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The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

This middle grade-level book describes the life of an American Indian girl during a smallpox outbreak. Sad, but excellent.

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books; Bound for Schools & Libraries ed. edition (May 13, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0613593847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613593847

The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich

Sequel to The Birchbark House,Omakayas and her family go on a journey to find a new home.

Minn of the Mississippi by Holling Clancy Holling

Minn is a snapping turtle who begins a journey along the Mississippi river.

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company; Ninth Printing edition (October 11, 1978)
  • ISBN-10: 0395273994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395273999


Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Betsy Bowen

This picture book highlights examples of relationships between specific plants and animals in the Minnesota prairie ecosystem, such as between foxglove beardtongue (a type of Penstemon) and hummingbirds; monarch butterflies and milkweeds; and goldfinches and sunflowers. The back matter includes lists of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects, and plants commonly found in prairies. Even though it explores the prairies of Minnesota, it has a much more general appeal and a serious message about preserving habitats that can apply anywhere.

Phyllis Root and Betsy Bowen have paired up previously with Big Belching Bog, also from the University of Minnesota Press.

Sure to engross young readers, this book explains how the conditions of the bog produce methane gas. Root also reveals the plants and animals found in this unique habitat, including plants that eat insects!

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; First Edition edition (September 3, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0816633592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816633593

Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet by Betsy Bowen

A special alphabet book to share with nature lovers, Betsey Bowen's woodcut illustrations again shine. She writes about what she knows best because she lives on the north shore of Lake Superior. What is the word for Z? Zero degrees, of course!

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (August 26, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0618226389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618226382

Minnesota Bug Huntby Bruce Giebink and photographs by BillJohnson

Explore your backyard and beyond for fascinating Minnesota insects.

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 9780873518659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873518659
  • ASIN: 0873518659

Minnesota’s Hidden Alphabetby David LaRochelle and photographs by Joe Rossi

Learn about Minnesota’s plants, animals, and even rocks through lively text and photographs.

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 087351808X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873518086

Tracks in the Wild by Betsy Bowen

Ever seen tracks in the snow and wondered what animal made them? Tracks in the Wild shows the reader who made them and what they were doing.

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (September 28, 1998)
  • ISBN-10: 0395884004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395884003

Playful Slider: The North American River Otter (Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage) by Barbara Juster Esbensen and illustrated by Mary Barrett Brown

A reprint of an older book, learn all about the playful North American river otter.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; Reprint edition (August 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0816677654
ISBN-13: 978-0816677658

M Is For Minnesota by Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrated by Janis Lee Porter

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (September 1, 1998)
  • ISBN-10: 0816630410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816630417

Check for many more books for young readers at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Roberta Gibson 2020