Upper Peninsula & the Great Lakes

Subjects Listed in This Directory

Great Lakes Themes -- Fiction

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Great Lake States -- Fiction

Donaldson, Joan.  A PEBBLE AND A PEN.  New York:  Holiday, 2000.  157p.  0-8234-1500-7; hb., $15.95.
    00-21777    Gr. 5-12     FIC

    This is an unusual historical fiction book about a subject for which readers will have little prior knowledge.  According to the Author’s Note, Platt Rogers Spencer was a famous master “penman” from the mid 19th century who lived in Ashtabula, Ohio and was called “The Father of American Penmanship.”  Spencer taught penmanship in his seminary to young men who intended to be clerks or copiers in a day when all business entries had to be made by hand with pen and quill.  Matty was harassed by the male pupils and her only friend was Phineas who disappointed her at the 4th of July dance by drinking.  This bothered Matty because her father was an alcoholic and Mr. Spencer was a reformed alcoholic and active temperance member who did not allow drink on his farm and would dismiss any student who did so.   If Matty does not tell Phineas’ secret he won’t reveal hers.
    When fourteen-year-old Matilda, Matty, received her eighth-grade diploma, her mother wanted her to get married because she now had more education than most girls of that time.  However, Matty was not interested in marrying the widower with seven children whom her mother was pushing on her.  With a written recommendation from her teacher and help from her brother, Matty ran away from their Michigan farm and went to Mr. Spencer’s seminary.  During her stay at the seminary, Matty was afraid her mother will find her and make her come home.  When Matty received a letter from her brother, Abe, asking her to come home for an emergency, Marry has a decision to make.  Will Matty give up her dreams?
    Donaldson creates an authentic setting for her story and the physical book is adorned with penmanship examples of Latin mottoes complete with designs.  There is a bibliography.   Sometimes the old world tone of this book may not appeal to all readers but those who enjoy it will learn more about those times.  The author lives in Fennville, MI and the main character was from Manlius, Michigan so the book fits into Michigan collections.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

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Michigan -- Fiction

Rinaldi, Ann.  GIRL IN BLUE.  New York:  Scholastic, 2001.  310p.
    0-439-07336-7; hb., $15.95.   00-041945    Gr. 6-10     FIC

    Fourteen-year-old Sarah runs away from a Michigan farm in 1861 because her father abuses her and plans to marry her to a crude neighbor who wants her to raise his children and work on his farm.  Sarah goes to her widowed aunt’s home in Flint, disguises herself as a boy, and enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Regiment as Neddy Compton.   While disguised as a man, Sarah nurses the wounded, kills a confederate officer during a battle, and engages in a musical program for the entertainment of the soldiers.  Because of her successful mimicry of Topsy in UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, Sarah is invited to Washington to join detective Allan Pinkerton’s spy network.  Sarah’s job posing as a female assistant to Rose Greenhow, a famous Southern spy, brings a romantic twist to the story.  Although her time spying on Greenhow and her relationship with Capt. Sheldon, who is also on the case, are at times confusing, the story is interesting.  Although readers agree with Sarah’s choice at the end of the book, the ending has dismaying elements.  As usual, the author’s note tells about the historical characters who appear in the book and includes a bibliography.   Rinaldi placed Sarah in the 2nd Michigan Infantry because that was the regiment where the famous Debrah Sampson fought disguised as a man and was also the regiment where two other women went along with the army.    Fans of Rinaldi will devour this book and teachers and librarians will happily add this book to bibliographies of the civil war period.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

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Michigan, Upper Peninsula -- Fiction

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Michigan, Marquette Co. -- Fiction

Longtine, Sonny and Laverne Chappell. MARQUETTE: THEN AND NOW,
.  Illus. with photos.   Marquette: North Shore Publications,
    1999.  255p. 0-9670793-C-6; pb. $26.98    Gr. 7+     977.4             
    North Shore Publications, P. O. Box 474, Marquette, MI  49855              
    Fax: 906-226-6568      finprincess@portup.com

       The authors have arranged this look at buildings in one of the largest cities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan according to activities and then by the places where those activities took place.  The authors have provided colorful names for categories which include the following:   harbor;  livelihood;  homes; churches; civic (including schools); and recreation.  Cemeteries and a categories called "Murder & Mayhem and "Games and Gaieties" are especially interesting.  A glossary of architectural terms is included.   This book, intended for adults, should be purchased for adult collections around the Upper Peninsula and in other areas of the state concerned with architecture and key Michigan cities.  The heavier paper, which helps to give the photographs their high quality, drags on the glued binding and librarians will have trouble binding the book as a hardcover because the inner margins are not large enough for rebinding. Although intended for adults, the book has a side benefit.  The excellent lay-out, including lots of white spaces and sidebars with blue backgrounds that appear on every page and the organization by type of activity, makes this book an excellent manual for fourth grade teachers of Michigan History throughout the state.   Upper Peninsula  children will find it even more interesting because they may have visited Marquette.  Using this book as a guide, teachers can send out teams of students with instamatics, digital or video cameras to photograph areas of their own town.  The end product can either be a book of photos with captions, web page, or video production.  Even if a classroom investigated types of establishments listed in one chapter a year, the project would be extensive.  Other educational uses are by home schoolers or for multigrade projects.  These projects would be suitable for junior and senior high school students also.  Fourth graders are especially mentioned here because that is where Michigan History is placed in the state curriculum.   Longtine and Chappell have included photos of buildings "then and now" which can serve as models to help students when  interviewing current owners of buildings and making trips to research facilities to find photos of buildings from the past for their own communities.  This photographic essay of a  historic Michigan community deserves shelf space in personal and library collections.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
        32 years of experience as a school library-media specialist.

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Lake Superior -- Fiction

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The Great Lakes -- Fiction

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Lighthouses -- Fiction

    1910 TO 1940.  Mankato, MN: Blue Earth/Capstone, 1998.  32p.  1-56065-725-1;
    lib.bdg., $21.00  97-31875      Gr. 4-9+       387.1

     Anyone interested in lighthouses, regardless of age, will be interested in learning about daily life at the Split Rock Light Station on Lake Superior near Two Harbors, MN between 1910 and 1940.  Teachers whose classes study states, especially the Great Lake states, will also be interested in sharing this book with students.  The introduction tells why lighthouses were important on Lake Superior, the most dangerous lake in the world.  Information for the book comes from letters sent to the Minnesota Historical Society by children who grew up in lighthouses.  Period photos, originally  black and white, have been tinted.  Sidebars provide projects children can do or additional information.  Readers learn how a lighthouse functioned, how the prism lens turned, how supplies came twice a summer, inspection, family activities, and children's fun.  Of special interest is a glossary, list of three books for kids, three WWW sites, and 21 places to write and visit in the U.S. and Canada.   One of the three lighthouses from Michigan is located in Big Bay in the Upper Peninsula.  One address from each of the other great lakes states includes Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  The last page is on the featured lighthouse in Minnesota and an address and Internet site as well as facts about the light are given.  The page layout is appealing and the photos are explanatory and unavailable from any other sources.  This is an essential purchase for libraries in Great Lake states.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library media specialist

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