Check out this Great Lakes summer reading list and add to it

By Carlee Schepeler, Great Lakes Echo

When you’re picking your summer reads for this season, why not stick to local and pick books with a Great Lakes flavor?  Echo is compiling a Great Lakes themed summer reading list and we have been flooded with suggestions. Please add to the list in the comments below.

Photo: El Pei via Flickr.

These selections, in no particular order, include both non-fiction and fiction. Some are for kids, some have pretty pictures, some are new releases, some are old classics. Many come from local authors.

1. The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, Jerry Dennis

Called “the ultimate Great Lakes reading experience” by Lisa Craig Brisson, a Cheboygan, Mich. resident, this book recalls Dennis’ adventures as a crew member on a six-week trip through the lakes. The Outdoor Writers Association of America named it best book of 2003.

2. Pandora’s Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, Jeff Alexander

In this 50-year retrospective of the St. Lawrence Seaway, environmental journalist Jeff Alexander recalls the problems that arose when the Great Lakes were opened to the global shipping industry.

3. The Great Lakes Water Wars, Peter Annin

This book is “a must read for anyone truly interested in the Great Lakes,” says Patty Birkholz, director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes. Annin is an environmental journalist who, in this book, focuses on the water diversion controversy.

4. A Superior Death (Anna Pigeon series), Nevada Barr

In the second book of her Anna Pigeon mystery series, Nevada Barr takes her characters to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. Rita Chapman, clean water program director at the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, had rave reviews for the book and insists it’s a summer read:

“The reader can just feel the deep cold Lake Superior waters creep over them … This one really creeped me out several times. I wouldn’t have been able to read this in winter, there’s not enough daylight, and it’s too scary!”

5. Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan, Michael R. Federspiel

Featuring many personal photographs, historical images and written excerpts, Federspiel explores the connection Ernest Hemingway had to Walloon Lake in northern Michigan.

6. Great Lakes for Sale: From Whitecaps to Bottlecaps, Dave Dempsey

In this book, Dempsey, policy adviser for the International Joint Commission, reminds residents of the threat of commercialization of Great Lakes water.

7. Paddle-to-the-Sea, Holling C. Holling

Paddle-to-the-Sea is a “wonderful Great Lakes book for kids and adults,” according to Wanda Eichler of Pigeon, Mich. Published in 1941, the book targets children in grades 3-5.

8. Laughing Whitefish, Robert Traver

Traver is the pen name of John D. Voelker, a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. This novel, published in 1965, is the story of a newcomer to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula looking for love in the 1800s. When he finds it, though, complications arise as his new love, a Chippewa Indian, struggles to collect a debt owed her father.

9. M is for Mitten: A Michigan Alphabet, Annie Appleford

This children’s book helps kids learn the alphabet while teaching them pride in the state.  Appleford’s book also teaches Michigan geography, people and events.

10. People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish, Kathleen Schmitt Kline

This book profiles Lake Winnebago sturgeon, which have become the world’s largest lake sturgeon population. Kline, outreach coordinator at the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, wrote this book with Ron Bruch, Fred Binkowski and Bob Rashid.

Thanks to everyone who sent suggestions. We’re hoping to expand this list, so let us know what we’ve missed in the comments below. Happy reading!

© 2011, Great Lakes Echo, Michigan State University Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

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