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Wishing for a Snow Day

Posted byAlison Aten on 28 Dec 2012 | Tagged as: Book Excerpt, Children

Boys on tobogan from Minnesota Historical Society in Wishing for a Snow Day by Peg Meier

Excerpt from Wishing for a Snow Day: Growing Up in Minnesota by Peg Meier which includes childhood reminiscences such as this one from Melvin Lynn Frank.

“In winter the Farview hills were a constant challenge. One steep hillside was especially fearsome and bumpy for sliders—an awesome slope that gave breathtaking speed to a ride. Then when nature provided the white gift of snow, kids spent hour after hours on Flexible Flyers riding belly floppers till dark.

Of course, there was street sliding as well. The hill by the fire barn on Lowry was alluring. When it was icy, a youngster could go coasting for three blocks, all the way down to the Soo Line tracks by the shavings shed near the mill. This slide meant crossing the streetcar tracks on Washington Avenue. The boys walking back up the hill stood on the car tracks and signaled those at the top to come on when the coast was clear. Once in a while a boy would mistake a ‘don’t come’ signal for an ‘all clear’—like the day when a youngster went clean under a streetcar, right between the tracks, and continued for two more blocks, scared to death to the end of his ride. The rest of us were shaken, too, and must have been more careful after that experience. I cannot recall that any of the gang was hurt while sledding.”

Image: Boys on toboggan at Groveland Park Elementary School, St. Paul, 1961.
Minnesota Historical Society

One Frozen Lake

Posted byAlison Aten on 29 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Children

One Frozen Lake Deborah Jo Larson From One Frozen Lake by Deborah Jo Larson, Paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

[Update--One Frozen Lake received a starred review in Publishers Weekly!]

Today’s post is by Deborah Jo Larson, author of the new children’s book One Frozen Lake, with paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.

“I grew up in an ice-fishing family. Just about every Saturday in the winter, my dad would load up this light blue Chevy with an ice shack (which he built himself), jig sticks, tackle, bait, propane heater, thermos of hot cocoa, and most importantly, a wide assortment of candy and snacks. Since ice shacks are tiny, my sisters and I took turns going with him. I felt lucky when it was my turn. I vividly remember what it felt like to be inside the shadowy and surprisingly warm ice shack. I remember card games, peering into the mysterious ice holes, playing with the minnows, and eating a LOT of Snickers bars. What I don’t remember is catching fish. . . .

“When my son was eight years old, my dad took him ice fishing for the first time. He returned home pink-cheeked and jabbering about how much fun he had with Grandpa. The fact that they did not catch one fish clearly did not matter.  My son could not wait to venture out again.

“I knew then I wanted to write a picture book about the unique, quirky sport of ice fishing and, specifically, how waiting for the fish to bite in a minuscule shack brings generations together and creates lasting memories.”

We’re glad she did!

Please click on the book title link, above, for upcoming signings with Deb.

New Venue for the Twin Cities Book Festival

Posted byAlison Aten on 09 Oct 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Children, Event, Fairs

Rain Taxi Twin Cities Bookfest logoBig Little Brother

This year’s Twin Cities Book Festival will take place at the state fairgrounds in St. Paul this Saturday, October 13, from 10 am to  5 pm.

The  Children’s Pavilion will feature MHS Press authors and illustrators Kevin Kling, Chris Monroe, and David LaRochelle, among others.

“The Twin Cities Book Festival—presented each year by Rain Taxi—is the annual get-together for the Twin Cities’ devoted literary community. The always-free Festival includes readings by world-class authors and local literary heroes; a day-long book fair featuring publishers, authors, booksellers, and more; a children’s pavilion with storytelling, crafts, and activities; and much more!” (From the TC Bookfest website.)

Stop by our booth and say hello!

Living Here, Loving Minnesota with Chris Monroe

Posted byAlison Aten on 13 Sep 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Children

Living Here, Loving MinnesotaAn occasional series highlighting local authors and their favorite ways to spend a Minnesota weekend.

Painter and cartoonist Chris Monroe draws the weekly comic strip Violet Days and is the illustrator of the MHS Press book, Big Little Brother, written by Kevin Kling, and the author and illustrator of Monkey with a Tool Belt and Sneaky Sheep, among other books for children. Her exhibit, Chris Monroe: New Work, is showing at the George Morrison Gallery, Duluth Art Institute, through Sept. 30.

Chris Monroe at home in Duluth with her yogurt and her giant backyard rock.

1. What is a typical weekend for you?

I’m always happiest when it is the weekend, I am at home in Duluth, and I have no actual plans.

