I was so excited when this book crossed my desk. When I was a kid, an activity book would have grabbed my attention for several weeks. I would have taken it along when we traveled in the car (which we did almost every weekend, visiting one relative or another). My mom and I would have talked over the information and activities on every page. I have always loved learning (especially on my own) and I love history. This book was made … for the kid in me … and kids like me!
I respect the duo who created this book, author Patricia Bauer and illustrator David Geister, husband and wife, for their commitment history, art, and learning. Knowing them, I can imagine they collaborated on every aspect of this book to make it an experience kids will enjoy and remember.
There’s a narrative here that isn’t usually part of an activity book. I enjoy all the facts within context, and the way terms are defined with energy and high interest. Whether it’s sports, indigenous Minnesotans, history, art, contemporary places to visit, the author and illustrator present just the right amount of information to encourage further exploration.
For activities, you can write, make lists, draw, create poetry, record what you’ve discovered, and add percussion!
We learn about biomes, agriculture, water resources, mining, lumbering, state parks, and a myriad of elements that create the fabric of Minnesota. Even the mosquito is included (noting that it’s jokingly referred to as Minnesota’s State Bird).
This might be my favorite MN Morsel from the book: “Here’s a fun fact: Minnesota has more shoreline–183,326 miles–than California, Hawaii, and Florida combined! That includes oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams.” Cowabunga!
The illustrations are done in a watercolor palette and sepia-tone line drawings that create visual richness on every page. So much to look at, so many children of diverse ethnicities taking part.
Best of all, every bit of information on these pages is a conversation starter for young and old. I read many of the facts out loud as I savored the book.
And now, some really good news in these challenging times. These books are free!!! A Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment grant have made these books, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, available to you. Go to https://www.mnhs.org/makingminnesota to obtain a book for yourself, your favorite child, or a classroom.
Every kid in every state should have access to a book as vital about their own state. Thanks Pat and Dave and Minnesota Historical Society Press for this gift to Minnesota’s kids!
text by Patricia Bauer
artwork by David Geister
Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2022
ISBN 978-1-68134-261-0 (paperback)