The State Centers for the Book linked by US Route 1 are joining together to promote books that illuminate important aspects of their states/commonwealths for readers traveling the major and meandering highway.

The Route

U.S. Route 1 is a major north–south U.S. Highway that serves the East Coast from Ft. Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida. At 2,369 miles, it's the longest north–south road in the United States. The Route 1 Reads initiative is a partnership between 16 affiliate Centers for the Book along that route to promote books that illuminate important aspects of their states or commonwealths for readers travelling this meandering highway. The initiative was launched at the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

Representative map of US Route 1


2020 ReadSC's Route 1 Reads Selection

Cover of Trouble the Water by Rebecca Dwight Bruff

For 2020, ReadSC's Route 1 Reads selection is Rebecca Dwight Bruff's Trouble the Water. Inspired by the true story of an unsung American hero, Trouble the Water navigates the rich tributaries of courage, family, faith, forgiveness, and redemption. In this inspiring journey, Robert Smalls — born enslaved and witness to both great privilege and great suffering — grows up alongside his owner’s daughter and the dangerous son of a firebrand secessionist. At the age of 12, he’s sent to work in Charleston, where he loads ships and learns to pilot a steamer. When the Civil War erupts, he seizes a high-risk opportunity to pursue freedom for himself and the people he loves.

"To make a long story short, the story of Robert Smalls opened my eyes and my mind and my heart, and moved me across the country because I felt compelled – called – to share his story. We moved to Beaufort so that I could research and write the book, Trouble the Water." - Rebecca Dwight Bruff.

South Carolina's Route 1 Reads are listed below by year. More details about each state's selection and a map of participating states can be found at