Welcome to my blog.  My name is Lynn Garthwaite and I am the author of a series of early chapter books for kids (http://tinyurl.com/43roovy) and am currently researching and writing a history book to explain how our states got those crazy shapes. I’ll be posting my thoughts about writing, about getting your kids to write, and I’ll be giving a number of teasers for my new book. I can’t count the number of times I have stopped in the middle of research thinking – “That’s so cool. I didn’t know that!”

Have you ever wondered how our states got those odd knobs, boot heels, notches and angles? Do you think it’s odd that on the east coast the states are relatively small and shaped by meandering lines while the states out west are often larger and boxy? Why is the Upper Peninsula part of Michigan and not Wisconsin? Who stuck that odd panhandle on the western edge of Oklahoma?

Read on dear friends and enjoy the journey with me as my book comes together.  

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10 Responses to Welcome!

  1. What a pleasant surprise. Out of curiosity I checked your blog out to see the person behind a silly political facebook argument and I am welcomed by two of my favorite things, writing and geography!

    Look forward to reading.

  2. jlue says:

    That is a very good idea for a book for children.

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for commenting on my new blog! I love your idea about the states’ shapes. Very clever! My concept is to create stories that help connect children with science and nature. Each book will include a piece contributed by a noted scientist. My book, Sunbelievable (almost ready for publication!), is a funny story about a magical sun. At the end, there’s a really cool summary of the real sun contributed by NASA’s chief technologist. Can’t wait to see what you come up with on your writing journey!

  4. Your books sound fascinating Jo Ann. I’ll follow your progress as well!

  5. ross says:

    How do you know all this stuff? I wish the kids I taught would care about these things, but like I was at their age, who cares? Now it’s just too fascinating. Aren’t there still subtle ‘border wars’ today?

    • Ross – most of the information I’ve learned in my research has come from a book called “How the States Got Their Shapes” by Mark Stein. I felt compelled to rewrite it for a younger audience and/or an audience that doesn’t come to the table with a vast background in American History – so I used Mark’s book and a variety of other sources and have come up with these chapters. Yes – there are still border wars today. The Supreme Court recently settled one between New York and New Jersey over ownership of parts of Ellis Island, and Tennessee and Georgia are arguing over their shared border because water rights have become a big issue. The early surveyors made an error that has stood to this day (not uncommon), and Georgia would like to reverse that. Stay tuned.

      • ross says:

        And I think there was one between NY and VT over something in Lake Champlain. But if I mention these things to my NJ students, they imagine thousands of modern day army people with bombs and missiles headed toward the I-80 highway bridge over the Delaware River ready to attack PA, and the Pennsylvania Nat’l Guard on the other side ready to defend their territory. (In other words, they think it’s a joke.) But to those of us who love history, it’s quite a serious thing. Borders mean big bucks!

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