As the summer travel season kicks off, many of us look forward to exploring new places on trips away from home. To help with this, NPR asked poets laureate, state librarians, bookstore owners and other literary luminaries from all 50 states — plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — to recommend quintessential reads that illuminate where they live.
Nominated by Jaki Shelton Green, poet laureate of North Carolina
North Carolina: Land of Water, Land of Sky by Bland Simpson: A stunning account of not only the majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains of the Appalachian range, sprawling forests and the enchanted crests of the Atlantic coastline, but also its people: our stories, identities, histories, sufferance, memory, vision and the ancestral energy that remains inside of our communities. North Carolina, like many states, has a layered and complex culture. Bland Simpson has written a compelling love letter to our entwined “goodliest land” amplifying our collective appreciation for the sanctuary of home and kinship.