Books to read in the snow – Rochester Minnesota news, weather, sports

“Canoe Country” by Florence Page Jaques; illustrated by Francis Lee Jaques; originally published in 1938, republished in December 2021

“Snowshoe Country” by Florence Page Jaques; illustrated by Francis Lee Jaques; originally published in 1944, republished in December 2021

“Canoe Country” and “Snowshoe Country” were reprinted and published in December 2021 – more than three-quarters of a century after their initial publication. Both are written by Florence with illustrations by Francis. These actual stories are compiled like a diary – written from Florence’s first-person perspective. Canoe Country has entries that start with their planning in February and the start of their trip in August until the end of their trip in September. “Snowshoe Country” begins with entries in October and ends in January. They are both tributes to one of Minnesota’s greatest treasures.

“Canoe Country”

Contribution / Press of the University of Minnesota

Reading ‘Canoe Country’ you see Florence falling in love with the scenery and the magic of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) even before it was established as BWCAW.

“Snowshoe Country” shows a real take on winter life in the BWCAW. The descriptions of Florence are fascinating. It introduces readers to the people who inhabit this region year round in the 1930s and 1940s. It provides valuable insight into the survival requirements for this special area. Readers may also encounter a variety of creatures, some majestic and others very adorable.

Almost all other pages contain a pen and ink illustration of Francis. Some are portraits of a single creature and others are perfect perspective landscapes with rippling water and textured rocks. They add great visuals to both books.

As this is a reprint of books written in the 1930s and 1940s, some references and languages ​​are not appropriate today. The publisher has chosen to keep this language in its original form by paying tribute to its literary heritage. This is less of a problem for me than the other books I’ve written about. Indeed, the target audience for these books are adults and not children who will most likely understand the time when these words were written and the meaning intended by the author. However, I do not glance at these words lightly or consider them acceptable uses today.

“Canoe Country” and “Snowshoe Country” teaches something about the value of all life and the beautiful in the simple. These books made me enthusiastically plan my first canoe trip to the area for (hopefully) this summer – something I think every Minnesotan should experience.

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“Snowshoe country”

Contribution / Press of the University of Minnesota

Florence Page Jaques was born in New York in 1890. She was a poet and nature writer and collaborated with her husband on eight books. She died in 1972.

Francis Lee Jaques was born in 1887 and spent his childhood in Aitkin, Minn. His art of nature and wildlife is internationally renowned and is in the collections of the Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He died in 1969.

“Canoe Country” and “Snowshoe Country” are both available online from the University of Minnesota Press (

), Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Previous prints are available in person at the Rochester Public Library.

Winter blanket for children.jfif
“The children of winter: a celebration of Nordic skiing”

Contribution / Press of the University of Minnesota

“Winter Kids: A Celebration of Nordic Skiing” by Ryan Rodgers; published on December 14, 2021 by University of Minnesota Press

“Winter’s Children” is filled with (almost) everything one could want to know about Nordic skiing and its Minnesota heritage. It contains a lot of details about who turned a pair of skis into a competitive sport and made it more than a tool for everyday life.

This book is packed with details ranging from changes in ski design to the rise and fall in popularity of skiing. It contains the evolving expectations and changing roles of women in skiing, the flourishing of skiing after WWII, and the successes and reinventions of the sport.

There are photographs and illustrations on almost every page and Rodgers shares his vast skiing experience to make this book very comprehensive.

This is a great read for sports fans, avid skiers, or Minnesotans interested in this culturally rich sport. As a Minnesotan, born and raised, I might have to give skiing another chance after reading it.

Ryan Rodgers is an avid skier and freelance writer whose work has appeared in “Backpacker” and “The Sun”, among many other magazines. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Standing Cedars Community Land Conservancy and lives with his family in northern Minnesota.

“Winter’s Children” is available online at University of Minnesota Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. It is available in person at the Rochester Public Library.

Book Nook is a feature that highlights books by Minnesota authors. Got a recommendation? Email us at [email protected] with the subject line “Book Nook”.

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