Finalist Feature: A Children’s History of Grand Marais, Minnesota: Ice Cream & Fish

Category: Communities Create

Description: Ice Cream & Fish: A Children’s Illustrated Guide to Grand Marais, Minnesota was created in the pandemic summer of 2020. Outdoor Book Camp kids produced Parts I & II of Ice Cream & Fish, guided by Minnesota Children’s Press adult mentors in a 10-day Outdoor Book Camp.

Outdoor Book Camp took place on the porches, lawns, playgrounds, rocks, shallows, and shoreline of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota — an outside classroom — to ensure coronavirus-safe spaces with lots of fresh air, ample room for children to separate from each other — and play! — while being in proximity to collaborate on a book.

Part III illustrations were produced by 15 children in grades K-4 in a collaboration with the Cook County YMCA Kids’ Camp for a poster-parade of kindness.

Happy and connected — that’s a major goal of Outdoor Book Camp.

Outdoor Book Camp is a successful creative inquiry-based learning prototype involving four children in grades 5-7, and 15 children in grades K-4.

Organization: Minnesota Children’s Press is a new educational non-profit authoring and publishing collaborative. It’s a mobile, mentored publishing lab for Minnesota child authors, illustrators, designers, and editors in kindergarten-grade 10, or thereabouts.

Local Library: Arrowhead Library System

We asked Minnesota Children’s Press, “What does the library mean to your organization or the creation of your work?”

“Our Grand Marais Library is everything good and necessary to create and nourish an intellectually and civically engaged community: an intellectual, social and cultural lifeline connecting us to each other and a wider world in our small, isolated rural town. It is the safe hub… where as young authors, illustrators and publishers, we conduct market research on children’s books concepts, execution, style and design while we brainstorm ideas for next books. Through our library, we come to understand books as vessels of ideas and most of all, gain insights into why we read stories and the many many kinds we tell.”

Winners will be announced at the 2021 Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference.