When you become a parent, it’s your responsibility to educate and instill good morals into your child. For me, a displaced Michigander, that means buying lots of Michigan-themed children’s books and telling my kids that they are Michiganders at heart…even though neither one was born in Michigan. There are a surprising amount of Michigan children’s books out there. Here are five of them (that just so happen to be in my house) to get you started on your collection.
Ask any parent and they can probably quote you at least a page or two from the children’s book, Good Night Moon. However, did you know there’s a Good Night Michigan as well? That’s right! Instead of saying good night to walls, lamps, and the moon, you can, instead, say good night to Frankenmuth, the Mackinac Bridge, and cross-country skiers. This book takes you from a sunny morning in Michigan to a beautiful starry night, all while teaching your children about the beautiful sights of the Mitten State. A cute little way to get a taste of home while still being simple enough for even the youngest child.
Every child needs an alphabet book in their collection. Why not spice it up by getting them a Detroit Tigers themed alphabet book? That’s right, no more “A is for apple.” Instead, “A” is for ace, All-Star game, attendance, at-bat, and American League. Personally, I am a HUGE Tigers fan and baseball is my passion. Therefore, it’s really no surprise that this book is in our playroom. Sure, my girls could learn that “O” is for octopus, but I think “O” is for Opening Day is much better.
What if you’re not really a baseball fan? You want your children to learn their alphabet, but baseball isn’t really your thing. No worries, there are other Michigan alphabet books out there. One in our collection is M is for Mitten: a Michigan Alphabet. The first things that made me fall in love with this book were the illustrations. Gorgeous artwork on every page makes this book fun for adults too. Each letter stands for something related to Michigan, but each page also includes a side bar with interesting facts. When your children are very young you can read just the alphabet portion of the book. As they get older, use the facts on the side for a little more in depth study of the state of Michigan. For example, “G” stands for Great Lakes. When you read the facts on the side, you’ll learn about using the acronym HOMES to remember the names of the Great Lakes. An amazing book that even adults will want to skim through!
After you’ve learned your alphabet, it’s only natural to learn how to count. If you’re going to learn your ABC’s with a Detroit Tigers book, it only makes sense to learn your numbers from a Michigan counting book as well! This book uses things like a Kirtland Warbler and jugs of maple syrup to help kids learn their “123.” The perfect way to learn how to count with beautiful illustrations and a nice glimpse at all Michigan has to offer.
Last on the list, a fun little “look and see” book about the Mitten State. Young readers get clues as to what is hiding behind each flap. Take a guess and then lift the flap to see if you’re right! This gets young minds guessing while introducing them to important pieces of Michigan’s character like Sleeping Bear Dunes and the state bird, the robin. My daughters are still too young to really enjoy this book but I can assure you that “Mommy” has gone through it and enjoyed guessing herself!
Reading to your children is always a wonderful pastime. Why not make it even more special by teaching them about your home state? While my children may not be Michigan natives and may not be growing up in the Mitten State, I will be sure to read them these books over and over to introduce them to the best state there is. It may not be their legal home state but, in their hearts, they will always be little Michiganders.
Kati is from the Metro Detroit suburb of Saint Clair Shores. She is a graduate of Regina High School in Harper Woods and Saginaw Valley State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Since graduation, she’s been traveling the world with her husband, an officer in the United States Air Force, and their daughters. They can currently be found in Fort Meade, Maryland. Kati is a huge Detroit Tigers fan and tries to catch every game that is nationally televised. When she’s not busy writing for The Awesome Mitten, Kati can be found playing with her two daughters, scrapbooking, traveling, or working on a variety of crafts.