Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The loss of a child during pregnancy

I am really just storing this here. The web page for this no longer exists on the original site and while I can retrieve it on the Archive.org site, I don't want to lose the words. They were such comfort to me when I was really struggling during the years we lost 3 of our children during pregnancy.

It came from a site called Stepping Stones and was a part of Bethany Christian Services.


Don't tell me, "You can have another baby." How do you know? Besides, I want this baby.

Don't tell me, "at least it happened before it was born. It's not like you knew the baby." I did know my baby. For the short time s/he was with me, I loved my baby with all my heart. I had hopes and dreams for this baby. I had names picked out and a theme for the nursery. I knew my baby was going to be a very special person.

Don't tell me, "It's just one of those things." It was not just "one of those things" from my viewpoint. Miscarriage has had a devastating effect on my life, and making it sound as though it was an unimportant event does not lessen the impact.

Don't tell me, "It's common," or "It happens to a lot of women." This happened to me, and all I want is to have my baby back.

Don't tell me "It was just a blob of tissue." In my heart and in God's eyes, I know I was carrying a living being inside me from the moment s/he was conceived. Please don't trivialize my beliefs or that precious life.

Don't tell me, "You should be over it by now." Even though the physical effects may have subsided, I am still hurting emotionally. My child has died, and it takes much longer than a week or two to recover from that pain.

Don't tell me, "You'll get over it." The miscarriage was the death of my child. I will never "get over it." The pain and grief will eventually lessen, but I will always wonder what my child would have been like. Every should-have-been birthday, and every anniversary of the miscarriage will be a reminder.

Don't tell me, "You should get pregnant again as soon as possible. That'll help." Help what? I need time to grieve the baby I have lost. I can't even begin to think about getting pregnant again at this time.

Don't tell me, "It won't happen again. The next time will be fine." Again, how do you know? My second pregnancy ended in miscarriage also, even after doctors said there was no reason it wouldn't be successful the second time around.

Do listen to me when I want, or need, to talk about what I am going through.

Do be sensitive to the fact that I probably won't want to hear about your pregnant friend/neighbor/cousin/daughter, or about your new grandchildren or nieces and nephews for a while.

Do give me time to grieve. Some days I may need your shoulder to cry on after everyone else thinks I should be "okay" by now.

Do understand that there are "milestone days," such as the expected due date of the time I should have felt the first kick, when I will be feeling the loss as deeply as when the miscarriage occurred. I will need your support then.

Do know that I am like any other person who has experienced the death of a loved one. I may not feel like talking when you come for a visit, or I may do things you may think inappropriate - such as clean the house - just to have something to do so I don't have to think. Be patient with me.

Do show care to others who have experienced miscarriage. Treat their loss with the same respect and love you would give if they were suffering the death of any other loved one.

Do let those of us who are going through - or have gone through - a miscarriage know that we are not alone. Send a note or make a phone call to let us know you're thinking of us, especially on those difficult "milestone days." Sometimes we feel that we're the only ones who remember, and it's nice to know that our baby was important to you too.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Grade Levels/Norms - do they really matter? or Why Homeschooling Rocks & Understood Betsy!


I talk about the book Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher quite often with regard to "grade levels" and homeschool (or even public school) parents freaking out because their child is ahead/behind/average/advanced/etc. When Elizabeth/Betsy goes from the city school to the country school, her school experience changes. When I read this book to my oldest child, I had that final epiphany (and I had been researching homeschooling since she was 2) - THIS is what homeschooling is all about! We aren't trying to recreate school grades at home. We don't have hundreds of students in our homeschools. We typically have WAY smaller classrooms (I know there are some of you who have lots more than the 4 I have, lol). We have the freedom to NOT worry about all that silliness that is required by tax dollar use accountability and management of the education of huge numbers of children!! The book Understood Betsy can be found in your library or read for free online (you can even get a version for your Kindle reader).




