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Wisconsin Connections

Wisconsin Connections

Books for Children, Youth & Teachers

Picture Books

Fiction

Nonfiction

Biographies

Teacher Resources

 

 

Picture Books

 

Addy, Sharon Hart. In Grandpa’s Woods

EMC: Picture Books Ad

Illustrations of Wisconsin wildlife and scenery. (ages 4-7)

 

Adler, David A. Mama Played Baseball

EMC: Picture Books Ad

Young Amy helps her mother to get a job as a player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League while Amy’s father is serving in the Army during World War II. The league had teams in five states, including Wisconsin. (ages 5-8)

 

Erdrich, Lise. Bears Make Rock Soup

EMC: Picture Books Er

A collection of stories inspired by paintings that depict the special relationships betweens the Plains Indians and such animals as bear, deer, moose, crows, and loons. The illustrator is a member of the Oneida Tribes of Indians of Wisconsin. (ages 7-10)

 

Heath, Kristina. Mama’s Little One

EMC: Picture Books He

This story reflects the customs and traditional values of the Mohican Nation. This story has connections with the Wisconsin Mohican Tribe. (ages 4-7)

 

Horner, William. The Buried Treasure of Appleton, Wisconsin

EMC: Picture Books Ho

After his death, people searched for Farmer Clarence’s treasure, but no one found it. Many years later, a new property owner’s cat finds the gold coins. (ages 5-8)

 

Horner, William. Gene Shepard’s Wisconsin Hodag

EMC: Picture Books Ho

A group of friends from Rhinelander chase down the hodag, a ferocious beast with flaming nostrils and an earth-shattering roar. (ages 5-8)

 

Horner, William. Snyder & Baldy: Wisconsin Circus Elephants

EMC: Picture Books Ho

Baldy and Snyder are elephants with the Ringling Brothers’ Circus, they perform tricks and help with chores. (ages 5-8)

 

Horner, William. Wisconsin’s Ridgeway Ghost

EMC: Picture Books Ho

A ghost haunted Ridgeway, Wisconsin, playing tricks and pulling pranks, until the railroad came and drove him away with its noise. (ages 5-8)

 

Joosse, Barbara. Lewis & Papa: Adventure on the Santa Fe Trail

EMC: Picture Books Jo

While accompanying his father on the wagon train along the Santa Fe Trail, Lewis discovers what it is to be a man. Part of the book takes place in Wisconsin. Author is from Wisconsin. (ages 5-9)

 

LaMarche, Jim. The Raft

EMC: Picture Books La

Reluctuant Nicky spends a wonderful summer with Grandma who introduces him to the joy of rafting down the river near her home and watching the animals along the banks. The story takes place in Wisconsin. (ages 5-9)

 

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. On Sand Island

EMC: Picture Books Ma

In 1916 on an island in Lake Superior, Carl builds himself a boat by bartering with the other islanders for parts and labor. (ages 5-9)

 

McCully, Emily Arnold. Squirrel and John Muir

EMC: Picture Books Mc

In the early 1900s, a wild little girl nicknamed Squirrel meets John Muir, later to become a famous naturalist, when he arrives at her parents’ hotel in Yosemite Valley seeking work and knowledge about the natural world. (ages 5-8)

 

Waboose, Jan Bourdeau. Morning on the Lake

EMC: Picture Books Wa

A young Ojibwa boy and his grandfather set out early one morning and spend the day observing the ways of nature. (ages 5-8)

 

 

Fiction

 

Bauer, Joan. Hope was Here

EMC: Fiction Ba

When sixteen-year-old Hope and the aunt who has raised her move from Brooklyn to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work as waitress and cook in the Welcome Stairways diner, they become involved with the diner owner’s political campaign to oust the town’s corrupt mayor. (ages 12-18)

 

Bauer, Marion Dane. An Early Winter

EMC: Fiction Ba

When eleven-year-old Tim’s beloved grandfather who lives in Wisconsin develops Alzheimer’s Disease, Tim tries to restore and save him by taking him out for a fishing adventure at the pond, but the outing turns into a disaster. The author lived in Wisconsin. (ages 9-12)

