Banned Books Week 2023!

Wisconsin Water Library > Articles by: Anne Moser

Banned Books Week 2023!

by India-Bleu Niehoff

Library display showing book covers of challenged books 2023.Banned Books Week began in 1982, in response to a surge of book bans and challenges. It was specifically started by Judith Krug, a librarian and strong proponent of freedom of speech. Since then, the American Library Association has tracked the number of books that have been banned or challenged across the United States. The pressing nature and need of this week has not diminished but only increased since then.

This year, Banned Books Week is October 1-7, 2023. In the last year, the number of books that have been banned or challenged in the US has skyrocketed. The American Library Association (ALA) records that “between January 1 and August 31, 2023, [the Office of Intellectual Freedom] reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles – a 20% increase from the same reporting period in 2022,” (ALA, 2023). This is placed in context of the record breaking year of 2022 where “censors targeted a record 2,571 unique titles in 2022, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021,” (ALA, 2023). Not only have the numbers of books being challenged increased but there is a strong trend with the majority of titles being banned having been “written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color,” (ALA, 2023).

What can you do? There are many things that one can do! Banned Books week is designed to bring attention and action to make change. October 7th, is the ALA’s Let Freedom Read Day, but as the ALA recognizes, every day is an important day to fight for the right to read. Engage with your community, look into events being held by your local public library and schools. Whether that is through volunteering, speaking out or checking out a banned book. There is work that everyone can do.

let freedom read logoLearn more

ALA’s Let Freedom Read Day with actionable steps for all: Let Freedom Read Day

ALA’s Book Ban Data: Book Ban Data

This ALA timeline of Banned Books Week: Timeline

Read this piece by Dr. Debbie Reese, where she discusses the banning of Native Voices and Books. 

Banning of Native Voices/Books 

Mr. Jaffe Goes to Washington

(editor’s note: Our blog author, Phillip Jaffe began as a student worked in the Wisconsin Water Library in January 2023 after he approached me to learn about special librarianship. Though I missed his help this summer, I was thrilled to hear about his opportunity for a 10-week internship at the White House! He has gaciously provided a glimpse of his summer)

Photo of blog author, Phillip Jaffe in front of the White House, summer 2023.

Photo by Phillip Jaffe.

As attached as I became to the Wisconsin Water Library over the past spring semester, I set aside my responsibilities there for the summer to head to Washington, D.C., where I have been remarkably privileged to intern in the library of the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

The Library and Research Services Division falls under the Office of Administration within the EOP, and its mission is to support EOP staff, including those in the White House, in their work for the president. It includes a main library, holding books on presidential and political history as well as other issues in the social sciences; a law library, containing government documents and legal resources; and an array of digital resources, including bibliographic and legal databases and news outlet subscriptions.

During my time here, I have reported to a technical services librarian and a reference librarian, working on various projects for both in parallel. This mixture of responsibilities is what makes working in a special library with a small staff so enjoyable to me. I may spend a morning working the service desk, fielding reference questions and managing circulation, and that afternoon inventorying to reconcile the physical collection with the records in our library management system. The varying nature of my duties here is similar to that of my duties at the Water Library, where I’m able to hone my skills in several areas of librarianship.

The physical library spaces themselves, ornate and multi leveled with interior balconies, have been beautiful work environments, and some vestiges of their 19th-century origins have made routine tasks particularly fun, such as a pulley-operated dumbwaiter to move books between the open tiers of one of the libraries.

Picture of turtles at the Reptile Discovery Center at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Photo by Phillip Jaffe.

The staff of the EOP library, including me, was lucky to attend the presentation of the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, hosted by Jill Biden in the East Room of the White House. Representatives from eight winning libraries and museums of various types around the country attended, and the ceremony was followed by a reception in the East Wing.

During my time outside of work, I’ve tried to take in some of the culture this city has to offer, popping into Smithsonian museums (of which the National Portrait Gallery is my personal favorite) and checking out federal government buildings. I made sure to register for a Library of Congress reader card, and I even made an effort to keep my aquatic sensibilities alive by swinging by the Reptile Discovery Center at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

My 10-week internship has felt far too fleeting. I’m having a bit of trouble coming to terms with its end, but am looking forward to returning to Madison later this month, where I’ll be picking back up my library science coursework as well as my assistant work in the Water Library.

Celebrate Indigenous Day!

Today’s blog comes from the library’s fall library assistant, Julia Buskirk.

The second Monday in October marks Indigenous People’s Day, a time to reflect on the history and legacy of colonization in North America, and celebrate and support the Indigenous People across the Great Lakes and this continent.

Indigenous People’s Day has it’s roots in the protests and counter-celebrations of 1992, the year that marked 500 years since Christopher Columbus made contact with the North American Continent and initiated subsequent European colonization. Indigenous-led protests were held on Columbus Day to bring attention to the violence inflicted upon Indigenous People across North America by Christopher Columbus and other European colonizers, as well as the policies and actions of colonizing nations that attempted to eradicate or assimilate Native Nations. Counter-celebrations also served as an opportunity for Indigenous People to celebrate their communities and culture.

These protests and counter-celebrations have grown in the past few decades as different communities, cities and states adopted their own ways of recognizing Indigenous People’s Day. Last year, President Joe Biden made it an official federal holiday.