The whole book is good (for boys and girls both), but Chapter 5 is what I am referring to:


"Betsy sighed, took out her third-grade reader, and went with the other two up to the battered old bench near the teacher's desk. She knew all about reading lessons and she hated them, although she loved to read. But reading lessons...! You sat with your book open at some reading that you could do with your eyes shut, it was so easy, and you waited and waited and waited while your classmates slowly stumbled along, reading aloud a sentence or two apiece, until your turn came to stand up and read your sentence or two, which by that time sounded just like nonsense because you'd read it over and over so many times to yourself before your chance came. And often you didn't even have a chance to do that, because the teacher didn't have time to get around to you at all, and you closed your book and put it back in your desk without having opened your mouth. Reading was one thing Elizabeth Ann had learned to do very well indeed, but she had learned it all by herself at home from much reading to herself. Aunt Frances had kept her well supplied with children's books from the nearest public library. She often read three a week—very different, that, from a sentence or two once or twice a week."

.....{I am skipping parts - you can read the whole chapter online!}....

"Well," said the teacher, "there's no sense in your reading along in the third reader. After this you'll recite out of the seventh reader with Frank and Harry and Stashie."

Elizabeth Ann could not believe her ears. To be "jumped" four grades in that casual way! It wasn't possible! She at once thought, however, of something that would prevent it entirely, and while Ellen was reading her page in a slow, careful little voice, Elizabeth Ann was feeling miserably that she must explain to the teacher why she couldn't read with the seventh-grade children. Oh, how she wished she could! When they stood up to go back to their seats she hesitated, hung her head, and looked very unhappy. "Did you want to say something to me?" asked the teacher, pausing with a bit of chalk in her hand.

The little girl went up to her desk and said, what she knew it was her duty to confess: "I can't be allowed to read in the seventh reader. I don't write a bit well, and I never get the mental number-work right. I couldn't do ANYthing with seventh-grade arithmetic!"

The teacher looked a little blank and said: "I didn't say anything about your number-work! I don't know anything about it! You haven't recited yet."

......{I am skipping parts - you can read the whole chapter online!}....

However, just then her class in arithmetic was called, so that she had no more time to be puzzled. She came forward with Ralph and Ellen again, very low in her mind. She hated arithmetic with all her might, and she really didn't understand a thing about it! By long experience she had learned to read her teachers' faces very accurately, and she guessed by their expression whether the answer she gave was the right one. And that was the only way she could tell. You never heard of any other child who did that, did you?

......{I am skipping parts again - but really, read the whole chapter online!}....

After the lesson the teacher said, smiling, "Well, Betsy, you were right about your arithmetic. I guess you'd better recite with Eliza for a while. She's doing second-grade work. I shouldn't be surprised if, after a good review with her, you'd be able to go on with the third-grade work."

Elizabeth Ann fell back on the bench with her mouth open. She felt really dizzy. What crazy things the teacher said! She felt as though she was being pulled limb from limb.

"What's the matter?" asked the teacher, seeing her bewildered fact.

"Why—why," said Elizabeth Ann, "I don't know what I am at all. If I'm second-grade arithmetic and seventh-grade reading and third-grade spelling, what grade am I?"

The teacher laughed at the turn of her phrase. "you aren't any grade at all, no matter where you are in school. You're just yourself, aren't you? What difference does it make what grade you're in! And what's the use of your reading little baby things too easy for you just because you don't know your multiplication table?




Tina Hollenbeck of The Homeschool Resource Roadmap made this wonderful picture after one of the many discussions on this topic and my talking about the book. It sums it all up perfectly!



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Some of our favorite Christmas books

Someone was asking me what books that we liked to read during the lead up time to Christmas Day. Rather than try to put them up on a Facebook post, I thought I would list them here since we have so many in our personal library -- let alone the ones we get from the library!

So, here goes:

Favorite books from our personal library:

The First Christmas retold by Lynne Bradbury

A Pussycat's Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown

Corduroy's Christmas by B.G. Hennessey (this is a Lift-the-Flap book)

The First Christmas retold by Laura Ring (An ABC Book)

Tosca's Christmas - story by Matthew Sturgis, pictures by Anne Mortimer

The Donkey's Christmas Song by Nancy Tafuri

I Spy Christmas by Jean Marzollo and photos by Walter Wick

The Night before Christmas or a Visit of St. Nicholas

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham (I LOVE this story!!)

