Illustrated by Claudia McGehee
University of Minnesota Press, 2017
About the Book
From the publisher University of Minnesota Press:
Once upon a time a creek burbled up and tumbled across a prairie valley. It was filled with insects and brook trout that ate them, frogs that chirruped and birds watching for bugs and fish. This is a true story about a man named Mike who went looking for that creek long after it was buried under fields of corn. It is the story of how a creek can be brought back to life, and with it a whole world of nature.
In the words of award-winning author Jacqueline Briggs Martin and the enchanting illustrations by Claudia McGehee, this heartening tale of an ecosystem restored in the Driftless Area of northeast Iowa unfolds in a way that will charm and inform young readers who are drawn to a good mystery, the wonders of nature — and, of course, big earth-moving machines.
Creekfinding: A True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Illustrated by Claudia McGehee; University of Minnesota Press, 2017. ISBN-13/EAN: 978-0816698028 is featured in a segment of Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Outdoors, hosted by Scott Siepker and Kellie Kramer. The book recounts the efforts taken to restore a lost creek in Northeast Iowa. The result is a delightful backstory of how the book came to be with a look at the process McGehee uses to create her magnificent illustrations. View the page for the segment here at: Iowa Public Television: Iowa Outdoors – http://bit.ly/IPT-Creekfinding.
Video Interview About The Book
Video from the Iowa Outdoors YouTube channel:
- Riverby Awards 2018 – Riverby Award recognizes exceptional non-fiction natural history books for young readers. 2018 List Announced.
- Green Earth Book Award Winner 2018
Read more about nature and the out-of-doors: a bibliography of books about nature. Learn about the environment, bogs and butterflies, gardening and bird watching, the wilderness and the tall grass prairie. And more books by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and by Claudia McGehee.
The story of Michael Osterholm’s recovery of the creek on his farmland calls to mind the recovery of salmon creeks in the northwest. Other books that might be read in conjunction with Creekfinding activities are listed in an excellent article/guide published in Bookology: Children’s Literature.
- Bookstorm ™: Creekfinding. (2017) Bookology Children’s Literature. Retrieved from http://www.bookologymagazine.com/article/bookstorm-creekfinding/
The article has links to an eleven page curriculum guide:
Palmquist, Vicki. Bookstorm™ Creekfinding: a True Story. Created for Winding Oak: Children’s Literature. The guide is copyright 2017 but may be copied for educational use, but may not be reprinted or re-sold for commercial purposes. bookologymagazine.com.
Links to the guide and interviews regarding the book, with Jacqueline Briggs Martin, and with Claudia McGehee are available as part of the Bookology article at http://www.bookologymagazine.com/article/bookstorm-creekfinding/.
A Summary & Excerpt
When Michael Osterholm learned that a creek had once run under his farmland, he determined to restore it. Following old photographs and using heavy machinery to uncover the original bed and add stones to the bottom, he then planted grasses, providing the necessary ingredients for the creek to thrive again.
The excavator had found the old stream./ Would water fill the path?/ Mike said the water remembered./ It seeped in from the sides… burbled into holes, filled the creek.
— Creekfinding by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
An Article – with the backstory
- Trainor, Genevieve. (3 Mar 2017) Prairie Lights hosts a launch party for ‘Creekfinding,’ a true Iowa tale turned storybook. Iowa City/Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Little Village Magazine.
The main narrative reads smoothly aloud, and the pictures, though detailed, should show well to a small group. … Although Osterholm and the restorers appear to be white in the illustrations, a multiracial group is shown enjoying the restored creek at the end. Author’s and illustrator’s notes and a comment from the actual creek rescuer complete the package. A heartening story of environmental restoration.
— Kirkus Reviews
[a] book that celebrates the thoughtful restoration of a prairie.
A delightful picture book.
— Cabin Living Magazine
Eloquent narrative nonfiction to inspire the future caretakers of our planet.
— School Library Journal
Elaborate scratchboard etchings and a lyrical narrative tell of a creek’s rebirth in northeastern Iowa….The story springs to life through Martin’s buoyant, personified language. McGehee’s (North Woods Girl) vibrant, stylized illustrations show nearly smiling fish, birds, and insects populating their new environment.
— Publishers Weekly
Chronicling the true story of one man’s quest to revive a stream rumored to have run through the prairies of Iowa, Jacqueline Briggs Martin relates the trials and triumphs in Creekfinding, a return to nature that proves that ‘a creek isn’t just water.’
— Foreword Reviews