State librarian and children’s author visit local school

MUNISING — Two visitors made their way to Munising High School today, and one of their big goals was to get kids reading.

State Librarian Randy Riley visited Munising High School Wednesday morning as part of a tour across the U.P. to gather information from local schools that might help the Michigan Department of Education make Michigan a top ten education state.

“Schools in the U.P. have some unique challenges with funding, with the size of the districts, and what’s happening to population sizes,” said Randy Riley. “Some of their challenges are unique, and getting their input I think is really crucial.”

“It is a challenge for small rural schools such as us in the Upper Peninsula,” said Munising Public Schools Superintendent Pete Kelto. “We have a school district that’s 330 square miles where we bus almost half of our students.”

Riley also headed to the adjacent Munising Public Library, which played host to the author of the children’s book “Do Unto Otters,” as part of the Michigan Reads program. Facilities across Michigan participate in the program, but only twelve of them are given the opportunity to have the author present their work in person.

“We do story time with our children here locally utilizing those materials, but this year we were chosen as a site for the author to visit,” said Munising Public Library Director Lisa Cromell.

“It’s a program that more than just about the single book,” added Riley. “It’s about reading and how reading is sort of a communal event.”

Author Laurie Keller worked not only to get the preschoolers in attendance interested in reading, but in being creative as well.

“Doing more reading and becoming a better reader always helps you with your writing, and they do go hand-in-hand, and the drawing, too, is just another part of it,” said Keller. “It’s another extension of creativity.”

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