 

Cameron, Ann. The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods

EMC: Fiction Ca

Living in a rural community in Wisconsin during the 1950s, eleven-year-old Amanda gradually and painfully learns a lot about herself, her parents, and her older sister. (ages 10-13)

 

Carter, Alden. Crescent Moon

EMC: Fiction Ca

Living in the logging area of northern Wisconsin during the early 1900s, twelve-year-old Jeremy helps his uncle carve a statue of a Chippewa maiden as a tribute to the vanishing culture of her people. (ages 12 and older)

 

Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House

EMC: Fiction Er

Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847. (ages 8-12)

 

Erdrich, Louise. The Game of Silence

EMC: Fiction Er

Nine-year-old Omakayas, of the Ojibwa tribe, moves west with her family in 1849. (ages 8-12)

 

Hannigan, Katherine. Ida B

EMC: Fiction Ha

In Wisconsin, fourth-grader Ida B spends happy hours being home-schooled and playing in her family’s apple orchard, until her mother begins treatment for breast cancer and her parents must sell part of the orchard and send her to public school. (ages 9-11)

 

Henkes, Kevin. Sun & Spoon

EMC: Fiction He

After the death of his grandmother, ten-year-old Spoon observes the changes in his grandfather and tries to find the perfect artifact to preserve his memories of her. The author is from Wisconsin. (ages 9-12)

 

Kornblatt, Marc. Understanding Buddy

EMC: Fiction Ko

When a new classmate stops speaking because of the sudden death of his mother, fifth grader Sam tries to befriend him and risks destroying his relationship with his best friend Alex. Takes place in Madison, Wisconsin. (ages 9-12)

 

LaFaye, A. Edith Shay

EMC: Fiction La

Leaving her home in Wisconsin in 1865, sixteen-year-old Katherine sets out for Chicago to prove to her family that she can make a life for herself. (ages 10-14)

 

Pellowski, Anne. First Farm in the Valley: Anna’s Story

EMC: Fiction Pe

Anna, born in America to a Polish immigrant family, grows up on a Wisconsin farm amid the Polish Catholic customs of her relatives and neighbors. She often longs to escape the rigors of farm life to visit the romanticized Poland of her dreams. (ages 8-11)

 

Pellowski, Anne. Winding Valley Farm: Annie’s Story

EMC: Fiction Pe

When Annie was growing up in the early 1900s, living on a Wisconsin farm meant hard work for everyone. Still, Annie loved the farm and her life as a Polish Catholic--with its picnics, Christmas celebrations, and family moments. (ages 8-11)

 

Qualey, Marsha. Thin Ice

EMC: Fiction Qu

Seventeen-year-old Arden has been raised by her older brother, Scott, since their parents died when she was just six years old, so when Scott is presumed drowned in a snowmobile accident, Arden is convinced he’s really run away. Story takes place in Wisconsin. (ages 12 and older)

 

Rappaport, Doreen and Lyndall Callan. Dirt on their Skirts: The Story of the Young Women Who Won the World Championship

EMC: Fiction Ra

Margaret experiences the excitement of watching the 1946 championship game of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League as it goes into extra innings. Takes place in Racine, Wisconsin. (ages 4-8)

 

Sinykin, Sheri Cooper. A Matter of Time

EMC: Fiction Sh

When Jody, a sixth grade boy, travels back in time to when his father was his age, he is finally able to mend their fragile relationship. Author lives in Madison, Wisconsin. (ages 10-14)

 

 

Nonfiction

 

Butler, Dori Hillestad. ABC’s of Wisconsin

EMC: Non-fiction 977.5 B985a

Children can count cows with Courtney, discover the Dells with David, and make maple syrup with Megan as they discover the wonder and magic of day to day life in Wisconsin. (ages 3-7)

 

Butler, Dori Hillestad. W is for Wisconsin

EMC: Non-fiction 977.5 B985w

For each letter of the alphabet, a special aspect of Wisconsin is highlighted. Wisconsin cities beginning with each letter and the sign language letter are also provided. (ages 8-12)

 

Dornfeld, Margaret. Wisconsin

EMC: Non-fiction 977.5 D713w

Surveys the history, geography, economy, and people of Wisconsin. (ages 7-11)

 

Gibbons, Gail. Soaring with the Wind: The Bald Eagle

EMC: Non-fiction 598.943 G441s

Describes the characteristics, behavior, and life cycle of the bald eagle. This is a book that will contribute to one’s understanding of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in Wisconsin. (ages 6-8)

 

Granfield, Linda. Circus: An Album

EMC: Non-fiction 791.3 G756c

Traces the history of circuses from the time of ancient Egypt and Greece through their evolution in eighteenth-century Europe to the spectacles created by P.T. Barnum and other modern-day showmen. (ages 9-11)

 

Lutes, Jason and Nick Bertozzi. Houdini: The Handcuff King

EMC: Non-fiction 921 H836l

In bold graphics, and drawing on the most respected sources, author and artist formulate a living picture of this greatest of Americans and show how time and morals shaped him and his art. (ages 10 and older)

 

Malone, Bobbie. Learning from the Land: Wisconsin Land Use

EMC: Non-fiction 977.5 M257l

Introduces students to how people have used the lands of the Wisconsin area throughout history. (ages 8-12)

 

Malone, Bobbie. Working with Water: Wisconsin Waterways

EMC: Non-fiction 977.5 M257w

(ages 9-12)

 

Peterson, Cris. Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More

EMC: Non-fiction 636.2 P485c

Describes what life is like for a dairy cow on a Wisconsin farm, telling how they are milked, what they eat, and what they produce besides milk. (ages 5-8)

 

Peterson, Cris. Fantastic Farm Machines

EMC: Non-fiction 631.3 P485f

Introduces readers to twelve types of farm machinery. The author lives on a Wisconsin dairy farm where many of the book’s photos were taken. (ages 5-8)

 

Rendon, Marcie R. and Cheryl Walsh Bellville. Farmer’s Market: Families Working Together

EMC: Non-fiction 635 R397f

Handsome color photos and well-written text combine in this introduction to farmers' markets, as seen through the eyes of two successful truck-farming families. This is about a farmer’s market in Minnesota; not quite Wisconsin, but close enough to qualify for this list. (ages 7-11)

 

Zeinert, Karen and Joyce Hart. Wisconsin

EMC: Non-fiction 977.5 Z46w

"Provides comprehensive information on the geography, history, wildlife, governmental structure, economy, cultural diversity, peoples, religion, and landmarks of Wisconsin"--Provided by publisher. (ages 9-12)

 

 

Biographies of People with Wisconsin Connections

 

Anderson, William. Laura’s Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder

EMC: Non-fiction 921 W673and

Photographs and mementos accompany an account of the life and literary career of the author of the well-loved "Little House" books. Laura’s parents first met and married in Wisconsin. (ages 9 and older)

 

Anderson, William. Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder

EMC: Non-fiction 921 W673ande

Recounts the life story of the author of the "Little House" books, from her childhood in Wisconsin to her old age at Rocky Ridge Farm. (ages 6-8)

 

Ball, Jacqueline A. Wildfire! The 1871 Peshtigo Firestorm

EMC: Non-fiction 363.37 B187w

Describes the October 8, 1871, firestorm that occurred when deadly flames rushed through the forest and hit a small logging town in Wisconsin like a bomb. (ages 8-10)

 

Bausum, Ann. Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs: A Photobiography of Roy Chapman

EMC: Non-fiction 921 A569b

A biography of the great explorer-adventurer, who discovered huge finds of dinosaur bones in Mongolia, pioneered modern paleontology field research, and became the director of the American Museum of Natural History. Chapman was born and raised in Wisconsin. (ages 8 and older)