We’ve put together a selection of books for Educators and Guardians to share with Children to converse, celebrate, and learn about Indigenous People around the Great Lakes and across the continent. Today marks an opportunity to rethink the sanitized story of Columbus, and share stories with our children of and by Indigenous People.

Informational Books

Indigenous People’ Day / by Katrina M. Phillips. North Mankato, Minnesota: Pebble Explore, 2022. Ages 5-8.
This book explores the history and origins of Indigenous People’s Day, and was our September feature of the 2022 Maadagindan book discussion. Explore Discussion Questions and Learning Activities for this book here.

The Water Walker / by Joanne Robertson. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Second Story Press, 2017. Ages 6 – 10. Explore Discussion Questions and Learning Activities for this book here.
Shares the real-life story of Josephine Mandamin, who walked the Great Lakes alongside others to raise awareness and support to protect Nibi (water). Through her walks, she invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water and our planet for all generations.

Native People of Wisconsin / by Patty Loew. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2015. Ages 8 – 11.
A resource for young readers to learn about the the unique cultural traditions, tribal histories, and lives of the twelve Native Nations in Wisconsin.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People / by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 2019. Ages 12 – 17, Young Adult.
A young-reader’s addition of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s work. An accessible re-education of the history of the US that challenges the myth of the United States as a “Discovered New World,” sharing the history and ongoing Indigenous struggles against colonization and imperialism.

Stories and Narratives

Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh (This Is How I Know) / by Brittany Luby. Toronto; Berkeley: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2021. Ages 3 – 7.
A granddaughter and her grandmother explore the world together as they associate different seasons with star signs and the arrivals and activities of other beings. Text is in English and Anishinaabemowin.

Morning on the Lake / by Jan Bourdeau Waboose. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press Ltd, 1998. Ages 5-9.
A young boy and his Mishomis (Grandfather) set out in a canoe early one spring morning. Together, they embark on a day of discovery and reflection as the boy’s Mishomis patiently guides him to respect the ways of nature and to understand his own place in the world. Explore Discussion Questions and Learning Activities for this book here.

Remembering Green: An Ojibwe Girl’s Tale / by Lisa Gammon Olson and Lauren Rutledge. Lemont, PA: Eifrig Publishing, 2020. Ages 5 – 10.
A young girl’s Nimishoomis (Great-Grandfather) shows her how she can maintain her Ojibwe ways when forced to attend the Lac du Flambeau boarding school. The Lac du Flambeau Boarding School was a US government boarding school in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, that was run from 1895-1932 with the intention of assimilating Anishinaabe children into European-settler culture. Learn more about how the tribe has begun to reclaim the space.

The Birchbark House / by Louise Erdrich. New York, New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1999. Ages 8-12+
The first of a five-part series that follows a young Ojibwe girl named Omakayas throughout an eventful year on Mooningwanekaaning, now known as Madeline Island. Explore Discussion Questions and Learning Activities for this book here.

Activity Books

The Good Path: Ojibwe Learning and Activity Book for Kids / Afton, Minn.: Afton Historical Society Press, 2002. Ages 8 – 13.

Ganawenimaa nimamainan aki (Respect our Mother Earth: a kid’s environmental activity booklet) / by Sue Erickson and Dennis Soulier. Odanah, WI: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, 2005

Gimaamaa-akiiminaan gimiigwechiwendaamin (Thankful for our Mother Earth: Spearing through the ice, activity booklet) / by Dylan Jennings and Wesley Ballinger. Odanah, WI: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, 2016.

Gimaamaa-akiiminaan gimiigwechiwendaamin (Thankful for our Mother Earth: A kid’s manoomin activity booklet) / by Dylan Jennings and Wesley Ballinger. Odanah, WI: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, 2017.

If you have any reading suggestions or ideas, please let us know!



Celebrating Wisconsin Like a Naturalist

by Maya Reinfeldt, Library Assistant

This summer learn about Wisconsin’s natural past, present and future and the people involved in studying and caring for it. Enjoy books about our state’s flora and fauna, Indigenous knowledge and ethics and about our founding naturalists.

picture of a loonBlack, Merel R., and Emmet J. Judziewicz. Wildflowers of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Region a Comprehensive Field Guide. 2nd ed., University of Wisconsin Press, 2009.
“It is our hope that this work will increase knowledge and awareness of the diversity and beauty of the wildflowers that surround us every day. We also hope that, with this knowledge, care will be taken to help preserve these natural riches for future generations.” – Merel Black and Emmet Judziewicz.

Boyer, Dennis. Listen to the Land: Conservation Conversations. Terrace Books, 2009.
“I have seen no other work that resembles Listen to the Land. It includes diverse perspectives on the environment, sense of place, the power of nature, and relationship to the land. It belongs on the shelf next to Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold, John Muir, and Henry David Thoreau.” – Jerry Apps.

Christofferson, Bill. The Man from Clear Lake: Earth Day Founder Senator Gaylord Nelson. University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.
“The seemingly simple idea – a day set aside to focus on protecting our natural environment – was the brainchild of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. It accomplished, far beyond his expectations, his lifelong goal of putting the environment onto the nation’s and the world’s political agendas.” – Bill Christofferson.

