Michigan Children and Young Adult Books and Authors

Michigan Children's Books

A selection of books that are in print, take place in Michigan and are about notable Michigan topics. More books and authors can be found at the Michigan Authors & Illustrators database and on the Michigan Center for the Book Book Lists page.

M is for Mitten****
by Annie Appleford and Michael Monroe
Sleeping Bear Press, 1999
The natural wonders and history of Michigan from A to Z.

Mail by the Pail****
by Colin Bergel and Mark Koenig
Wayne State University Press, 2001
A young girl sends a birthday card to her father, who works on a coal freighter in the Great Lakes.

A Place Called Home: Michigan's Mill Creek Story****
by Janie Lynn Panagopoulos and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Sleeping Bear Press, 2001
A story of the settlers of the Straits of Mackinac under the British during the Revolutionary War.

Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth
by Anne Rockwell
Knopf, 2000
Coretta Scott King Award winning story of the life of former slave and abolitionist Sojourner Truth.

The Gulls of the Edmund Fitzgerald
by Tres Seymour
Orchard Books, 1996
Gulls tell about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald and other sunken ships in Lake Superior.

The Legend of Sleeping Bear
by Kathy-jo Wargin and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Sleeping Bear Press, 1998
The official Michigan Children's book tells the Ojibwa tale of how the Sleeping Bear dunes were formed.

The Michigan Counting Book
by Kathy-jo Wargin and Michael Monroe
Sleeping Bear Press, 2000
Practice counting with the animals, plants and natural features of Michigan.

Clever Beatrice
by Margaret Willey and Heather Solomon
Atheneum, 2001
A clever girl outwits a giant in the North woods in this Upper Peninsula conte tale.


Michigan Young Adult Books

History of Motown
by Virginia Aronson
Chelsea House, 2001
The story of Berry Gordy's Detroit record label that launched the careers of Michael Jackson, the Supremes and others.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963**
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Bantam Books, 1997
Multiple award-winning novel about an African American family from Flint visiting relatives in Birmingham during the civil rights struggle in 1963.

The Birchbark House
by Louise Erdrich
Hyperion Books, 1999
The author's first novel for children explores the life of the Ojibwa living on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.

29 Missing: The True and Tragic Story of the Disappearance of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald****
by Andrew Kantar
Michigan State University Press, 1998
An account of the 1975 sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior and the subsequent expeditions to discover her fate.

A Pitch in Time
by Robert Lytle
Edco Publishing, 2002
A boy travels through time to Civil War era Michigan where he experiences the conflict of the era, even in baseball.

Henry Ford: Building Cars for Everyone
by Pat McCarthy
Enslow Publishers, 2002
A biography of Henry Ford that gives a detailed and true sense of the industrial era from 1896 to 1947.

Girl in Blue****
by Ann Rinaldi
Scholastic, 2001
A Michigan farm girl masquerades as a boy to join the Union Army during the Civil War

Once on This Island
by Gloria Whelan
HarperTrophy, 1996
The lives of a pioneer girl and an Indian orphan on Mackinac Island as the British take Fort Mackinac in the War of 1812.


Michigan Children's Authors

A selection of authors who were born in or live in Michigan and have titles currently in print.

Verna Aardema - The Caldecott Award winner from Muskegon is known for picture books of African folktales. Her books include Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears*, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, and Who's in Rabbit's House.

Leigh Arrathoon - The author and publisher is from Rochester. Her books include the series Jody's Michigan Adventures. The series includes Michigan's Detroit, Michigan's Greenfield Village, and Michigan's Mackinac Island.

Patricia Polacco - The prolific, award-winning author spent her childhood on a Michigan farm. Her books include Thank You Mr. Falker, My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, and the Civil War era Pink and Say.

Devin Scillian - The up and coming children's author is a Detroit TV news anchor. His books include A is for America - An American Alphabet, Fibblestax, and One Nation - America by the Numbers.

Nancy Shaw - The Ann Arbor writer is the author of the popular "Sheep" series. Her books include Sheep in a Jeep, Sheep out to Eat, and Sheep on a Ship.

David Small - The Detroit born author and illustrator is the 2001 Caldecott Award winner. His many books include So You Want to Be President?*, The Gardener, and his first title, Eulalie and the Hopping Head.

Chris Van Allsburg - The two time Caldecott Award winner was born in Grand Rapids. His books include The Polar Express*, Jumanji*, Two Bad Ants and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen - The illustrator from Bath is renowned for his "Legend" books. His books include The Legend of Mackinac Island****, Adopted by an Owl****, and Jam and Jelly with Holly and Nellie.


Michigan Young Adult Authors

Joan Blos - The historical novelist and Newbery Award winner lives in Ann Arbor. Her books include A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-1832**, Brothers of the Heart: A Story of the Old Northwest, 1837-1838, and Heroine of the Titanic: A Tale Most True and Otherwise of the Life of Molly Brown.

Christopher Paul Curtis - The writer from Flint was a Newbery Medalist with his first novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963** and won the Newbery Award for his second novel Bud, Not Buddy.

Janie Lynn Panagopoulos - The historical novelist is the first children's author to win the Michigan Author Award. Her books include Little Ship Under Full Sail, Train to Midnight, and Erie Trail West.

Johnathan Rand - The author of the popular Michigan Chillers and American Chillers series is from Pontiac. His books include Poltergeists of Petoskey, Dinosaurs Destroy Detroit, Terror Stalks Traverse City, and Wisconsin Werewolves.

Willo Davis Roberts - The writer of over 92 books, including young adult mysteries, is from Grand Rapids. Her books include Twisted Summer, Scared Stiff, and Secrets at Hidden Valley.

Jerry Stanley - The award winning non-fiction author is from Highland Park. His books include Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weed Patch Camp, I Am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment, and Big Annie of Calumet: A True Story of the Industrial Revolution.

Ingrid Tomey - The author of contemporary novels is from Port Huron and lives in the Detroit area. Her books include Nobody Has to Know, Grandfather's Day, and Queen of Dreamland.

Gloria Whelan - The multiple award winning historical novelist and poet was born in Detroit and lives in northern Michigan. Her books include Homeless Bird***, Farewell to the Island, and The Wanigan: Life on the River****.


* Caldecott Award
** Newbery Award
*** National Book Award
****Read Michigan Selection

Updated 07/14/2015