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

Harold at the North Pole by Crockett Johnson

Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

I Want a Dog for Christmas, CHarlie Brown! by CHarles M. Schulz

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz

The Christmas Story by Carol Heyer (I LOVE the illustrations for this one - they draw me in!!)

The Chiropractor Who Saved Christmas by Diane Miller (don't ask, lol!)

Child of the Promise by Stormie O'Martian (15 short chapter, illustrations are beautiful, could be used for part of Advent readings or simply spread out over the 2 weeks before Christmas

The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier (love the illustrations)

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Hilary Knight (Yes, the song...the pictures are terribly fun - watch out for those racoons!!)

The Animals' Christmas Eve by Gale Wiersum (Little Golden Book)

Tell Me About Christmas by Mar Alice Jones

Babushka by Dawn Casey

Friday, June 16, 2017

Honesty, White Lies, Acting a Lie, Being Honest with Yourself

Keep it honest, people. Those little white lies are still lies, but you painted them to look pretty (sort of like putting lipstick on a pig). Acting a lie IS still a lie as well.

What do I mean by acting a lie? Well, an short little story that was in my child's CLE reader years ago has stuck with me. The gist of it was that a farmer was packing up peaches in baskets at the family fruit stand and putting them for sale. He was an honest man and the fruits were the same all the way through. However, there was another fruit farmer that would put lovely, perfect peaches on top of the container, but bruised ones would be on the bottom - deceiving his customers into thinking they were getting all perfect ones until they got home and found out the truth. The 1st farmer explained to his son how this was "acting" a lie (instead of a verbal lie).

How may of us "act a lie"? How often? I suspect we all do it far more often than we think and without even realizing it. White lies? All.the.time. - many people think a white lie is okay since you are trying to not hurt someones feelings (let's be honest, you can be more creative and figure out something to say that isn't a lie....or suck it up, be brave, & gently tell the truth). But, we tell ourselves lies as well...and often, we tell them to ourselves often enough that we come to believe them, tell others the same lie and expect them to believe them, then get upset/angry when others are brave enough to correct us. Sometimes, those that have lied to themselves decide to turn it on others and instead of owning up to their lie and accepting the correction (I get it - it is hard to do!), they call the other persons character into question, accuse them of creating disharmony by not going along with the little white lie, and then, even worse, maligning that persons character by telling everyone who will listen just how awful and wrong that person is for not believing the lie, not going along with the lie, & (heaven forbid) telling them that what they were believing was a lie.

Think long and hard before you decide to disparage others over something that you know down deep is a lie....in fact, as a Christian, we should be VERY thoughtful about it and if we think that person who has told us we are wrong about something, we should do due diligence and search out the truth in fact and in our hearts (are we just mad because we were called on the carpet about it and did not like what we heard). Then, if you are still struggling, go to that person directly and try to understand what the problem is. There is a biblical model for conflict resolution.  There is actually more there that goes with my thoughts on this one, but that leads to another ugly topic that none of us like to think we do (and without thinking as well).

Pray about it. Ask God to speak truth to you. Ask for clarification and understanding. You might be surprised what God has to say to you....you might not like it, but He won't deceive you. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Because it is coming up to that time of year....

In more recent years, there is an awful lot of websites out there that try to indicate that Christmas and Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter) are a result of Christians trying to take over Pagan holidays and that Christ could not possibly have been born on December 25th. Ultimately, none of us in this day and age will know the truth of it until we get to Heaven (and at that point, it really won't be important any longer, will it?!).

I have read many webpages and well researched articles that discuss both sides. From the ones trying to tell me that really, we Christians tried to steal from Saturnalia for Christmas and from Ishtar for Resurrection Sunday (by using the title Easter for the day), I always come away with a bit of an ugly taste in my mouth - because it feels an awful lot like those people are very angry with Christians for daring to impose our celebration of Christ's birth and Resurrection around their pagan holidays that are more in line with celebrations of death, fertility, etc.

I am willing to consider those bits of information, but I am also willing to seriously consider information for the other side as well.

Towards that direction, here are a few "pro-Christmas/December 25th" articles for your consideration as a counter balance to all of the Saturnalia stuff out there.



