As one of our family road rules, we agreed to listen to an audio book set in each state we visit. As the path has changed each day, we’re a little off schedule. For instance, we didn’t want to pass up on some great literature just because California closed!

So for those who were interested in our reading list, here are the first five:

Didn’t love this. Despite positive reviews and what seemed to be an inspiring YA story, it unwound itself a bit too slowly for our taste. The protagonist, a teenage girl, lives in Seattle where she recently survived sexual assault and gun violence. The novel covers her 2.700mi run to Washington, D.C. as she seeks to engage politicians on gun legislation. The unconditional love that surrounds her is warm and encouraging, but the language isn’t age-appropriate for tweens.

An excellent story set on the Oregon trail, not only bringing the geography to life, but also what it was like to travel in the mid-1800’s. A tough story of seven children who were orphaned during the journey. They are adopted by Christian missionaries on the trail, but both adopted parents are later both murdered. Might be a bit much for some kids.

We ended up bypassing California, but still listened to this wonderful story of a Mexican ranch family that flees tragedy to settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. In additional to relevance (we’ll drive by a part of Trump’s wall later in our #mobilebiosphere itinerary), this book brings to life the hardships of immigrant living and challenges of surviving through the Great Depression. Highly recommend.

One of my favorites, but sadly, a bit too much for my 11yr old. Maybe later.

We haven’t gotten to New Mexico yet either, but will be heading in that direction on Plan D. (Plans A, B, and C have all been set to the side due to a variety of closures). Laini had heard of this one, so we jumped ahead! This book covers the topic of Navajo code talkers, who played a critical role during WWII, sending messages in unbreakable code and saving countless American lives. Code Talker is a fantastic book that pays tribute to some lesser-known heroes. Highly recommend.

I’ll post another book update once we chew through a few more from my list! If you have any good suggestions for Western-Central U.S., we’d love to hear them! Read on.