, he set westward and walked to Kansas. He wanted to own his own farm, but without money, he did the next best thing: he worked to save up for the farm. Over time, Junius Groves grew his potato fortune into 500 acres of land in Kansas, a castle, and he was called the “Potato King of the World.” That’s no small potato.
Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town, by A. LaFaye, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
This book is about Kansas’s town for Exodusters, called Nicodemus and the traditions that grew from the culture there.
Mayor Sly and the Magic Bowtie: A Kansas City Adventure, by Aja James and Audrey Masoner, illustrated by Rob Peters
Kansas City’s mayor serves as host as the reader travels back in time and hops through KC’s local city history.
More Children’s Books About Kansas
Enjoying All That Kansas Has to Offer: from sports, in the air, in the ‘mountains’, and at a BBQ.
Climbing Kansas Mountains, by George Shannon, illustrated by Thomas B. Allen.
This book is part of the Five in a Row series. The boy and his father work together in their imagination to climb Kansas “mountains” – which if you remember Kansas, the state is known for its plains, flat prairie land.
Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag, by Gayle E. Pitman
The origin of the rainbow flag starts in Kansas.
This is Kansas City, by Angela Kmeck, illustrated by John Hare
A picture book about Kansas City.
Amelia Earhart: Female Pioneer in Flight, by Lori Mortenson, illustrated by Robert LeRoy McGuire
Amelia Earhart grew up in small town Kansas.
Children’s Books About Kansas for Older Students:
This children’s book is part of the I Am America series, which provides historical fiction documenting what children’s lives would have been like in various time periods of history. Journey to A Promised Land tells of the Jacobs family as they move to Kansas in 1879 in search of better land and opportunity. It fits well with 4th to 7th graders.
Kansas Vocabulary to Highlight:
Kansas/Nebraska Act of 1854
Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kansa, Kiowa, Osage, Pawnee, Wichita tribes
Children’s Books about Kansas and all 50 states. Which state will you read about next!