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Homeschooling in the Summer - the night time skies

I would love to greatly encourage everyone to take advantage of the warm weather (well, those of you who are on my side of the planet, lol) and learn some more about the night time skies.

About 12 years ago, I was just a regular weather junkie. But one night, after I got home late from work, the sky came alive. The northern lights had shown up to dance in the very southern WI sky - truly, a very unusual event. I now know that while they are fairly common in the top, northern regions of the state, they are not so common in the Milwaukee area! The lights this night were green and there bars of green lights dancing across the sky and the sky itself was green - I have never seen anything like it before, nor since. I am envious of those of you who live so much further north than I do! I was hooked on learning about the "weather" in outer space that caused this amazing phenomenon. Solar flares, solar winds, coronal holes, meteors...you name it, I wanted to know about it.

I have passed this interest on to my children and while I had not yet taken the younger two children to one of our local astronomical societies public viewing nights, they came to me a couple of weeks ago at the campground we were at over Independence Day weekend. My younger two (ages 5 & 7) are now hooked. The group that meets nearly every clear Saturday night out at this state park pointed out constellations that I have pointed out to them before, but they used a very cool laser pointer. They also had their telescopes set up and showed the small crowd Saturn, a star cluster, & Jupiter as well. Another man was taking a digital photograph through his telescope, but was thrilled to open up his laptop computer and show everyone some of the amazing photos he had taken with his personal telescope. My little ones are now mostly on the hook and I will pull them in the rest of the way with the Perseid meteor shower!

We entered the Perseid meteor shower window last week (and yes, we have seen some, even from our light polluted back yard) - the peak is around Aug 12, but the window is from July 13-Aug 23, I believe - meaning, while the heaviest fall will be around the 12th, there will still be plenty to see in the surrounding days! It is usually a fabulous shower and that peak window is just amazing! It looks like this years may be much better than usual according to this article on Space.com. For best viewing, get away from the city lights if you can, but we have seen some amazing fireballs from this shower from our not so very dark back yard when we lived in the city (the red one was fantastic!). Get a blanket or two, some bug spray, & be in an open, but darkish area. Sit back and watch the show!

Check and see if there is an astronomical society/group in your area - quite often, they have public viewing nights and you can see the planets, star clusters, etc. through their scopes (they LOVE to share their love of all that is outer space!). Don't feel defeated by thinking you cannot see anything from the city. Even in the most light polluted cities, you CAN usually see the planets through some pretty average scopes!

This post is incomplete - I need to get ready for a CM book night, but I want to publish this anyway - there are some amazing resources out there for learning about the night time skies and I want to share them with you. I will finish this up later tonight or tomorrow!

Some of my favorite book resources:

Sign & Seasons

Some of my favorite space sites:
Space Weather caught my attention over a decade ago and it has not let go! Whether it is solar flares (we are getting ready to see some doozies!), meteor showers, planets in the sky, SpaceWeather.com has been a wonderful resource for the beginner!

Has the sun been active and they say we might have northern lights? See where they are at the NOAA's Space Prediction Center (30 Min forecast page is Here)!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Living Books for Wisconsin State History

A question has come up repeatedly over the years as to what to use for Wisconsin history –
particularly if you are like me and you use Charlotte Mason's philosophies and methods and are wanting to use living books in this part of your child's education as well. There have always been some suggestions made, but nothing written in stone. So, I decided to take on the project of coming up with some good suggestion. To be honest, I will likely add ideas to this list as I go along. I have included suggestions from others (people that I know love Mason's methods and know what a good, living book looks like!). I am including books of various interest, reading levels, etc. I don't think you should confine your learning about your home state to just one year and would suggest picking out one or two to read each year. To be honest, having lived in both Indiana and Oklahoma prior to Wisconsin, Wisconsin is an amazing state with a long, wonderful history and the geography of our state is amazing as well.

I started my search with the Wisconsin Historical Society Press (WHSP) website. I had high expectations. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with what I found there after I checked out many of the books from our wonderful library system. I suspect that the DPI or other educational institutions works heavily with WHSP as to how the children's books are written. At the time of my writing this, I had returned the book to the library. There was a lot of dry, dull books there with lots of leading questions included included, along with lots of bolded words that they assumed the child needed the definition of (which was often included at the bottom of the page or in a colorful box on the page. Sometimes, there was a glossary at the back instead (not a bad thing, but still....the bolded words on every page was just a little much).

I started with the current textbook (fully knowing it would be a textbook, not a living book). I looked at it thinking it could possibly be used as a spine, a guide, something... The book is called Wisconsin: Our State, Our Story and is for 4th grade school children. It has a historical event on each page (vignette style) with pictures and blurbs in boxes. If you use it for a spine of things to cover in your homeschool, go for it. Use it as a pictorial resource. The rest is pretty much textbook fodder and it DOES talk down to the children. It is a shiny, glossy book with lots of pictures. You can learn more about what the book covers on the WHSP site here: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Content.aspx?dsNav=N:1109

I also looked at the book WisconsinHistory Highlights, Delving Into the Past, which was written in 2004. I did look at the beginning and it confirmed what I said a couple of paragraphs back. This book says that it was made possible through a collaborative project with the D.C. Everest School District and the Fund for the Improvement of Education Earmark Grand Award. I don't find it to be of any different value than the Wisconsin: Our State, Our Story text book. It is a black & white textbook again written in vignette style with lots of leading questions at the end of each bit.

I also looked at two books, currently available on the WHSP site on Wisconsin's native heritage. The books were...okay. I suspect there are much better books out there and I will continue looking. The book Indian Nations of Wisconsin, Histories of Endurance and Renewal by Patty Loew is the book written towards adults. It is okay. It isn't twaddle, but not a living book. It is more of a “just the facts” kind of book. Patty Loew has also written a book towards the elementary level called Native People of Wisconsin, but to be honest, it has the same kinds of problems that the Our State, Our Story book does, but does have many more pictures than the adult version. I really felt like the author could have made it more engaging than she did. I do want to continue to look deeper here. I have a list from my husband's godmother to work off of. She is Oneida and I trust her, but would like to look myself before I pass them on.

I found a couple of books that might be okay on the WHSP site, but I had to turn to my library to find better books. There are some real gems in the older books from WHSP. I know Charlotte Mason people are often pigeon-holed as only using old books, but you know – that is because there is a LOT of fluff out there in the more recently printed books. Not that there are not any living books being currently written, but they are few and far between, particularly when you are looking at a relatively narrow subject (when just about any old thing can be published) and it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack at times, particularly in the history genre. There are a lot of “just the facts”/dry books out there – full of information, but really awful to read. There are also a lot of dumbed down books that only have basic facts and are worse than awful to read. One book, called Wisconsin: Celebrate the State by Zeinert & Hart written in 2007 stated that people in Wisconsin like to complain about the weather....but, by an large, while not a living book, it was not dumbed down or hard to read. Lots of facts about Wisconsin. I did not think it would be one of my favorites and that is still the case, but it is not a bad book for a quick overview. Wow....did I really just say that? LOL!

So, what books did I love?

Here we go:

A wee bit of Geography - if you cannot get to that part of the state to see it for yourself, at least read a well written book about it!

Alluring Wisconsin: The Historic Glamor and Natural Loveliness of an American Commonwealth by Fred L. Holmes - For exploring the geography and landmarks of Wisconsin, I cannot say enough about this book. I would use this with middle to highschool age students. While an older book, it is a beautifully written book written in 1937. Fred L. Holmes was a prolific writer about all things Wisconsin. A word of warning – the author was a product of his time, so some of the words he uses to describe the native population are typical of the time, but I absolutely would not throw out the book based on those few words. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of the book:

“Rockbridge was the exclamation point on the route. For it is a real rock bridge! This formation of stone, one layer upon another, ten miles north of Richland Center, crosses the east branch of the Pine river. A solid wall of rock sixty feet high, one hundred feet thick and about a mile long is what proved to the world that at one time it constituted a part of the shore line of what was probably a large body of water. Cutting its way through this wall of rock, the Pine river, eight feet wide and no longer that deep, has built over itself a natural bridge. Although it is sufficiently wide, it does not serve as a wagon bridge, but is used only by visitors who go on foot. Those travelers are rewarded for their climb to the top of the bridge by lovely wild flowers, pins and birch trees. It is the one spot in Richland County where trailing arbutus grows. In the fall, bittersweet may always be found there.”

General Wisconsin History Books:

Old World Wisconsin: Around Europe in the Badger State (also published simply as Old World Wisconsin) by Fred L. Holmes. This was reprinted in 1990 (making it more easily found). He wrote the book to capture Wisconsin's amazing cultural diversity before it disappeared. This book should not be missed!

The Making of Wisconsin by Smith & Callahan (1927) – This little gem is also beautifully written and was published by the University of WI. The writing is good and interesting. You can read it for free here. You can even get it for 99 cents for your Kindle. A word of warning - again, the author's are a product of their times as are their writings, but to me, that is not a deal breaker.

Wisconsin: The Story of the Badger State A popular history, including Travelers' Guides to historic destinations by Norman K. Risjord (1995) - This book has more of the conversational tone that I was looking for in a book that covers WI history. It is NOT a WHSP book (and I think that shows through). You could easily use this for late middle school through highschool. I think this one might be my favorite of the more recently published books.

A Short History of Wisconsin by Erika Janik (2010) This book is published by the WHSP. This one was an engaging book without talking down to the reader.

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An important event in Wisconsin:

The Great Peshtigo Fire – An eyewitness Account by Reverend Peter Pernin with a Foreword by Stephen J. Pyne. You want to include this book in your reading about Wisconsin. The Great Peshtigo Fire was a huge, but forgotten fire in WI that was heavily influenced by the weather. Why was it forgotten? Because it was the same night as the Great Chicago Fire. It also changed how logging was done along with how/why prescribed burns eventually came to be done was done both here and elsewhere around the country. I highly recommend including the reading of the foreword in this book. For additional information (maps, pictures, etc.):
http://www.peshtigofire.info/

*One note on this particular event – I did not care for the book The Great Peshtigo Fire by Scott Knickelbine. I wanted to. Truly. But, it was full of really short sentences. The author did try to quote Rev. Pernin a couple of times, but the book was really left wanting. It was dumbed down for children....Sigh. This comment on Good Reads explains it, “An excellent read, especially for Wisconsin students.”

I have another book on request through the library. Firestorm at Peshtigo : a town, its people, and the deadliest fire in American history by Denise Gess. I will update here if it is a go. If you have read it and have thoughts on it, please let me know.

There is also an interesting looking series of fictional books for children by Nelda Johnson Liebig about a couple of children during the time of and after the Peshtigo Fire. It starts with Carrie's Crazy Quilt. I have requested these books to look at, as well.

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Wisconsin History-themed books:

I have to include Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder! No explanation needed. I know it is mostly fact/some fiction, but it fits better here for the moment.

I ADORE the book Muskego Boy by Edna Hong for the younger children. We are lucky that our library has a copy of this book. It is written for children, but it is well done. It tells the story about a boy and his family migrating from Norway to the Muskego/Wind Lake area of Wisconsin. It is a beautiful story and my older children enjoyed me reading it to them years ago. I look forward to reading it to my younger children in the next year or so.

The Long Ago Lake – A Book of Nature Lore and Crafts by Marne Wilkins. This one was suggested by a trusted friend.

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These books were suggested by Kathy Seeger of the Living Education Library in Edgerton, WI:

The Day They Gave Babies Away by Dale Eunson: Based on a true story, it is about a Scottish couple who are immigrants and settle in Wisconsin in the 1800's. The book tells the tale of a 12-year-old boy who, after the death of his parents, gives his five younger brothers and sisters away to carefully chosen families on Christmas Day. There was also a movie made based on the book called "All Mine to Give".

Chief Black Hawk by Frank Beals is part of the American Adventure Series and is a biography of the famous Sauk Indian chief.

Rascal by Sterling North is set in Wisconsin. "Nothing's surprising in the North household, not even Sterling's new pet raccoon. Rascal is only a baby when Sterling brings him home, but soon the two are best friends, doing everything together--until the spring day when everything suddenly changes."

Old Abe: The Eagle Hero by Patrick Young is a children's picture book about the Civil War's most famous mascot. "Gives children a bird's-eye view of history via the "biography" of Old Abe, an eagle who served as mascot for the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War and eventually went on to appear at the Chicago Wold's Fair in 1865, following his "retirement."