 

Byrnes, Patricia. Environmental Pioneers

EMC: Non-fiction 920 B995e

Profiles people who have been influential in the environmental movement: John Muir, Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling, Rosalie Edge, Aldo Leopold, Olaus and Margaret Murie, Rachel Carson, David Brower, and Gaylord Nelson. (ages 11-14)

 

Cha, Dia. Dia’s Story Cloth: The Hmong People’s Journey to Freedom

EMC: Non-fiction 973.004 C426d

The story cloth made for her by her aunt and uncle chronicles the life of the author and her family in their native Laos and their eventual emigration to the United States. Wisconsin is home to many in the Hmong community. (ages 8-11)

 

Cornell, Joseph. John Muir: My Life with Nature

EMC: Non-fiction 921 M953mu

A biography of the man known as "father of America’s national parks" and an influential conservationist, told in the first person, using Muir’s own words. (ages 8-11)

 

Davis, Frances A. Frank Lloyd Wright: Maverick Architect

EMC: Non-fiction 921 W949d

A biography of the innovative American architect whose ideas influenced the direction of design in the twentieth century. (ages 11-16)

 

Ehlert, Lois. Under My Nose

EMC: Non-fiction 921 E33e

Author and illustrator of books for young people, Lois Ehlert shares how she interweaves her creative process with her daily routine. (ages 7-12)

 

Fleischman, Sid. Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini

EMC: Non-fiction 921 H836f

A biography of the magician, ghost chaser, aviator, and king of escape artists whose amazing feats are remembered long after his death in 1926. Profiling his early years, personal life, and great accomplishments in show business, the story of the famous magician, Harry Houdini, comes to life through a review of his greatest tricks and most amazing feats, complete with index, photos, and author’s notes. (ages 10-14)

 

Geisert, Bonnie and Arthur Geisert. Prairie Town

EMC: Non-fiction 307.72 G313p

Describes a year in the life of a prairie town including the effect of seasons and of economics on the ebb and flow of this agricultural community. The author has lived in Wisconsin. (ages 5-9)

 

Gregg, Andy. Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow

EMC: Non-fiction 398.2 G819p

Tells how Paul Bunyan saves his loggers from a terrible winter and in the process creates the Mississippi River and turns his ox, Babe, blue. (ages 7-11)

 

Hintz, Martin. Wisconsin Portraits: 55 People Who Made a Difference

EMC: Non-fiction 920 H666w

From astronauts to athletes, you'll meet 55 special people, either born or raised in Wisconsin, that made a difference in our world. A "who's who'' of famous Wisconsinites, this book is sure to educate and entertain. Read about Georgia O'Keefe, Golda Meir, Harry Houdini, Liberace, and Aldo Leopold. A photo accompanies each biography. (ages 10-14)

 

Holliday, Diane Young. Mountain Wolf Woman: A Ho-Chunk Girlhood

EMC: Non-fiction 970.3 H678h

Imagine if the government told you to pack up your things and move away from everything you knew to live on land you had never seen. That is exactly what happened to the family of Mountain Wolf Woman before she was born. Eager to return to Wisconsin, her family traveled hundreds of miles by canoe to the land they considered home. Once back home, however, they did not stay in one place, going to the same schools and jobs every day. Instead, they followed the seasons to hunt and gather food. (ages 9-12)

 

Hunter, Sally M. Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition

EMC: Non-fiction 970.3 W776h

Twelve-year-old Russell learns how to grow and dry corn from his Winnebago grandfather. (ages 7-11)

 

Ito, Tom. John Muir

EMC: Non-fiction 921 M953i

Activist and naturalist, John Muir is best remembered for his fight to preserve Yosemite Valley from development. As he claimed, "The park is the poor man's refuge. Few are altogether blind and deaf to the sweet looks and voices of nature. (ages 11-14)

 