Langston, Nancy. Climate Ghosts: Migratory Species in the Anthropocene. Brandeis University Press, 2021.
“Climate Ghosts challenges us to engage critically with Indigenous dispossession, ecosystem change, and species restoration.” – Michael Dockry

Leopold, Aldo, and Charles Walsh Schwartz. A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There. Oxford University Press, 1968.
“A notable book of discovery, a book whose beginning is fashioned for naturalists and artists, and whose conclusion is a far-seeing challenge to statesmen and philosophers.” -from The Land.

Loew, Patty. Seventh Generation Earth Ethics: Native Voices of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2014.
“We Anishinaabeg believe that all humans are born with a special gift to benefit and serve our first mother, the Earth, and all living beings. Seventh Generation Earth Ethics shares the biographies of twelve indigenous people whose lives provide pathways and inspiration for all to follow.” – Lisa Poupart.

Matteson, Sumner. Afield: Portraits of Wisconsin Naturalists, Empowering Leopold’s Legacy. Vol. 1, Little Creek Press, 2020.
“We need [Wisconsin’s naturalists] to ground us as we face a future of rapidly changing social, economic, and environmental realities, most especially the uncertain effects of accelerating
climate change. We need them, more than anything, to nurture the next generation of citizen-conservationists.” – Curt Meine

Meeker, James E., et al. Plants Used by the Great Lakes Ojibwa: Abridged Version. Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, 1993.
“It is hoped that the book is not viewed merely as a scientific document for ethnobotanical use. Rather, we hope to convey both the essence and spirit of an Anishinabe world view which carries with it the respect for each of the living things on this planet that we call Aki, our Mother the Earth.” – James H. Schlender.

Ostergren, Robert Clifford, and Thomas R. Vale. Wisconsin Land and Life. The University of Wisconsin Press, 1997.
“This book… is an exploration of place, a series of essays by Wisconsin geographers that offers an introduction to the state’s natural environment, the historical processes of its human habitation, and the ways that nature and people interact to create distinct regional landscapes.” – Robert Ostergren and Thomas Vale.

Root, Robert L. Walking Home Ground: In the Footsteps of Muir, Leopold, and Derleth. Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017.
“As Robert Root walks through the Wisconsin landscape, he reads the windblown hay field, the dripping green wood, the and the crooked blue river with as much care and precision as the three writers he’s following: Muir, Leopold, and Derleth.” – Tom Montgomery Fate

Schaick, Charles Van, et al. People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1942. Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2011.
“People of the Big Voice is a treasure trove connecting the past with the present – restoring Ho-Chunk memories and relatives back to life.” – Norbert Hill, member of the Oneida Nation.

Weso, Thomas Pecore. Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir. Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2016.
“With a rare perspective as a Native American anthropologist and artist, Weso mixes a poignant personal story with the seeds of Menominee cooking traditions.” – Thomas Weso.

Anyone in Wisconsin can borrow the above books and more. Just email

picture of a badger

Dive into Shipwrecks!


The Christmas Tree Ship: The Story of Captain Santa by Rochelle Pennington.
Door Peninsula Shipwrecks by Jon Paul Van Harpen
Great Lakes Shipwrecks & Survivals by William Ratigan
Great Ships on the Great Lakes: A Maritime History from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Lost & Found: Legendary Lake Michigan Shipwrecks by V.O. VanHeest
Shipwrecks: Exploring Sunken Cities beneath the Sea by Mary Cerullo
Shipwrecks and Lost Treasures, Great Lakes: Legends and Lore, Pirates and More! By Michael Varhola
Shipwrecks, Monsters, and Mysteries of the Great Lakes by Ed Butts
Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes: Tales of Courage — And Cowardice by Cheryl MacDonald
Sport: Ship Dog of the Great Lakes by Pamela Cameron; illustrated by Renée Graef
Stories from the Wreckage: A Great Lakes Maritime History Inspired by Shipwrecks by John Odin Jensen
Whaleback Ships of the Great lakes


29 Missing: The True and Tragic Story of the Disappearance of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald by Andrew Kantar
The Edmund Fitzgerald: Lost With All Hands: A True Story for Young Readers by Robert Hertel
The Edmund Fitzgerald: The Song of the Bell by Kathy-Jo Wargin and Gisjbert Van Frankenhuyzen.
The Gulls of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Tres Seymour
The Night the Fitz Went Down by Hugh E. Bishop
The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald: The Loss of the Largest Ship on the Great Lakes by Charles River Editors
SUNKEN Shipwrecks of Lake Superior by Kathy Groth
White hurricane: a Great Lakes November gale and America’s deadliest maritime disaster by David G. Brow


Ghost Ships, Gales and Forgotten Tales: True Adventures of the Great Lakes by Wes Oleszewski
Graveyard of the Lakes by Mark L. Thompson
Great Lakes Shipwrecks & Survivals by William Ratigan
Shipwrecks and Lost Treasures, Great Lakes: Legends and Lore, Pirates and More! By Michael Varhola
Steamboats & Sailors of the Great Lakes by Mark L. Thompson
Stories from the Wreckage: a Great Lakes Maritime History Inspired by Shipwrecks by John Odin Jensen
Wreck of the Carl D. : a True Story of Loss, Survival, and Rescue at Sea by Michael Schumacher


Learn about Wisconsin Shipwrecks :

Take the challenge of our shipwreck scavenger hunt and crossword puzzle!

