Route 1 Reads

Harriet P. Henry Center for the Book

A partnership through the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress

Join us in traveling the 2,369 miles of U.S. Route 1 from Ft. Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida… by book! This year, poetry will be your guide!

As home of Harriet P. Henry Center for the Book, the Maine Humanities Council is once again excited to participate in Route 1 Reads, a road trip-inspired reading list through the network of 16 state Center for the Book affiliates located along Route 1. Our 2021 featured book is A New Land: 30 Groundbreaking Poems by Youth Poets

A New Land

With an introduction by Inaugural United States Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, A New Land packages thirty groundbreaking poems from the first fifteen years of Portland, Maine’s The Telling Room.

Since 2004, The Telling Room has been nurturing the voices and publishing the work of some of today’s most talented and inspiring young poets and writers. A New Land is organized into three sections mirroring the transitional stages from childhood into adulthood. Follow one narrator as he revisits the winding river in Cameroon where he grew up. Feel how one of these poets feels when watching her younger brother grow into a black man in the world. Imagine the horror of a wildfire in the midst of climate change. Listen to one young woman describe the joys and tribulations of teenage motherhood. The poems here offer a stunning exploration of coming-of-age and a triumphant chorus of American youth, whose voices make up their “new land” and also reckon with the social issues that impact us all.



 “…a collection of youth poetry that is both brave and radiant…These poems are vibrant and unforgettable…” 

—  Amanda Gorman, Presidential Inaugural Poet

“A New Land introduces us to a generation of remarkable writers. In poems full of rich language and moving detail, we come to see suffering, love, and yearning through their eyes. I felt like a traveler seeing places for the first time, awakened to the possibility, power, and consequences of each moment we are given.”

— Stuart Kestenbaum, Maine Poet Laureate, author of Only Now


Multimedia Toolkit

Teach writing and poetry with bestselling anthology A New Land, using poems written by Maine’s own youth. For teachers, students, and all of us who want to dive into poetry.

This toolkit contains video and audio of selected poets reading their work as well interviews, poems, and writing prompts.

A New Land has been adopted and endorsed by the Maine Department of Education, Governor Janet T. Mills, Maine Humanities Council, Indigo Arts Alliance, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, New England Youth Identity Summit, and The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center.

About the Telling Room

The Telling Room empowers youth through writing and sharing their voices with the world. As a literary arts education organization focused on young writers ages 6 to 18, they seek to build confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and provide real audiences for their students.

Poetry Express, a collaborative poetry performance program of the
Maine Humanities Council, hosted by The The Telling Room in 2021.



Route 1 Reads is a partnership between the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and its 16 affiliate East Coast Centers for the Book:

Connecticut, Delaware; Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and D.C.

Every summer, these State Centers select a book that illuminates important aspects of their state or commonwealth so you can read your way down this this iconic, meandering highway. The diverse reading lists created by Route 1 Reads highlights each individual State Center for the Book while celebrating the East Coast as a whole.

Whether you are at home or on the road this summer, we hope this list of must-read books will keep everyone turning pages until Labor Day.

In partnership with