Tag Archives: Michigan

Book Review: Beneath the Slashings

Beneath the Slashings captivated my attention from beginning to end! It is Michelle Isenhoff’s third book in the Divided Decade Trilogy, but each book stands alone.  Not only is Isenhoff an expert storyteller, but she also teaches the reader a thing or two about history and — get this — she does it painlessly.

History was not my favorite subject in grade school, but I never read a book like this one back then.  Beneath the Slashings brings history to life!  The characters are convincing in their dialogue and have true-to-life problems and issues.  It is easy to picture the lumberjacks as they squabble or tease each other.   Also, Grace Nickerson is a compelling main character because she is easily relatable and filled with an appealing  sense of wonder.

It takes place in Michigan during post Civil War times, when soldiers are returning home.  It is an era of reconstruction, but 12- year old Grace Nickerson wants no part of it.  She wants to stay on the family farm and resume normalcy, thank you very much.  She lost so much already and craves the stability she’d get from the farm she’d known her whole life.  Her father, however, returns from the war with the firm decision to take her, and her twin brother Sam, far away to a lumber camp.  This dampens their relationship and sets off the journey from her familiar home in Saginaw County to the unknown forest in Manistee.

When Grace arrives at the Bear Creek Lumber Camp, she is fearful as she meets colorful characters with strange names like Fiddlesticks and Ivan.  Despite her anger at her father for taking her there in the first place, she starts to adjust to the completely different lifestyle.  However, she discovers that mayhem and even attempted murder are afoot.  Grace is determined to find out who is behind the wrongdoings, but she must first overcome her fears.

Readers can’t help but learn about history as they read this entertaining book.  Isenhoff is a children’s novelist who writes with students in mind.  Further, she provides teachers with a Classroom Resources Series to help them get “maximum mileage” of her books.

My favorite thing about the book is that the characters’ voices resonated with me for days after I finished reading it!  It was as if they were real people that I visited….back in time!

Rating for Beneath the Slashings, by Michelle Isenhoff:

Maggie’s View ~ Two Thumbs Up MUST READ!

For more information, go to:

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“I write for kids.  In my books, you can expect adventure and substance, but I’ll always respect the innocence of our children.” Children’s Novelist, Michelle Isenhoff




Other books by Michelle Isenhoff:


Posted by on August 14, 2012 in kids, Teaching, Writing


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American Indian Dancing

On a recent road trip, I came across the Ziibiwing Center, which celebrates the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. Even though I was short on time, I decided to drop in anyway and take in the local culture. I’m so glad I did because I was treated to a beautiful and passionate American Indian dance.

The dancers’ stamina, spins and intensity were impressive.

The outfits were colorful and bright.

The children were also amazing.

I could tell how proud these dancers felt.

Overall, I loved the dance and felt honored to learn about the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

This motorcycle was pretty cool too.


Posted by on July 29, 2011 in travel, Uncategorized


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Change of Perspective

Thursday afternoon:  “weather forecast for tomorrow morning is 2 inches of snow and icy conditions…”

perspective: “Ah, man, why do I have to live in Michigan with these long winters? Why can’t I live in Hawaii or California or somewhere warm?  It’s March. Shouldn’t the snow stop by now? It’s going to be a bear to drive in that in the morning.”

Friday morning:  “tremendous devastation in Japan; worst quake to hit Japan, followed by a horrendous tsunami.  More tsunamis expected in Hawaii and California…”

perspective: “Michigan’s a great place to live.”

“Perspective is everything. Change your perspective and change your reality.” by Christina W. Baum


Posted by on March 11, 2011 in news


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Erebus – the world’s largest haunted house is right here in Michigan!

Fall is a great time of year to live in Michigan.  Not only do we have the beautiful splendor of autumn leaves, but we have the largest haunted house right in Pontiac, Michigan.  This four story haunted attraction is so large, it even made the Guinness Book of World Records.

One Halloween season, I took a behind the scenes tour of Erebus, the world’s largest haunted house.  WOW!  It was amazing and thrilling, to say the least.  I was fortunate to get the inside scoop because the owners,  James and Edward Terebus, are my good friend’s relatives.  We even took our Girl Scout troop, who screamed and laughed the entire time.  It was exhilarating, even when we knew ahead of time when something was going to pop out at us.  Since we were on a guided tour, we had the lights on for some of the rooms and it was still scary!  One of our favorite rooms was the swampy area which closed in on us.  Another room seemed to disappear right under our feet and we felt like we were falling off a spooky cliff.  We huddled as we experienced the state-of-the-art sound effects, Hollywood make-up, original horrific and terrifying special effects and scenes.  Most of us screamed and laughed throughout the entire walk-through.

It’s no wonder the Oakland Press said, “ The moment goes from one of slight tension to that of complete chaos. Yet, the thrill and the fun of it all is worth making the heart work overtime.”

The question is – this Halloween, will I venture to this “masterpiece of horror” with the lights OFF?  Hmm…we’ll see….



Posted by on October 26, 2009 in Holidays


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H1N1 Vaccine — Yea or Nay?

Did that person just spray H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) all over my shirt? Every sneeze and cough is starting to be suspect these days. Will I get it next? Worse yet, will my family and friends get it? These concerns are on a lot of people’s minds lately. In my case, it’s no surprise, since I work at an elementary school. It’s an ideal place for picking up germs, in the best of times. Many children sneeze and cough all over the place and, lucky me, sometimes I’m in close proximi ty to such sprayings.

According to the World Health Organization, 340,000 people have gotten the H1N1 Influenza and 4,100 people have died from it, worldwide. That’s nothing to sneeze at.  (Couldn’t help the pun).   Kidding aside, all of this mswine akes many people consider taking the H1N1 vaccine. Just this past week, the first doses arrived in Michigan. Health care workers will be vaccinated first and eventually, the vaccine should be available to everyone.

Is the vaccine safe? There is an overwhelming amount of information about the H1N1 vaccine on the internet and I’m still taking it all in. At this point, I am leaning toward taking it. However, before I make a final decision, I’d love to hear from others who’ve decided.

Will you or your family take the vaccine?  What was your deciding factor?   Thanks in advance.

~~ Maggie


Posted by on October 13, 2009 in Illness


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