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By kids, for kids

Fourth graders’ book tells tale of local history

November 25, 2008

CALUMET - Kids have great imaginations, so who better to write a children's book based on time travel and local history?

"Mine Collar Mystery," written and illustrated by 25 fourth graders at CLK Elementary School in Calumet, describes Copper Country history from a youngster's point of view.

The book's protagonist is a 12-year-old Finnish boy named Paavo, living in the early 1900s, who is just old enough to begin working alongside his father and grandfather in the copper mines.

The plot thickens when Paavo finds himself on the playground of a school in the year 2006. He is amazed and at the same time frightened by the differences between his world and the world of his new friends.

The story ends with Jessica, a girl from present day, finding a dusty journal that once belonged to her great-great grandfather. The journal describes the strange experiences of a boy who traveled forward in time.

The students' teacher, Holly Rivest, said the students originally wrote the book because they were entering a Scholastic "Kids are Authors" contest.

"They didn't win, but they decided they would try to get it published," Rivest said.

The group sent the manuscript to a few publishers, who passed on it because it was too regional.

Through a grant from the CLK Foundation and help from the CLK Rotary, the book was locally printed, she said.

Although the students are in seventh grade now and they worked on the book three years ago, they are still very excited to see the book in print, Rivest said.

"They are still extremely fired up to see this book," she said. "It did my heart good."

The borders of each page in the book are filled with facts about the Keweenaw's rich mining history. Rivest said personnel from Keweenaw National Historical Park visited with the students to help them with the facts.

The Houghton County Historical Society will host the premiere release of the book from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 at the HCHS Museum Complex in Lake Linden. Students who had a hand in producing the book will be available for book-signing.

"We're thrilled to host this event," said HCHS Vice President Vada Riederich. "The students worked really hard and it's a great book."

The students will also be on-hand for booksignings after Dec. 7 at the elementary school library and at other locations.

"It's been a great experience," Rivest said. "They really worked hard and I'm very proud of them."

Jane Nordberg can be reached at



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