Judge, Lita. One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II

EMC: Non-fiction 940.53 J92o

The author describes her family’s efforts to help their friends and others who were left homeless and hungry in the aftermath of World War II. (ages 6-10)

 

Lalicki, Tom. Spellbinder: The Life of Harry Houdini

EMC: Non-fiction 921 H836l

Lalicki traces Houdini's transformation from unsuccessful small-time vaudeville entertainer to big-city theater star. (ages 8-14)

 

Lasky, Kathryn. John Muir: America’s First Environmentalist

EMC: Non-fiction 921 M953l

A biography of John Muir, naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club, whose travels, speeches and writings led directly to the creation of the Yosemite National Park in 1890 and other national parks that followed. (ages 7-11)

 

Loew, Patty. Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal

EMC: Non-fiction 977.5 L827i

After a brief overview of the history of Indians in Wisconsin up until the arrival and first conflicts with Europeans, Loew (an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe) offers brief histories of twelve groups who have maintained their presence in Wisconsin from the point of European contact up to the present. (ages 14 and older)

 

Marrin, Albert. Secrets from the Rocks: Dinosaur Hunting with Roy Chapman Andrews

EMC: Non-fiction 560 M359s

A biography of the scientist-adventurer, Roy Chapman Andrews, focusing on the expeditions he led for New York’s American Museum of Natural History to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia in an effort to uncover dinosaur fossils. Roy Chapman Andrews was a native of Wisconsin. (ages 9-14)

 

Niven, Penelope. Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet

EMC: Non-fiction 921 S213n

Traces the life of the American poet, journalist, and historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Pulitzer Prize for History. Sandburg lived in Wisconsin for a few years. (ages 7-11)

 

Pferdehirt, Julia. Freedom Train North: Stories of the Underground Railroad in Wisconsin

EMC: Non-fiction 973.711 P528f

(ages 9-12)

 

Pferdehirt, Julia. They Came to Wisconsin

EMC: Non-fiction 977.5 P528t

The companion teacher’s guide to "They Came from Wisconsin" offers educators in every setting classroom, library, and at home vocabulary lists, objectives, skills, strategies, standards-based activities, and dozens of blackline masters for worksheets and handouts. Engages students in hands-on exploration of the immigration theme. (ages 8-12)

 

Rendon, Marcie R. Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life

EMC: Non-fiction 970.3 O39re

Rendon follows the Downwind family (members of the Anishinabe tribe in northern Minnesota) one summer as they attend a series of weekend powwows. (ages 7-11)

 

Schier, Mary Larh. Strong-Minded Woman: The Story of Lavinia Goodell, Wisconsin’s First Female Lawyer

EMC: Non-fiction 921 G648s

Provides an engaging look at the life of Lavinia Goodell, Wisconsin’s first female lawyer. (ages 9-12)

 

Schubert, Leda. Ballet of the Elephants

EMC: Non-fiction 792.8 S384b

The story of how "Circus polka" a dance of 50 elephants and 50 ballerinas, choreographed by George Balanchine, was created. This was done in collaboration with Wisconsin native and circus owner John Ringling. (ages 5-8)

 

Sherrow, Victoria. Joseph McCarthy and the Cold War

EMC: Non-fiction 921 M123s

A biography of the unknown first-term senator from Wisconsin who gained notoriety by stirring up anti-Communist fears in the years after World War II. (ages 10-13)

 

Stotts, Stuart. Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin

EMC: Non-fiction 921 S799s

Lutie Stearns traveled the highways, back roads and back woods of Wisconsin, bringing books in boxes to cities, isolated towns, farms and crossroad communities. Through deep winter and blazing summer, over cobblestones streets and muddy wagon trails she spread the gospel of books to all who were ready to read. This engaging biography illuminates the life of this home grown American Heroine. (ages 8-11)

 

Youth of the Mohican Nation. Stories of Our Elders

EMC: Non-fiction 970.3 S864s

This book is a result of a project where high school students recorded interviews with the “elders” of their Mohican community. (ages 9 and older)