Explore Shipwrecks and Aquatic Invasive Species

About the Silver Lake:

ROVe The Great Lakes from Wisconsin Sea Grant:
Experience Great Lakes maritime history & underwater exploration (curriculum but lots of stuff for families)

Wisconsin Sea Grant YouTube channel:
Watch ROV footage and listen to a maritime archaeologist talk about working with remotely operated vehicles in shipwreck research


About the weather that day:

About the Edmund Fitzgerald:

Edmund Fitzgerald data sets to use at home:


Robert Ballard discovers the Titanic: (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Ballard’s return in 2004:

Using ROVs to find the Titanic:

Finding the Titanic – interview with Dr. Ballard:

Painting the Titanic:

How the Titanic was lost – picture gallery:


DK Eyewitness Books: Titanic: Learn the Full Story of This Tragic Ship from its Famous Passengers to the Exploration of its Remains by Simon Adams
882 1/2 Amazing Answers to Your Questions about the Titanic Paperback by Hugh Brewster
If You Were a Kid aboard the Titanic by Josh Gregory; illustrated by Sebastian Serra
Inside the Titanic by Hugh Brewster
Tonight on the Titanic (Magic Tree House, No. 17) by Mary Pope Osborne

What are your favorite reads? Send them to Anne Moser!

Megan’s Reading List

Hello readers!

I am Megan Nayar and I am the student education assistant for Wisconsin Sea Grant. Since winter is not giving up its grip this year, I found some reading suggestions to sustain you until the thaw comes and spring arrives. I have suggested readings for children and adults that explore life under the water and that amply the voices of Water Protectors, leaders that advocate for the sustainable conservation of our water resources. The books listed below can be read and discussed with friends and family! 

For children

For adults 

  • Winona LaDuke’s book called To Be A Water Protector tackles the history of water inequality of Indigenous peoples, specifically the Anishinaabekwe or Ojibwe community, and emulates sustainability principles and teachings. 
  • The next read is a paper written by Hampton et al., 2017 called “Ecology Under Lake Ice” which explores the unknown life navigating under the frozen tundra of 101 lakes. The research paper analyses different species levels including plankton, phytoplankton, and zooplankton. 

Do you have any favorite reads to share? Let us know – email

Ice Lake Mendota

Ice, oh Wonderful Ice!

The ship’s stern still bore its name, “ENDURANCE,” above a five-pointed star, a holdover from before Shackleton bought the ship, when it was named Polaris.With this week’s find of the Endurance, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s very long-lost ship that sank in 1915, ice is on our mind. The location of the wreck, close to 10,000 deep, is one of the iciest on the planet. And because of the cold waters, the wreck is in almost pristine condition.

Ice is a wonder – it influences our lives, most notably as an air conditioner for our planet. Ice cools our food and makes drinks refreshing in the hot summer. It is a great resource for winter recreation, and writers and photographers find it an inspiration for their works.

As we wait for spring to spring in Wisconsin, we share some great reads about wonderful ice!

Brave New Arctic: The Untold Story of the Melting North by Mark C. Serreze. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2018.

The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail. New York: The New Press, 2019.

Fishing on Ice: A Complete Guide to Gear, Fish and Fun by Noel Vick. Champaign, Illimois.: Human Kinetics, 1999.

Gimaamaa-Akiiminaan Gimiigwechiwendaamin: Thankful for Our Mother Earth: Spearing through the Ice Activity Booklet by Dylan Jennings. Odanah, Wisconsin.: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, [2016].

Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers by James Balog. New York: Rizzoli, 2012.

Ice! The Amazing History of the Ice Business by Laurence Pringle. Honesdale, Penn.: Calkins Creek, 2012.

The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers by Christopher White. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

One Frozen Lake by Deborah Jo Larson. St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012. Vanishing Ice: Glaciers, Ice Sheets and Rising Seas by Vivien Gornitz. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.

Anyone in Wisconsin can borrow our books. Send your request to

Photo: Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust



National Poetry Month is here!

Where do poetry and science intersect?

Do they intersect at all?

Consider the patterns in both poetry and science. Or consider how each discipline uses observations to make sense of the world. Certainly, both use their own techniques and require creativity and even problem-solving. Perhaps the two disciplines are not so very different?

We love to start any science program for youth with a poem or two… Here are some great books of poetry we have used. What are your favorites? Let use know at!


  • In The Sea by David Elliott; Illustrated by Holly Meade
  • In The Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
  • In The Swim: Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian
  • Sail Away: Poems by Langston Hughes; Art by Ashley Bryan
  • Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman
  • Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs; Illustrated by Meilo So
  • Water Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas; Illustrations by Violeta Dabija


  • H Is For Hook: A Fishing Alphabet by Judy Young and Illustrated by Gary Palmer
  • Fine Feathered Friends: Poems for Young People by Jane Yolen; Photographs by Jason Stemple
  • Flutter & Hum: Animal Poems = Aleteo Y Zumbido: Poemas de Animals by Julie Paschkis
  • Insectlopedia: Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian
  • Lizards, Frogs and Polliwogs by Douglas Florian
  • Song for the Whooping Crane by Eileen Spinelli
  • Step Gently Out Poem by Helen Frost; Photographs by Rick Lieder
  • Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature Written by Joyce Sidman; Illustrated by Beth Krommes
  • Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman; Illustrations by Beckie Prange


  • Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems Selected by Paul B. Janeczko; Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
  • Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems by Francisco X. Alarcón, Illustrations by Maya Christina Gonzalez = Iguanas in la Nieve Y Otros Poemas De Invierno / Poemas, Francisco X. Alarcon; Ilustraciones, Maya Christina Gonzalez
  • Once Around the Sun by Bobbi Katz; Illustrated by Leuyen Pham
  • A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of the Snowy Day Andrea Davis Pinkney; Pictures by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson
  • Rain. Poems. Selections. by Anders Holmer
  • Winter Eyes: Poems & Paintings by Douglas Florian
  • Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold Joyce Sidman & Rick Allen


  • I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems about the Garden by Juanita Havill; Illustrated by Christine Davenier
  • When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, Illustrated by Julie Morstad


  • The Green Mother Goose: Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time by Jan Peck and David Davis; Illustrated by Carin Berger
  • Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Sayre

Spring Outside

As the spring thaw begins in Wisconsin, the outdoors and our watery places beckon. For both kids and adults there is a strong urge to get outside and play. This urge also inspires narratives from writers on their own experiences exploring our world: on foot, in canoes, on bicycles, in their backyards, from their tents and sometimes from conversations with strangers they meet along the way.

Along Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail.
By Bart Smith. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008.

Crossing the Driftless: A Canoe Trip through a Midwestern Landscape.
By Lynne Smith Diebel and illustrated by Robert Diebel. Madison, WI: Terrace Books, an imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press, 2015.

Chippewa: Biography of a Wisconsin Waterway.
By Richard D. Cornell. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017.

The Great Lakes at Ten Miles an Hour: One Cyclist’s Journey along the Shores of the Inland Seas.
By Thomas C. Shevory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.

Great Lakes Journey: A New Look at America’s Freshwater Coast.
By William Ashworth. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2000.

The Mississippi: A Visual Biography.
By Quinta Scott. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2010.

Naked in the Stream: Isle Royale Stories.
By Vic Foerster. Traverse City, Mich.: Arbutus Press, 2010.  

A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk: One Woman’s Trek along the Shorelines of all Five Great Lakes.
By Loreen Niewenhuis. Milwaukee, WI: Crickhollow Books, 2013.

Walking Home Ground: In the Footsteps of Muir, Leopold, And Derleth.
By Robert L. Root. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017.

Anyone in Wisconsin can borrow these books. Just email

Diverse Literature Belongs in Our Library

Books have the power to inspire and enlighten. Diversity in books, especially in literature published for youth, is essential. All children must see themselves in the pages of the books they read, especially as we inspire and motivate the next generation of Great Lakes and water leaders. The library continues to develop our collection to reflect the diverse members and experiences in our community of readers.

By Jorge Argueta; illustrated by Felipe Ugalde; translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura. Houston: Piñata Books, an imprint of Arte Público Press, 2017.

By Joel Harper, illustrated by Marq Spusta. Claremont, CA: Freedom Three, 2006.

by Liz Garton Scanlon; illustrated by Marla Frazee. New York : Beach Lane Books, [2009]

Odanah, WI: Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, 2016.

By Janice N. Harrington, Janice N. Honnesdale, PA: Calkins Creek, 2019.

By Tonya Bolden. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2020.

by Barbara Kerley. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2012.

By Todd Parr. New York: Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, 2010.

By Joanne Ryder, illustrated by Norman Gorbaty. New York, NY: Henry Holt, 1996.

by Linda Schwartz ; illustrated by Beverly Armstrong. Santa Barbara, Calif. : Learning Works, c1990.

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin; illustrated by Eric-Shabazz Larkin. Bellevue, WA: Readers to Eaters, 2013.

By Sue Erickson; Dennis Soulier; Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. Odanah, WI : Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, [2005?]

By Dylan Jennings; illustrated by Welsey Ballinger. Second edition. Odanah, WI: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, 2017.

By Dylan Jennings; illustrated by Welsey Ballinger.  Odanah, WI: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, 2016.

By Marie Lamb and Baldev Lamba. Pictures by Sonia Sanchez. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017.

By Joshua M. Whitebird, Joshua M.; illustrated by Edward Benton-Banai. Odanah, WI : Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, 2018.

By Antoinette Portis. New York: Neal Porter Books,2019.

By Harriet Rohmer, illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2009.

By Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Rebecca Green. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2018.

By Michael J. Caduto. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Pub., 1997

By Linda Trice; illustrated by Hazel Mitchell. Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge, 2016.

By Jerry Pinkney. New York: Little Brown, 2020.

By Trung Le Nguyen. New York: Random House, 2020.

By Michelle Lord, illustrated by Julia Blattman. Brooklyn, NY: Flash Light Press, 2020.

By Joe McLellan, illustrated by Rhian Brynjolson. Winnipeg: Pemmican, 1993.

By Stuart A Kallen. San Diego, Calif.: Kidhaven Press, 2004.

By Therese DeAngelis. Mankato, Minn.: Capstone, ©2004.

By Miranda Paul; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Minneapolis: Millbrook Press, 2015.

By Rochelle Strauss; illustrated by Rosemary Woods. Toronto: Kids Can Press, ©2007.

By Kate Messner; illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2017.

By Edward Mille. New York: Holiday House, [2014]

By Lynne Cherry. San Diego: Harcourt Inc., [2002]

By Gordon Regguinti; Dale Kakkak; Michael Dorris.  Minneapolis : Lerner Publications, 1992.

By Jeanette Davis; illustrated by Philbert Washington. Atlanta, GA.: Mynd Matters Publishing, 2019.

By Jen Cullerton Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler. New York: Lee and Low Books, 2010.

By Antonie Schneider and Pei-Yu Change.  New York: North South Books, 2019.

By Carol Ann Trembath. Evanston, IL: Lakeside Publishing, 2017.

Cloquet, Minnesota : Fond du Lac Head Start, [2014]

By Emily Sollinger, illustrated by Jo Brown. New York: Little Simon, 2010.

By April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Kate Endle. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2008.

By Emmanuel Mbogo. Dar es Salaam: Vision Strategic Impact Limited, 2015.

By Joanne Robertson. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Second Story Press, 2017.

By Carol Ann Trembath. Evanston, IL: Lakeside Publishing, 2014

By Carol Ann Trembath. Evanston, IL: Lakeside Publishing, 2016.

By Carole Lindstrom; illustrated by Michaela Goade. New York, NY : Roaring Brook Press, 2020.

By Jacqui Bailey. Hauppauge, NY:  B.E.S. Publishing, 2010.

By Carmen Bogan; illustrated by Floyd Cooper. San Francisco, CA: Yosemite Conservancy, Yosemite National Park, 2017.

By Aslan Tudor, co-written by Kelly Tudor. [n.p.] Eaglespeaker Publishing, [n.d.]

Anyone in Wisconsin can borrow these books. Just email

Indigenous Peoples Day 2020

Today we celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day!

First, we take this day to acknowledge the Indigenous people of Wisconsin, the past, current, and future stewards of this land we stand on. The Wisconsin Water Library at the University of Wisconsin–Madison occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial. The place we now call Wisconsin is the ancestral land of many Native nations who call this place home, and we are honored to be a place of stories, memory, and living tradition for all.

Today, Wisconsin is home to twelve Native nations and indigenous people are an inextricable part of Wisconsin’s past and present, and yet, they are missing from our history and from the way we care for our earth. Wisconsin Sea Grant and the library acknowledge the crucial work we must do so that all approaches to water science and environmental stweardship are incorporated.

The Wisconsin Water Library is taking deliberate steps to expand its holdings of materials related to traditional knowledge and water. We acknowledge our collection is incomplete so please email Anne Moser with your suggestions (

Some of our favorites are:

Map of Wisconsin First Nations — Treaty lands in 1800 and present-day tribal lands. This map is an adaptation of the Native Nations Map from The Ways.
Ceded territories by GLIFWC
Ceded Territories, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission 

To learn more about American Indians in Wisconsin, check out

Environmental Justice + #BlackLivesMatter

By Anne Moser and Laura Killingsworth

What is environmental justice?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. Fair treatment means no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies.”

How does it relate to social justice?

In the United States, structural racism is inextricably linked to environmental racism. A disproportionate burden of environmental harm falls on BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and people of color) communities and on working class neighborhoods.Harmful infrastructure such as landfills, poor drinking water systems and lack of safe play spaces and harmful practices including a lack of investment in communities, leads to poorer physical and mental health. As our society continues to grapple with the very real effects of climate change, these negative consequences will continue to displace marginalized communities at an even more severe level.

Without environmental justice, can we have full social justice?

There is no environmental justice without full social justice, and there is no full social justice without environmental justice. Our core values as librarians surround access to information, and how various societal issues prevent that from happening. We have a duty to dismantle these systemic barriers, meaning that every societal issue is a library issue as well, and something we should be addressing. There is much work to do in terms of advancing social justice and anti-racist initiatives for the black members of our community, and to affirm that black lives DO matter.  Further, these conversations belong at the center of any conversation surrounding environmental justice.

Reading List

We have created this reading list as a means of providing information and facilitating critical thinking surrounding these topics. This list is meant to be an introduction, and is by no means exhaustive. If you have resources or readings to add regarding environmental justice and social justice, please send an email to Anne Moser

Books and articles

As Long as the Grass Grows: the Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to… Standing Rock by Dina Gilio-Whitaker.
Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney
Clean and White: a History of Environmental Racism in the United States by Carl A Zimring.
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson.
Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots by Robert Doyle Bullard.
Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change edited by Susanne C Moser and Lisa Dilling.
Defending Mother Earth: Native American Perspectives on Environmental Justice by Jace Weaver.
Diamond: a Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor by Steve Lerner.
Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality by Robert D Bullard.
Cleere, Rickie, “Environmental Racism and the Movement for Black Lives: Grassroots Power in the 21st Century” (2016). Pomona Senior Theses.
Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman.
From the Ground up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement by Luke W Cole and Sheila R Foster.
Garbage Wars: the Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago by David Naguib Pellow.
The Human Right to Water: Legal and Policy Dimensions by Salman M A Salman.
Justice and Natural Resources: Concepts, Strategies, and Applications edited by Kathryn M Mutz; Gary C Bryner; Douglas S Kenney.
Landrigan, P. J., Rauh, V. A., & Galvez, M. P. (2010). Environmental justice and the health of childrenThe Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, New York77(2), 178–187.
Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance by Nick Estes.
Polluted Promises: Environmental Racism and the Search for Justice in a Southern Town by Melissa Checker.
Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage by Dianne D. Glave.
The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution by Robert D Bullard.
Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor by Rob Nixon.
Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Crisis by Vandana Shiva.
Struggle for the Land: Native North American Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide and Colonization by Ward Churchill.
A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington.
There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities by Ingrid Waldron.
Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution and Residential Mobility by Dorceta E. Taylor.
Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy
What Is Critical Environmental Justice? by David Naguib Pellow.
Why Race and Class Matter to the Environmental Movement, article in Grist

Readings on the Flint Water Crisis

A Case Study of Environmental Injustice: The Failure in Flint by Carla Campbell, Rachael Greenberg, Deepa Mankikar, and Ronald D. RossInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Oct; 13(10): 951
Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis by Benjamin J. Pauli.
Iowa State University Libraries Libguide on Flint Water Crisis
The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anne (Anna Leigh) Clark.
What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha.

