Guest Blogger - Lessons with Coffee

Today's guest blogger is Jameson from Lessons with Coffee.  You might know her as the slant box lady, but she is so much more.  Check out this post about some fabulous picture books!

Last week I posted on Tuesday a super fun new linky with Ramona Recommends. 

 I had intended on posting about a set f books my mother got me when she went to Italy, but I decided to meet up with my friend Zhenya for a fun filled afternoon of exploring our own town!  (More Below!!!!).  While we were out about I came across this book, (also another but I bought it on amazon because it was cheaper...hahaha).  

I had to buy it!

For those of you not familiar with Sleeping Bear Press, They are a small publishing company from AnnArbor Michigan.  Sleeping Bear Press has published a collection of books, one on each state and one for Washington, D.C (Among MANY other alphabet style books.  One of my Favorite is B is for Battle Cry - about the Civil War in the US). The books are filled with intriguing facts, people, places and history for each of the states. Each two-page layout is brightly colored with captivating illustrations that children will love. Done in an alphabetical format, each letter has text at two levels. The larger print text is done in rhyme at a level for preschool to second grade. In the side bar more information is given in greater detail for the older child.  I also believe that each book is written and illustrated by LOCAL authors and Illustrators

This one happens to be written by Nancy Carlson and Hellen L Wilber.

You might recognize Nancy Carlson as the author of some other really stellar picture books! Such as:
The Henry Series:
The Loud Mouth George Series

She actually has so many good ones that It was hard to pick which ones I wanted to highlight.  HINT HINT kindergarten and first grade teachers that might not have heard about her...she has some great books about being in kindergarten and getting ready for it, as well as fist grade.  You can find all of her books here:  Nancy Carlson

Nancy has lived in the Twin Cities all her life she graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design (more about that later). 

Helen L. Wilbur I did not know much about, she has however written quite a few of the Sleeping Bear Press Books.  You can find more about her here!

T is For Twin Cities was illustrated by David Geister.  He lives in my town (St. Paul props!!!!).  He has illustrated wite a few books for sleeping bear press and everyone of the titles has been painted upstairs in his home that he shares with his author wife Patritica Bauer! <----Who when I just looked up to learn more about her...I found out is the author of the B is for Battle Cry book I talked about up above!  Crazy!  There must be a reason why I liked that one so much. 

David Geister is the illustrator of the book "Riding to Washington" by Gwenith Swain which I love.  He has also done oil paintings for other books.  Here is a list

And onto the book:

I love reading the dedication pages.  I am always interested in who the author and illustrators find to be important while writing books.  IN this book BOTH Nancy and David have essentially dedicated the book to me.  Lol. 

Something that you might not know about me is I am a transplant to Minnesota.  I am actually a southern girl through and through.  I moved here when I was a senior in high-school.  In fact, the middle school I work at is THE ONLY Minnesota middle school that I have ever set foot in.  I did all of my field work, student teaching and observations at this school and I was hired there in the middle of my student teaching.  I have not even been in a different middle school for any PD.  It is weird.

When I moved here I was excited.  My dad was a professional fisherman and we moved here because well....The lakes.

And L is for Lakes.  Actually I just recently found out that Minnesota comes the Dakota American Indian word for "Sky Tinted Water," which refers to the Minnesota River and the many lakes.  Minneapolis comes from the Dakota American Indian word for "water" and the Greek word "opolis."  I also just learned that Minneapolis was named by a TEACHER.  Yes that is right. Charles Hoag was the City of Minneapolis' First School Master.  Here is the story of how he named Minneapolis (Adapted from Wiki).

The year owe 1852, and Mineapolis was about to be named the City of Albion.  Charles Hoag and his newspaper editor friend George Bowman did not like this name, so the night before the naming Hoag decided to combine the Dakota word Minnehaha (waterfall - learn more about this in the next few weeks) and the greek word "polis" meaning city. The two published an article proposing the name Minnehapolis, informing the public that the H was silent. IN a town meeting on December 1852, John Stevens (the first authorized resident on the west bank of the mississippi river in what would eventually be called Minneapolis) accepted the name Minneapolis, but with out the H. 