Fiat Lux - the Adventures of a Lighhouse Keeper's Daughter by Dave Strzok is about a young girl who spends time at an Apostle Island lighthouse with her light keeper father. From what I see on Good Reads, it is more of a log than a story, but is still a great book.

On Sand Island by Jacqueline Briggs Martin is set in the Apostle Islands in the 1800's. "In the deep blue waters of Lake Superior lies a small island of hummingbirds, rabbits, and hardy Norwegian fishing folk. On that island lives a boy named Carl who wants nothing more than to be out on the water in a boat of his own making. So this is a story of sawing, nailing, and sanding. But because Sand Island neighbors are closer than cousins, this is also a story of picking strawberries, moving rocks, and mending fishing nets fine as lace."

Latsch Valley Series by Anne Pellowski includes the books First Farm in the Valley, Winding Valley Farm, Willow Wind Farm, Stairstep Farm, and Betsy's Up-And-Down Year.  They are similar to the Laura Ingalls Wilder book about Polish-American immigrants to Wisconsin.

Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling covers the geography of the Great Lakes and is a wonderful book to use with a map of the Great Lakes and really take some time on (not a speed read!).  "
A young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle's journey, in text and pictures, through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean provides an excellent geographic and historical picture of the region."  I love this statement about it: "Geography of the best kind made vivid by the power of imagination." -- Horn Book

Pioneer Girl: The Early Life of Frances Willard by Clara Ingram Judson - I found this review over on Kirkusreviews.com: "The first of a series of books about the life of Frances Willard. At the age of seven she drove with her pioneering family from Ohio to Wisconsin in 1846. Even as a child, the young Frances broke precedents -- demanded to be called Frank, demanded schooling, proved she should be allowed to ride a horse by riding a cow and at eighteen won her father's respect by announcing that from then on she would make her own decisions. These early years are told in story form and Frances might have been any little pioneer girl. Well done."

Wisconsin's First Settler's - The Indians by Nicholas Georgiady -  Kathy says this about it: "Simply written and textbookish, but does cover the 4 original types of Native Americans to come to WI. Elementary level."

The Underground Railroad by Raymond Bial:  Kathy notes this: "This is not well written, but not horrible, but does have a map showing the UR routes, only one of which leads to Milton, WI wink emoticon. The cover photo is from the tunnel in the Milton House, and it does have lots of great and interesting photos. Would work well for olders."

The Unholy Apostles: Shipwreck Tales of the Apostle Islands by James M. Keller  - Kathy notes: "
This is not well written, it appears tedious and technical, but it is an interesting subject if an older child was interested in shipwrecks of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior."

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More books that I am either reading or have yet to read – reader beware – they may or may not be living books:

Plank Road Summer & Plank Road Winter by Hilda and Emily Demuth – timeline is 1852 in Wisconsin and there is a tie-in with the Great Chicago Fire (there may be mention of the Peshtigo fire, but I don't know yet). There is a link to the author's blog on the Good Reads page: https://plankroad.wordpress.com/ I will let you know my thoughts after I read them.

Little Hawk and the Lone Wolf, A Memoir by Raymond C. Kaquatosh

Whispers and Shadows, A Naturalist's Memoir by Jerry Apps – what I have read of this so far is fabulous!

Badger Saints and Sinners by Fred L. Holmes – same author as Alluring Wisconsin and Old World Wisconsin. I think this could prove to be a good one, but I have not read it yet.



Ship Captain's Daughter: Growing Up on the Great Lakes by Ann M. Lewis – this one looks to be a memoir.

I can see that there are lot more books on Good Reads under Wisconin History that I want to take a look at. I have a few more on request through our library as well, because....rabbit trails to more interesting looking books. If you have great suggestions, please let me know!

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Other books I did not care for, but I will mention:


So, I have looked at the Young Readers Series. If you have an elementary child interested in learning more about a specific person, these might be okay, but I cannot call them living books. They have the bolded words, definitions at the bottom of the page, a glossary at the back of each book, and lots of short, boring sentences.