Michigan, My Michigan

Discover Michigan coverDiscover Michigan

My Story of Michigan Geography
Revised 1951

January 26, 2013 is Michigan’s Statehood Day, or as the kids will be calling it, Michigan’s 176th birthday. In preparation for our program, I was pulling materials.  Tucked away in the 977s were these ancient books. Usually, I can’t get enough of this kind of material, since every 3rd grader in the state is studying all sorts of Michigan topics like cities, the Great Lakes, and of course, the Mackinac Bridge.  Neither of the above books has circulated much. For today’s kids these are duds.  (The second one was published before the Big Mac was built, which automatically discounts its value).

I love this topic and also hate it. Invariably there is one parent who lectures me on the lack of books (not necessarily information!) on their choice of a city in Michigan. Last time this happened, it was a kid that had picked East Tawas, a small town located along the shores of Lake Huron. Parent then scolded me on the lack of books for her for 3rd grader on East Tawas.  I told her to write a book and I would be proud to add it to the collection. I also recommended she contact the the Iosco-Arenac District Library for any more information. (Sorry, East Tawas, I kind of threw you under the bus on that one.)

Anyway, new Michigan books have been ordered.  Sorry – I still couldn’t find any specific books for 3rd graders on East Tawas.  How about a report on Detroit or Grand Rapids?

My Story of Michigan Geography


  1. And that’s the logic that gives us the endless “My little city and why it’s the most awesome place in creation” books I’ve seen so many of over the years.

    1. The books are staying in my personal collection of library oddities. The cover is cool, even with the old binding.

  2. I think the rooster goes with the kitten. . . What either one has to do with life in Michigan (as opposed to Montana or Alabama), I simply can’t imagine. I do know they are not special to East Tawas having lived there.

  3. Every state has teachers who give kids the most obscure subjects to write essays on – and demand that they use at least one or two PRINT resources, even if the re are ZERO resources in the world about that subject. Small towns are one of the worst. There are some books , most self-published, about the “home-town” small towns and a series of books cobbled together by local “historians” published by Arcadia, I think…

  4. The Arcadia books aren’t bad, but I’ve heard from a local historian that they aren’t easy to work with. He wants to put out a book of vintage pictures showing Diners in Albany NY (potentially a good book) but Arcadia wants their books to have a uniform appearance so they have picky guidelines on format and content.

  5. I’m fairly certain the top book was still being used as late as 1992 in my small Michigan hometown as I vaguely remember the cover from my 4th grade course on Michigan history, which we had again in 8th grade.

  6. I remember discovering my 5th grade school book of Michigan several years ago at this very library. It must have been the 1951 revised edition, because the above book has a different cover. It was a walk down memory lane for me, and truthfully, I was delighted to see it. When I read it, it was about 1966, so it was definitely outdated when I stumbled upon it, but it made me feel good to think that, because it was in the library, it still had value.

  7. I remember when going through our pamphlet files for the California drawer there were two typed pages (as in a typerwriter) from the 1960s about two small cities in California that I was sure even existed anymore. I never heard of Olive for instance.

    My suggestion to the children’s librarian of seeing if these towns still existed and finding more up to date information was actually shot down and back into the folder it went.

    Course now I’m not even sure we have a California drawer anymore as our manager decided to get rid of most of our pamphlet files as they were hardly used except for Mission and country reports.

  8. Regarding both books- while I’m sure that politics, the populations of cities
    and towns, & technology has dramatically changed over the years, I don’t think that geology or topography would be much different now than then? (Yes, I’m talking about both the 1951 and ’81 textbooks).

  9. I’m sure I’ve driven through East Tawas a couple of times, but I don’t remember anything about it. Oscoda and Alpena have Paul Bunyan statues.

  10. My father grew up in East Tawas and I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up. It has changed so much since the sleepy days of the 1950s. Lake Huron is way different and the beach I used to play on does not exist any more. It’s much more “touristy” these days and I miss all the beautiful old Queen Anne Victorian houses that used to line the shore. Ah, memories.

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