Children’s Books Set In Richmond and Virginia! (Part 2)

Posted about 2 months ago by Lisa Wiertel

This is the 2nd installment of a series of blog posts highlighting children’s books that include Richmond and Virginia as the location.

It is always fun to read books that take place where we live.  Seeing our Virginia cities and counties mentioned in the pages of a book gives one a special connection to what is being read.  Richmond Public Library has many children’s books in our collection with settings that take place in Richmond and Virginia.  Both fiction and non-fiction selections are included with a brief description, recommended age range, and a link to our library catalog where one can request the book.  

D Is For Drums:  A Colonial Williamsburg ABC by Kay Choras. This book was written in association with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  It goes through the alphabet, but in colonial fashion.  Each page is dedicated to a letter and showcases words that begin with that letter.  Some words one might not know (hello, quoit!), but luckily there is a glossary to help you and your little one learn the terms.  Ages 3-6.

Sparks Fly High: The Legend of Dancing Point retold by Mary Quattlebaum.  Based on a Virginia legend, Sparks Fly High tells the origin tale of the real life location of Dancing Point, Virginia located in Charles City County.  Colonel Lightfoot is a proud man and thinks he is the best dancer.  In an effort to get part of his land back to being fertile, the Colonel is challenged to a dancing contest by the devil.  The illustrations by Leonid Gore are light, fun, and quick to show movement.  Ages 6-9.

Freedom Song:  The Story of Henry “Box” Brown by Sally M. Walker.  Henry Brown was a slave born on a plantation near Richmond.  After his family is sold, Henry, at the age of 33, decides to mail himself to freedom with the help of some friends.  The story is heartbreaking and shows the lengths that slaves would go so that they could be free.  At the end of the book is an actual letter written by one of the witnesses to the “unboxing” of Brown.  Ages 4-8.

Big Bad Ironclad! By Nathan Hale.  This book is part of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel series Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales.  The background story about the Monitor and Merrimac, the two ironclad Civil War ships that fought in the Battle of Hampton Roads, is portrayed .  Based on an actual event, Hale uses artistic license to tell an engrossing, at times funny, retelling of the historical event which took place all around the waters near Norfolk.   Ages 8-11.

Ellen’s Broom written by Kelly Starling Lyons, Illustrated by Daniel Minter.  The author’s inspiration for this picture book was a document found in Henry County, Virginia that was the 1866 Cohabitation List, a document giving slave marriages protection by law. The book tells the fictionalized story of a slave couple along with their children who go to the courthouse to have their marriage recognized. The book shows the importance of traditions like “jumping the broom”.  The woodcut images are bright and beautifully done.   Ages 5-8.

Thank you for reading our Virginia books post.  If you end up reading one of our suggestions, we would love for you to post about the book!

Until next time!


Lisa Wiertel

Lisa Wiertel is a Youth Services Librarian working out of the Westover Hills branch. She is a native of Buffalo, NY (Go Bills!), but Virginia has been home for a long time. She is a mixed media artist, long distance hiker, and a nature lover. She loves books where she can explore her love of history that also challenge her way of thinking.

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