2. What are some of your favorite local Friday night activities?

Fridays, if I go out, I might go to the Zinema for a movie. They sell beer and wine there so I don’t have to smuggle beer into the theater in my purse like I typically do. I also might go to Bergey’s, a neighborhood pub with karaoke on Fridays. One guy sings “Coward of the County” every Friday. I think he’s figured out that I think it is funny, and I’m pretty sure he avoids looking at me when he’s done. I always clap, but I have a lot of questions about the plot of that song.

3. What/where do you eat on weekends? What’s a typical Sunday breakfast for you?

Saturdays are like a free day. Sometimes I go to estate sales or the farmers’ market with my mom. After that I get groceries, wine, and supplies to hang out and cook and drink. I talked to a friend one weekend at the co-op and she said she could not wait to get the food home so she could start drinking. I loved her for that. I sit out on my deck, weather permitting, and gaze blankly at the lake and sky, or read from my stack of library books.

I usually cook my own breakfast on the weekend. I like to have nitrate-free breakfast meat, but my friend Meghann says there is no such thing. That is sad. I need to research this. I also love plain Seven Stars Farm yogurt with some sort of berries or bananas. I eat that every day, but weekends get the full breakfast treatment. I like to involve some cheese, onions, and potatoes.

I like having breakfast at the Sun Shine Cafe in West Duluth. Sadly they are closed on Sundays, which is when I always want to go there. I also like the Duluth Grill. They have free-range eggs and a lot of sustainable or organic food items on the menu. For me though, it is just too busy on weekends and I can’t take the line of people by the door. It’s like they are sadly mooning about up there in line, staring at everyone in a booth and willing them to eat quickly and free up a table. Probably all in my mind, but I feel like a lout reading the free papers and eating slowly. I’m happy they are busy though. It’s a great restaurant.

Somebody could open another breakfast joint around here with organic food and really make a lot of money I bet.

4. What is your weekend reading like?

I just finished The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang. A sweet and beautiful book by a Minnesota author.

5. What is your top Minnesota getaway?

My top Minnesota getaway is probably the Twin Cities. I like going the reverse way of all the traffic on I-35 on the weekends. I love to go there and eat good food, go shopping, visit friends and family, hear some good music. But I feel sorry for everyone heading south on Sunday, having to go back to work in the city or suburbs. It is a good feeling to head north against the flow of nonstop city-bound traffic. I feel like I’ve done something right in life. I love the moment when you come over the hill and see Duluth and Lake Superior stretched out below. It feels so great to be home.

Library Card Mob: Wed. Aug. 29th, noon, at the Minnesota State Fair

Posted byAlison Aten on 28 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Children, Event, Fairs

Read & Ride Day at the MN State FairCelebrate Read & Ride Day with your public library in Carousel Park tomorrow, Wednesday August 29th,  at the Minnesota State Fair. You’ll find stage shows all day long and fun activities for the family under the tent.

Public library card holders receive a discounted admission ticket price when they purchase a ticket at the gate and present a valid library card. (One discount per card.)

Meet up with fellow library lovers at noon in Carousel Park for the Library Card Mob!

More info from the Metro Public Libraries:

Activities Under the Tent:

Make & Send State Fair Postcards: Share your 2012 State Fair experience with someone special on a postcard you design yourself. If you have the address we’ll mail it for you from the Fair, or take it with you to mail later.

Game On!: Test your knowledge at the Spin & Win Trivia Wheel.  Test your luck at Library Plinko! Everyone’s a winner on Read & Ride Day!

Get Carded!: Stop by the Read & Ride Day tent to show us your library card and get your “I Got Carded” button to wear with pride during your day at the Fair.

Get Your Words Here: Need help with your Fabulous Fair Alphabet game card? Your public library has the words to help you complete it. If you have not stopped by the Alphabet Forest (in Baldwin Park), you can pick up your game card here and get started. We’ll also provide directions to the Alphabet Forest where you receive your blue ribbon.

Adventures In the Park:

Read & WalkMinnesota’s Hidden Alphabet: Read a book while you walk across Carousel Park! Enjoy Minnesota’s Hidden Alphabet, with photos by Joe Rossi and words by David LaRochelle as you make your way between the Grandstand to Carnes Ave.

Edina Art Fair This Weekend!

Posted byAlison Aten on 31 May 2012 | Tagged as: Arts, Children, Event, Fairs, Music

Edina Art FairThis coming weekend will mark the 46th Annual Edina Art Fair. Friday, June 1, to Sunday, June 3, enjoy a fun family outing at the corner of 50th & France. The Edina Art Fair, the second largest in Minnesota, is the first official art fair of the summer.

This fair showcases a large variety of art from around the Twin Cities and the country. Over three hundred artists will be displaying their unique works, including painting, photography, ceramics, engravings, wood carvings, glasswork, and jewelry. The fair also includes a special collection of GREEN artwork made by artists using only recycled materials. Artists were chosen from over six hundred applicants from around the country.

