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A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui

Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover

2018 Caldecott Honor Book describes an early morning fishing trip to a Minnesota lake that isn’t for recreation, but to feed a family. Told from the perspective of an Asian-American boy. 

  • Age Range: 6 – 8 years
  • Publisher: Capstone Young Readers; 1st Edition edition (August 1, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1623708036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1623708030

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Audiobook | Paperback | Library binding | Audio CD

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

Kindle | Audio CD | Paperback | Hardcover

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

  • Reading age : 8 – 12 years
  • Publisher : HarperCollins; Illustrated edition (September 14, 2010)
  • ISBN-10 : 0064410307
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0064410304

Minn of the Mississippi by Holling Clancy Holling

Paperback | Hardcover

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


Begin with a Bee by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Phyllis Root, and illustrated by Claudia McGehee


The three authors follow a single rusty-patched bumble bee queen through her life cycle, starting with the bee overwintering in a hole under the ground. The illustrations are based on scenes from Minnesota.

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 9 years
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Univ Of Minnesota Press (May 25, 2021)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1517908043
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1517908041

Secrets of the Loon by by Laura Purdie Salas and Charles Dayton


According to a recent interview with Chuck Dayton, Secrets of the Loon started with his amazing photographs of loons taken over years spent at a family retreat on a lake in Minnesota. He wasn’t, however, used to writing for children, so his editor brought fellow Minnesotan and prolific children’s author/poet Laura Purdie Salas on board to write the main text. The combination is a winning one.

Secrets of the Loon is a must-read for budding ornithologists, especially ones who live near lakes where loons swim. It is also a treat for the rest of us who wish we could visit a cold lake and listen to these fascinating birds. Dive into the book today!

  • Age Range: 3 – 7 years
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press (April 28, 2020)
  • ISBN-10: 1681341581
  • ISBN-13: 978-1681341583

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.

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

Big Belching Bog by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Betsy Bowen


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!

  • Reading age : 6 – 9 years
  • Publisher : Univ Of Minnesota Press; First Printing edition (September 3, 2010)
  • ISBN-10 : 0816633592
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0816633593

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

Kindle | Library binding | Paperback

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 Hunt by Bruce Giebink and photographs by Bill Johnson


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 Alphabet by 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

Paperback | Hardcover

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

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

Kindle | Hardcover

  • 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.

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