Some other names that Minneapolis could have been: Lowell, Brooklyn and Addiesville.  Weird.  

Any way.  My first winter came.  There was TONS of Ice.  Which is what I is for. 

From NOVEMBER TO APRIL (sometimes longer up north) the lakes are frozen to the point that you drive on them, drill holes, and sit in tiny wooden boxes to fish (er...drink beer and play cards).  This is  called ICE FISHING.  I do not get it.  I also learned how to ice-skate a few years ago.  IT is fun, but I only like to do it inside.   St. Paul does have something called the Winter Carnival.  There are outside parades, Ice Sculptures a dog sled rally and a GIANT SNOW SLIDE.

Last year My district walked in the parade!

Needless to say there are ways of staying warm in Minnesota in the winter and cool in the summer!

Minnesota is also known for our arts.  We have some of the most amazing music, theater, museums, and liberal arts composers in the WORLD.  The page below is W is for Wanda Gag. 


Who I will be honest I do not know as an author, So I googled her.
Huh.  I did not know that.  But did you know all of these authors are from Minnesota?
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
Laura Ingles Wilder - The Litte House Series
Anne Tyler - 
Kate DiCamillo - Tale of Desperaux, Because of Winn-Dixie..ECT
Garrison Keelor - Lake Wobegon Days
Maud Heart Lovelace - Betsey Tacy Series...oh and that HUGE award.
Debra Frasier - ON the Day you Were Born
Here is a Pinterest board I made with just Minnesota Authors, Go Check it out!

Minnesota is also known to have a really crummy football team that prances about in purple.  But we are amazing fans!  My boyfriend is actually designing all the plumbing for the new stadium.  That is kind of cool!!!

But we also have a men's basketball team (Timberwolves), A women's basketball team (Linx - actually the only team to have done anything in the last 20 years....), a mens hockey team (Wild), Minor league Baseball team (Saints), a Lacross team (Swarm) and a MLB team (MINNESOTA TWINS BABY!)  I love to go to the games!

When it comes down to it!  YEs Minnesota and the TWIN CITIES are cold.

We had 5 days off this year because of our temperatures.  There was a few days when it was actually warmer in ANTARTICA than it was in the Twin Cities.

Being cold doesn't stop us from getting together as families!

I think that these alphabet books are just wonderful.  One additional plus for the Sleeping Bear Press Book collection is there are teacher guides to go with each. These are available online in PDF format at no charge. They can be downloaded at . These teacher guides provide material to make an exciting unit with each book. There are also teacher guides in PDF format for many of the other books. The teacher guides can be viewed and downloaded at .

Finally as a last tribute to this book and a great segway to a new series that you are going to see on this blog is this page.  A is for Art.
This is the sculpture Garden.

While not the art museum I went to with my friend, we did go to The Minneapolis Institute of Art.

My friend Zhenya is a transplant from Russia.  She is a super sweet gal, filled with tons of knowledge and an amazing fashion sense.  She blogs over at
She has lived here for 3 years and she has never been to the museum that runs on donations (i.e. FREE). So I took her.  I love it there. 

First we went to SpyHouse Coffee a blog away from the museum:

Because you know I need my Coffee.

Then we just went around the museum.  We stopped to take this AMAZING shot after we were done.

We decided that we were going to start a tuesday tradition that we are going to go explore our own towns this summer.  Every tuesday we are going to go Twin Cities Tuesdays.  Look for posts on Wednesdays. And go check out her blog for some serious fashion and beauty tips!!!!

Until next week when Zhenya and I tackle the Minneapolis Rose Gardens. 

I love you.

Go Check out 
For more books, books, books!

Thanks Jameson so much for the awesome post... Check back tomorrow for an awesome post from Mrs. Mitchell at Teach. Inspire. Change.

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