Visit Massachusetts Now: Massachusetts for Travelers & Teachers
Are you looking for fun worksheets and lapbooks, children's books, and video clips, for teaching and/or learning about Massachusetts? Whether you're a school teacher, homeschooling parent, involved parent, librarian, lifelong learner, or a student searching for ideas and books on Massachusetts, look no further! This is part of a series of pages I created on each of the fifty states. You can find the links for all 50 states at Teaching the 50 States of America .
I have been to Massachusetts. Have you?
What Makes This State Special: America's First Schools
Harvard College, founded in 1636, was the first college in North America. This Cambridge institution continues to be a prestigious college. Tourists can visit for historic tours.
The Mather School, founded in the Boston area in 1639, was the first public elementary school in North America. It continues to operate as a school today.
What Makes This State Special: Nantucket and Whaling
Nantucket, now a resort area, was once a booming whaling town. The island may have been visited by Vikings as early as the 11th century. Today many tourists visit the cozy town to enjoy the beaches, fishing, biking, and more.
Our Favorite Picture Book on Nantucket and Whaling
This is a nice picture book version of Moby Dick that is written in rhyme and briefly covers the whole story. (If you are looking at amazon ratings, notice the low score is only because someone thought it was a book for adults.)
What Makes This State Special: America's First Public Park
In 1634 Boston Common became America's first public park. It lies in downtown Boston and has a long history of Native American presence, American War for Independence events, and a place for protests and speeches. Today it serves as a place of refreshment and recreation among those in the city.
What Makes This State Special: Volleyball and Basketball
Both basketball and volleyball were invented in towns in Massachusetts. The first game of basketball was played in Springfield in 1891. The first game of volleyball, originally called Mintonette, was played in Holyoke in 1895 by William G. Morgan, a YMCA instructor. Holyoke hosts the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
Massachusetts's State Flag and State Quarter
Massachusetts's state flag features an Algonquian Native American who is holding a bow and arrow. The arrow points down, which is a symbol of peace. The white star with 6 points represents that Massachusetts was America's 6th state. Above this is an arm and sword to remind us of the American War for Independence leading to liberty. Below is a banner with the state motto: " By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Only Under Liberty".
Massachusetts's state quarter features the Minuteman Statue and an outline of the state.
Our Favorite Children's Books on Massachusetts
Favorite Picture Book on Massachusetts
This is my favorite series on individual states. Each page has a simple rhyme concerning the word starts with that letter and then includes a bit more about that particular regional animal, location, etc. It provides a wonderful overview of what makes each state unique. Both modern and historical aspects of the state are includes. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful!
Our Favorite Picture Book on Boston
This cure picture book is about a dog who gets separated from his owner and explores the sites of Boston (Quincy Market Fenway Park's Green Monster, Boston Harbor, etc.) and learns about the landmarks and history of the city.
More of Our Favorite Picture Books on Massachusetts
One If By Land: A Massachusetts Number Book (America by the Numbers) by Heidi E. Y. Stemple is similar to the above book but uses numbers rather than the alphabet as its theme.
Alfred Visits Massachusetts by Elizabeth Oneil is part of a cute series that follows Alfred the elephant as he visits the major landmarks of each state.
How to Draw Massachusetts's Sights and Symbols (A Kid's Guide to Drawing America) by Jenny Deinard is part of a wonderful series that combines state geography with art. Even my 6 year old could follow the drawing directions and my 9 year old created some impressive drawings while learning more about Massachusetts.
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey is a classic children's book about ducks that take up residence in Boston Common. This book won a Caldecott Medal.
Bus Route to Boston by Maryann Cocca-Leffler is the story about the authors memories of the bus trips she would take with her mother and sister through the suburbs of Boston, visiting numerous businesses (such as Boston's Italian North End, Filene's Basement, etc.).
We're Off to Harvard Square by Sage Stossel is a slightly dated picture book about day in Harvard Square. It has fun illustrations and is written in rhyme. A few of the businesses have been changed, but it still gives children a feel for the university shopping area.
Comet's Nine Lives by Jan Brett is about the adventures of a cat on Nantucket Island with many other characters being played with dogs. As is the case with all of Jan Brett's books, the illustrations are delightful (and occasionally humorous).
Journey Around Cape Cod From A to Z (Journeys) by Martha Zschock is a cute picture book about the history and landmarks of Cape Cod -- with a seagull as a guide.
Willow's Walkabout: A Children's Guide to Boston by Sheila Cunningham follows Willow as she tours Boston including the Boston Garden, Swan Boats, Boston Marathon, and more.
Our Favorite Board Book for Babies, Toddlers, or Preschoolers
This is a wonderful board book that includes one sentence per page and has wonderful illustrations that are perfect for young listeners. It includes the sites and history of the state including Boston Common, Berkshire Mountains, Cape Cod seashore, Old Sturbridge Village, Plymouth Plantation, and many other locations.
More Good Board Books for Babies, Toddlers, and Young Preschoolers
Good Night Boston (Good Night Our World) by Adam Gamble is just like the above board book but if focuses specifically on the sites of Boston. Also look for the other great board books in the same series: Good Night Cape Cod by Adam Gamble, Good Night Nantucket by Adam Gamble, and Good Night Martha's Vineyard by Megan Weeks Adams.
Count to Sleep Massachusetts (Count to Sleep series) by Adam Gamble is a board book that counts through numbers one to ten while displaying the landmarks from the state including Boston Harbor, the USS Constitution, and more.
Hello Cape Cod! by Martha Zschock is a very simple board book that has seagull characters lead you through the sites of Cape Cod.
Hello Boston! by Martha Zschock is a very simple board book that has duck characters lead you through the sites of Boston.
123 Boston: A Cool Counting Book by Puck is a simple board book that counts from one to ten as it goes through some of the sites of Boston including the Boston Red Sox, USS Constitution, and more. The last page shows the location of each of the sites or events.
Our Favorite Chapter Book Related to Massachusetts
(144 pages) is about a small mouse from Massachusetts who journeys throughout the state in search of his family's history. On his journey he visits numerous sites (the Berkshire Mountains, Gloucester, Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, etc.). The book also includes some nice illustrations.
More Chapter Books Related to Massachusetts
On Tide Mill Lane (Little House) by Melissa Wiley (272 pages) is the story of the Scottish girl who would become Laura Ingalls Wilder's grandmother as she lives outside of Boston during the War of 1812. Just like the Little House series, this book includes many of her daily activities (such as cornhusking, candle dipping, and tending to her father's blacksmith business), which she does as her father serves in the war. If you would prefer a shorter book, the publishers have produced an abridged book, Little House by Boston Bay by Melissa Wiley, which is 144 pages.
Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer (144 pages) is a well-researched story of the Salem Witch trials. The book is laid out chronologically as described from the viewpoint of a Puritan in the midst of this time period. It also includes some nice illustrations.
Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson (275 pages) is about a girl and her family, who are Italian immigrants to America, and participate in the 1912 labor strike in the Lawrence, MA, textile mills. She is eventually sent off the Vermont after the strike with other children until the strike is over. It is based on real events.
The Whispering Rod: A Tale of Old Massachusetts by Nancy J. Kelley (167 pages) is about a young teenage Puritan girl who lives in Boston in the mid-1600's. The girl stands up against injustice in the community and shows the hardships of those who sought after the freedoms we enjoy in our country today.
Our Favorite Free Worksheets and Lapbook Pages on Massachusetts
Great Worksheets on Massachusetts That We Used When Creating Notebooks on Individual States
All About Massachusetts provides great links to printable worksheets, book suggestions, and activity ideas about Massachusetts.
Massachusetts for Teachers includes wonderful printable worksheets, activity ideas, and book suggestions.
Massachusetts State Facts & Trivia lists numerous points of interest about Massachusetts. The site also includes a number of helpful worksheets, links, and information.
Make Way for Ducklings Lapbook offers free lapbook pages and activity ideas for Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, which takes place in Boston.
Comet's Nine Lives Lapbook includes free lapbook pages and activity ideas for Comet's Nine Lives by Jan Brett, which takes place in Nanticket. Also look for the other free literature-based lapbooks that are based on books related Massachusetts from the HomeSchoolShare website including Maria's Comet by Deborah Hopkinson, Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen, Tea With an old Dragon by Jane Yolen, The Hatmaker's Sign by Candace Fleming, and The Revolutionary John Adams by Cheryl Harness.
More of Our Favorite Family-Friendly Video Clips Giving an Overview of the State
Good On-line Overviews of the State
Where is Boston, the capital of Massachusetts?
© 2012 Shannon