Wisconsin Historical Society Press publishes some great Badger State books for adults on everything from bowling alleys to bars, history to nature to sports and more. But, the Madison-based publisher also dishes up new titles each year in its great Badger Biographies series for young readers ages 7 and up.
The series has nearly two dozen titles, spotlighting Curly Lambeau, Frank Lloyd Wright, Bob La Follette, Les Paul and many others. What’s nice is that the books, which are illustrated, are invariably well-written and never talk down to young readers.
I’m especially excited by the two newest titles, which focus on Milwaukee legends.
"Father Groppi: Marching for Civil Rights" – written by Stuart Stotts, who also wrote books in the series on Lucius Fairchild and Lambeau – traces the story of one of the state’s most influential Italian Americans. Groppi was born to Tuscan emigrants in Bay View, and went on to become an outspoken supporter of Civil Rights.
In addition to explaining Groppi’s work in the fights for fair housing and desegregated schools, the book also looks at Milwaukee’s neighborhood’s, Groppi’s early life, the great migration from the south to the north and the national Civil Rights movement.
The publisher tapped Barbara Manger and Janine Smith for "Mary Nohl: A Lifetime in Art." The two also wrote a book for adults about Nohl a couple years ago.
Nohl is the late artist who made her unique home on Milwaukee’s North Shore; the Fox Point home has come to be called the witch’s house, though Nohl was no witch.
No, Nohl was a prolific creator of colorful, fanciful artworks. That work, along with her mystique helped define her as Milwaukee’s premier outsider artist. This biography explores her life and her work, adding a great section of color photographs of her work and a glossary of terms for young readers, too.
Both titles belong in any Milwaukee kid’s library.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.