A collection of children’s books for the 50 states is now available online and in Houlton’s Cary Library thanks to a grant from the Aaron A. and Maria H. Putnam Family Charitable Trust. Credit: Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli / Houlton Pioneer Times

HOULTON, Maine — A new collection of children’s U.S. state books at the Cary Library in downtown Houlton is perfect for snowy days exploring online at home. 

Kids can access the new series either at the library or online.

The library purchased the collection with a $2,052 grant from The Aaron A. and Maria H. Putnam Family Charitable Trust. The colorful, interactive gems are packed with state facts, fun tidbits and historical stories, like the one about a Maine photographer who spotted 72 moose in two hours. The updated collection gives kids a new way to learn about the country.

“When we were evaluating our children’s books, we found most of the state books were out of date,” Library Director Linda Faucher said.

Staff chose the collection from ABDO Educational Books because the publisher offered a sturdy hardcover set for the library, along with an electronic version for patrons unable to come to the library or those who prefer to read at home, Faucher said.

The set offers details and activities to engage young readers.

Did you know that if you’re watching the sunrise at Maine’s Quoddy Head State Park, you’ll be the first in the country to see daylight? Or that Alaska is only 55 miles from Russia? How about New Mexico? 

Or how about the Aloha State, Hawaii? Did you know there are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian language? Or that Hawaiians grow the root vegetable taro, believed to be the oldest U.S. agricultural crop? When taro is soaked and mashed it becomes poi, a Hawaiian staple eaten with the fingers.

Using the ebook version is much like reading the hardcover book, because the pages flip in 3D motions along with page-turning sounds, Faucher said.

The authors write in a conversational style and keep readers involved with questions and activities throughout the books.

In one New York activity, readers sample a passage from scientist Nikola Tesla’s “Power Banquet” speech at the Ellicott Club in Buffalo in 1897, regarding the first electric power transmission from Niagara Falls to Buffalo. They are asked to re-work the passage for their friends and then write a blog post about it.

People can access the digital books on the library’s website, Faucher said. In the online library catalog, type in the name of the state, choose “title,” scroll down to the book with an ebook option and click on the link.  

People will be asked for their username and password. Their username is their last name, and their password is their library card number. 

For information, call the library at 207-532-1302.

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Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli

Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli is a reporter covering the Houlton area. Over the years, she has covered crime, investigations, health, politics and local government, writing for the Washington Post, the LA...