 

Winter, Jeanette. My Name is Georgia: A Portrait

EMC: Non-fiction 921 O41w

Presents, in brief text and illustrations, the life of the painter who drew much of her inspiration from nature. Georgia was born on a farm in Wisconsin in 1887. (ages 5-8)

 

 

Resources for Teachers

 

Blessing, Matt. Wisconsin History on Stage: Scripts for Grades 4 through 8

EMC: Teaching Ideas PS3552.L43.W57 1999

A collection of plays presenting the history of Wisconsin, from pioneer days to World War II. (ages 9-13)

 

Blum, Don. Celebrating Everyday Life in Wisconsin History

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.3.S69 1997

Designed to help upper elementary and middle school classrooms research, plan, and build exhibits (actual or virtual) that explore local state history. (ages 9-13)

 

Brown, Harriet. They Came to Wisconsin: Teacher’s Guide and Student Materials

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.3.S688 2002

The companion teachers guide to They Came from Wisconsin offers educators in every setting classroom, library, and at home vocabulary lists, objectives, skills, strategies, standards-based activities, and dozens of blackline masters for worksheets and handouts. Engages students in hands-on exploration of the immigration theme. (age 10 and older)

 

Calhoun, Sharon Cooper. The Wisconsin Adventure

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.3.A59 2000

Traces the history of Wisconsin from prehistory to the present day. (ages 9 and older)

 

Holliday, Diane Young. Digging and Discovery: Wisconsin Archaeology

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.3.S7 1997

Takes a look at Wisconsin’s past through the various archaeological sites in the state. (ages 7-11)

 

Loew, Patty. Native People of Wisconsin

EMC: Teaching Ideas E78.W8.L65 2003

Introduces the twelve Indian nations that live in Wisconsin, presenting tribal stories that incorporate various ways Native people remember the past, and emphasizing the value of oral tradition.

 

Malone, Bobbie. Mapping Wisconsin History: Teacher’s Guide and Student Materials

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.S73 2000

The joy of maps abounds in this set of exciting classroom materials from the WHS's Office of School Services and the Wisconsin Cartographers' Guild, creators of the best-selling book, Wisconsin's Past and Present: A Historical Atlas. For use either independently or as a companion to the Atlas, this publication includes seven color transparencies depicting: landscape and glaciation; American Indians; migration and ethnic settlement; cities and counties; mining; timber; agriculture; and industry and transportation. Background information and classroom activities, as well as reproducible worksheets and blackline transparencies, give educators the opportunity to explore and integrate Wisconsin history and geography with students from grades four and up. (ages 9-13)

 

Malone, Bobbie. Wisconsin’s Built Environment: Teacher’s Guide and Student Materials

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.3.S74 1999

This resource folder for grades 4-12 helps students explore the social history of a wide variety of buildings and other structures throughout Wisconsin. (ages 9-13)

 

Malone, Bobbie. Wisconsin: Our State, Our Story

Textbooks: F581.3.M35 2008

 

Students of Winnequah Middle School. Wisconsin for Kids by Kids

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.3 .W52 1998

(particularly of interest to middle school students)

 

Pferdehirt, Julia. Freedom Train North: Stories of the Underground Railroad in Wisconsin

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.3.L58 1998

(ages: 9-14)

 

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Lurkers Going Berserk: Invasive Insects Wreaking Havoc on Wisconsin’s Forests

EMC: Teaching Ideas SB762.L8 2006

 

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Learning about Wisconsin: Activities, Historical Documents and Resources Linked to Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Social Sciences in Grades 4-12

EMC: Teaching Ideas F581.3.W53 1999

 

Woolsey, Jane. Wisconsin Indians: a Curriculum for Grades 2-6

EMC: Teaching Ideas E78.W8.W69 2005

 

 

*This bibliography is an adaptation of the bibliography produced by Cooperative Children’s Book Center.

Compiled November 2008

Education Materials Center
Stephen Katz
920-424-0779
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