Books for Youth

It’s Our World, Too! Stories of Young People Who Are Making a Difference by By Phillip Hoose.
A River Ran Wild: an Environmental History by Lynne Cherry
Read a previous post from our blog about young activists raising their voices about climate change:

Curated Book Lists

New York Times June 5, 2020 – Read Up on the Links Between Racism and the Environment

Other resources

US EPA Environmental Justice –
Resources from the Student Environmental Resource Center at UC Berkeley.
The American Environmental Justice Movement from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (peer-reviewed)
Bowling Green State University Libraries Libguide on Environmental Justice


1 Pellow, D. (2016). TOWARD A CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE STUDIES: Black Lives Matter as an Environmental Justice Challenge. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 13(2), 221-236. doi:10.1017/S1742058X1600014X

Goodbye to a GREAT collaborator and friend!

During this time of social distancing, I am sad to be writing at home to say goodbye to a friend and collaborator I have had the honor of working with over the past several years.  For a long time, as an outreach librarian, I wanted to teach kiddos about underwater exploration but had no idea how to approach it. I sought help from Maritime Archaeology program at the Wisconsin Historical Society and they paired me with an intern, Tori Kiefer. Tori and I have worked closely over the years to expand what Wisconsin Sea Grant and the library can offer in shipwreck education. She brought her expertise to me and we worked together to produce an informal education program that kids and adults have loved. I shall forever remember how cool the Silver Lake is, the only double centerboard scow schooner shipwreck found in the Great Lakes.  I will probably never don a wet suit and dive for shipwrecks, I owe my passion for teaching the subject to my friend.

I wish her well as she moves on to her next adventure. Tori: you will be missed!!

The WWLibrary and COVID-19

Like so many institutions around the world, the Wisconsin Water Library has temporarily closed its doors today, March 16, 2020 until the UW Madison opens again (after spring break and the alternative instruction period), tentatively scheduled for April 10. Though the physical space is closed, library staff are here in the virtual space to help with your library or research needs.

Library resources include:
For faculty, staff, and students section of the library website
Water Resource Guide – updated March 16, 2020
Askwater reference service – library staff can be reached via email for all reference questions and research inquiries that may arise during this time.
Follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Take good care.

Anne and Laura

Photo by Steve Reichel

Fifty-One Students (and Five Brave Educators) Go on a Field Trip

Special blog post by Perry Smith and Susan Jurries
Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Elementary
Woodruff, Wisconsin
May 3, 2019

On Thursday, April 25, 2019 fifty-one fourth graders, four teachers, and one paraprofessional educator boarded the bus at 8:15 AM for the 160 mile trip to Superior, WI and Duluth, MN from our school in Woodruff, Wisconsin. We were followed by a caravan of fifteen parents and guardians, all for the purpose of experiencing the twin ports on Lake Superior. This adventure is an integral part of our Learning Expedition entitled What’s so Great About the Great Lakes? This two month, in-depth study is a multidisciplinary exploration of the geography, history, ecology and economic impact of the Great Lakes.

Our first stop was The University of Wisconsin, Superior, where the students took part in a campus tour, and got a small taste of what college is all about. Many AV-W alumni attend UW Superior, and this stop allowed our students to begin to realize some of the educational options they will have in the future.


Next on the agenda was a visit to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, located in Duluth right next to the world famous Aerial Lift Bridge. Our timing was impeccable, as the 1,004 foot Laker the Edwin H. Gott was just pulling into the Duluth Ship Canal. The bridge raised, the horns sounded, and the students were thrilled to witness this behemoth of the lakes up close and personal! They were also amazed to witness the descent of the bridge, and experience the low clearance the pedestrian walkway underneath the bridge offers.

Next to enter the Ship Canal was the Saltie called the Federal Barents. The scale of this ship, while less impressive than the Gott, illustrated first hand to the students the limitations that the Welland Canal imposes on international shipping in the Great Lakes. Also, it was fascinating to hear the students wondering about the ballast water, and making connections to their learning about invasive species.

After the excitement of the Lift Bridge and Ship Canal, we next explored the Maritime Visitor Center. We experienced an excellent program about the Soo Locks, and were disappointed that our Edmund Fitzgerald program was cancelled, due to a family emergency for one of the Visitor Center rangers. We explored the exhibits and learned more about the history of shipping, the economic impact of the lakes, and the role of the Army Corps of Engineers in maintaining access to the ports. We also enjoyed the scavenger hunt provided by the rangers.

We boarded the bus for our next stop, the Hartley Nature Center. We hiked to the top of Rock Knob, which gave us a great view of Lake Superior and the cities of Duluth and Superior. We also were able to experience some of the geology of the Canadian Shield first hand.

