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Michigan State Children's Book

The Legend of Sleeping Bear

The Legend of Sleeping Bear

Adopted on June 18, 1998

On June 18, 1998, the The Legend of Sleeping Bear, was designated as the state Children's Book.

Long ago a great famine had spread over the land. Longingly, a mother bear and two famished cubs walked the shore on the Wisconsin side, gazing wistfully across the great lake at Michigan, which in those days was the land of plenty (as it is today). Finally hunger overcame their timidness and the bears launched out, trying to swim to Michigan. As they got closer and closer to the Michigan shore, the mother's words of encouragement urged on the weary cubs. When only twelve miles from the land of plenty, the mother's heart was rent as she saw a babe sink and drown. With the remaining cub she struggled to gain the beach. Two miles of slow dragging and the second of her beloved cubs also perished.

The mother reached the beach, alone, and crept to a resting place where she lay down facing the restless waters that covered her lost ones. As she gazed, two beautiful islands slowly rose to mark the graves of the cubs. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands (North and South Manitou Islands) to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear.

Michigan State Children's Book:
The Legend of Sleeping Bear

The Legend of Sleeping Bear

The Legend of Sleeping Bear

Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tired and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear.

Michigan House Resolution No. 286.

A resolution commemorating The Legend of Sleeping Bear as the State of Michigan's official children's book.

Whereas, Children flourish under the support and guidance of nurturing parents. When families are involved in their children's education, children achieve higher grades and test scores, have better attendance at school, complete more homework, and demonstrate more positive attitudes and behavior; and

Whereas, Parents can most effectively influence their child's progress by consistent and frequent reading together. This daily reading can immensely improve a student's achievement across all academic areas; and

Whereas, The Sleeping Bear Press has published a book entitled, The Legend of Sleeping Bear. This book tells a tale believed to have originally been told by some of the first inhabitants of Michigan, the Ojibwe tribe; and

Whereas, The tale originated as a way to explain the sandy area that we know today as the Sleeping Bear Dune. In this story, mother bear and her two cubs must escape a forest fire in Wisconsin. As they struggle to make this journey across Lake Michigan, the loyalty and dedication they show for one another is powerful and heartwarming; and

Whereas, It took more than a year for painter Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen and author Kathy-jo Wargin to bring this enchanting and popular tale to life. The richness and depth of their work underscores the beauty of the legend, preserving this story for generations to come; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we commemorate The Legend of Sleeping Bear as the state's official children's book; and be it further

Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be transmitted to Sleeping Bear Press as a symbol of our esteem.



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