The Edina Art Fair also offers different events, activities, and performances each day. Throughout the weekend there will be fashion shows and musical performances, and a Kids Art Zone provides activities for the whole family, including face painting and puppet shows. A full list of activities and performance times is available at the Edina Art Fair website.

A fair would not be complete without delicious food: plenty of booths from local restaurants are gathered in two food courts. Enjoy smoothies, kettle corn, tacos, lemonade, and more.

The Edina Art Fair runs from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, Friday through Sunday, and admission is free. See the website for parking tips.

Whether you’re an art buff or just want to enjoy good music and great food, be sure to stop by the 46th Annual Edina Art Fair this weekend!

Larry Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers

Posted byAlison Aten on 06 Mar 2012 | Tagged as: Arts, Children, Event, Music, Native American

Larry Yazzy and the Native Pride DancersWorld Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers perform this week at Stepping Stone Theatre in St. Paul.

From the theatre’s website: “Rainbow-colored headdresses, pulsating drumming, and fancy footwork are part of the excitement of a Native American powwow. World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers perform flamboyant movements passed down by their ancestors and sacred songs from the Northern Plains.”

Rock the Cradle 2012

Posted byAlison Aten on 23 Feb 2012 | Tagged as: Arts, Authors, Children, Kevin Kling

This Sunday, February 26, The Current presents Rock the Cradle, a free day of fun for kids and their grown-ups, held at two of the state’s premier arts and cultural institutions, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Children’s Theatre Company. The annual kids’ event brings together families and social groups from all over the Twin Cities to enjoy music, art, books, puppetry, theater, and the community for a fun, entertaining, and engaging day. Check the website for details on planning your trip.

Join Kevin Kling at 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. as he reads his acclaimed children’s book illustrated by Chris Monroe, Big Little Brother, in the MIA’s Pillsbury Auditorium as part of the Rock the Cradle festivities.

Newly updated iPhone App for Family Fun in the Twin Cities

Posted byAlison Aten on 20 Dec 2011 | Tagged as: Authors, Children, MHS press, Nature/Enviroment, Travel

Dad's Eye View iPhone app Home ScreenDad's Eye View Activities iPhone App Page

Twin Cities iPhone App

 After the presents have all been opened, the cookies are gone, and the tree needles start to fall, what are you going to do with the kids for the whole week?!

Check out our newly updated iPhone app, Dad’s Eye View: 52 Family Adventures in the Twin Cities.

Twin Cities digital dad Michael Hartford added twenty-four new family venues to the app this month. This past May we released the print edition of the book Dad’s Eye View with an accompanying free iPhone app that allows readers and users to discover the most affordable, educational, and, yes, fun things to do and see throughout the year in the Twin Cities.

Some of the updated venues for kids with cabin fever include Edinborough Park, Maple Maze, Memory Lanes, The Landing, and Elm Creek Park Reserve.

The app has a number of convenient features for busy dads and caregivers, giving users a fun new way to explore and share your experiences:

* Search all locations by season, venue (indoor/outdoor), and price
* Read a short description of this digital dad’s experience at the location
* Contact any location with the touch of a finger
* Locate your destination on a map
* Rate and share your outing on Facebook and Twitter or on the Dad’s Eye View Facebook page and @Dads_Eye_View!

Shop Local, and With a Cause!

Posted byAlison Aten on 30 Nov 2011 | Tagged as: Authors, Children, Event, Literary, MHS press, Nonprofit

Santa (from Magers & Quinn website)What could be better than visiting with Santa at a bookstore? Magers & Quinn has teamed up with Way to Grow, one of the preeminent early childhood learning programs in the Twin Cities, for an evening of refreshments and Sharing with Santa this Saturday, December 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. David LaRochelle, author of Minnesota’s Hidden Alphabet, will be at the store with Santa to share his books. Do your shopping and 10 percent of your sale will benefit Way to Grow.

On Sunday, December 4, at 2:00 p.m., Red Balloon Bookshop is hosting an event to celebrate Libraries in Minnesota with photographer Doug Ohman and contributors to the book, including some of Minnesota’s best-known writers of books for children and young adults: Will Weaver, Pete Hautman, John Coy, Nancy Carlson, Marsha Wilson Chall, and David LaRochelle. The authors will sign copies of their books, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Libraries of Minnesota during the event will be donated to the Minnesota Library Foundation.

And here at the Minnesota History Center Stores during Minnesota Historical Society Member Double Discount Days,  Kim Heikkila, author of Sisterhood of War, will be signing Friday, December 2, at 11:00 a.m, and Brett Laidlaw, author of Trout Caviar, will sign on Sunday, December 4, at 2:00 p.m.

Congrats to the store for making the USA Today list of best museum shops!

Minnesota\'s Hidden Alphabet Libraries of Minnesota Sisterhood of War Laidlaw

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