It was time to travel to our home for the night, The Great Lakes Aquarium. We explored the exhibits, experienced the touch pools, and one of the huge highlights, were able to get acquainted with the six different types of sturgeon in the sturgeon touch pool.

Our students were also able to continue their invasive species research, watch the otters play, and learn more about the formation geologic history of the Great Lakes.

After a restful (!) night, we were up early to reflect on our learning from the day before, as well as do a bit of shopping in the aquarium gift shop.

We were then on our way to the North Shore Scenic Railroad. We toured the exhibits, learned about the unique immigration history of Duluth, and then boarded train for a two hour ride up through Duluth, getting a very unique vantage point of Lake Superior.

Finally, our last stop was at Amnicon Falls State Park, where we took a very brief hike, and enjoyed our last meal together on the trip.

The bus ride back home was very quiet. The students learned and experienced so much! Thank you, Sea Grant and The Center for Great Lakes Literacy for helping to make this trip possible.


In Their Own Words:

Prediction: Kendra: “I believe I am going to see a lot of fish. I also believe I am going to lots of fun with my friends. I am really excited because this is my first time going to Duluth. I am really excited to see new things, and go the aquarium. But when we get there I am going to show Integrity and do the right thing.”

UW Superior: Lily: “One career I may be interested in would be teaching. I am interested in teaching because I am comfortable talking in front of people. I also enjoy working with little kids. The Habit of Scholarship I feel would be most important in college would be Grit. I use Grit at AV-W working hard to finish challenging work.”

Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center: Miranda: “How did people build such amazing machinery, back in the olden days? Some of the amazing machinery was the huge Laker that 4th grade saw, and the Lift bridge that the 4th grade saw.”

Great Lakes Aquarium: Maya: “I will never forget the aquarium, like the waterfall, the animals and sleeping. It was fun! It did not even look close to what I thought, it was even better! I learned that Bob the Python adjusts to the heat of your body temp.” Allison: “I learned that most underwater animals don’t have eyelids.”

North Shore Scenic Railroad: Nahla: I loved this train excursion! To start with, this was my first train ride. Also, at the last car of the train had no walls, so it was open and kind of scary. Last but not least, I’m glad I went on the train ride.” Mason: “I will never forget the train museum. One train in there was my favorite. It was a big plow train, and I loved playing in it pretending I was driving. Even some friends joined in.”

All photos unless otherwise noted by Susan Jurries and Perry Smith

Cureo joins the Advisory Services Team

Rosalind Cuneo joined the UW Sea Grant Institute as a graduate assistant in September, and is working with Anne Moser and Kathy Kline on several Water Library and education projects. Rosalind is a master’s student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and her interdisciplinary research focuses on climate change communication. Rosalind recently returned from Alaska, where she was studying perceptions and effects of climate change on the Kenai Peninsula, and is eager to turn her attention to water resources in the Great Lakes.

Rosalind’s projects include an exciting opportunity to bring a Lake Sturgeon-centered art exhibit to multiple venues in Wisconsin. The exhibit, called “Black Gold” features art from a variety of artists. Rosalind and Anne are organizing gallery spaces, as well as educational satellite events for kids and adults, to bring attention to the Lake Sturgeon’s conservation story. Additionally, Rosalind is collecting and organizing materials for curriculum packs such as the aquatic invasive species-focused “Attack Pack” to be sent out across the Great Lakes region.

Marine and Freshwater Librarians to Visit Madison Next Week

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]May 9, 2017

By Marie Zhuikov

A unique group of librarians is holding its first conference in the Great Lakes region next week. They are librarians who specialize in marine and freshwater science topics and who belong to a regional branch of the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers. Their conference, “Great Lakes, Great Libraries,” is being held in Madison, May 16-19.

“This is the first time in 27 years that we’ve had our regional annual conference in a freshwater state,” said Anne Moser, senior special librarian with the Wisconsin Water Library. She is organizing the conference along with Alisun DeKock, another Great Lakes librarian from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

The regional group, called SAIL, is comprised of libraries on the East Coast and in Great Lakes communities of the U.S. and Canada, along with several foreign countries like Bermuda and Panama. Approximately 25 librarians will be at the Pyle Center to hear presentations by their membership on innovative library practices as well as to learn about the science of local watersheds. SAIL members will present recent projects related to digital asset management, managing big data, and ways to communicate and translate scientific information.

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Clean Water and Tribal Rights

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By Sigrid Peterson

The ongoing resistance and civil disobedience of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies in opposition to the $3.8B Dakota Access Pipeline reminds us of multiple longstanding historical, cultural, economic and political debates. These debates sit at the intersection of multiple issues: Native American land rights, the right to clean water, extraction industry, fossil fuels, grassroots organizing, everyday acts of resistance, the cultural and political-economic tension between land tenure and land improvements, spiritual relationships to Mother Earth among many others.

The library has an ongoing book display of a small subset of the resources in our collection that help us think through this complex, urgent and intertwined array of issues. Here is a sampling:

All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life The Human Right to Water: legal and policy dimensions
Defending mother earth: Native American perspectives on environmental justice Water Consciousness: how we all have to change to protect our most critical resource


To learn more, send a message to askwater [at] We can send you a full list of our resources.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]