Open a birchbark box of mystery in upcoming club event

“Cady and the Birchbark Box” is the focus of the Friday U.P. Notable Book Club event. The event will take place via Zoom. (Photo courtesy of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association)

MARQUETTE — In the mood for a mystery?

The U.P. Notable Book Club’s next online author event is with Ann Dallman, who wrote “Cady and the Birchbark Box,” the second installment in the Cady Whirlwind Thunder Youth Adult mystery series.

The Crystal Falls Community District Library, in partnership with the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association, has scheduled author events with winners of the U.P. Notable Book List. The 30th event with Dallman is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT Friday on Zoom. Contact Evelyn Gathu in advance at egathu@crystalfallslibrary.org or 906-875-3344.

As with all U.P. Notable Book Club events, the UPPAA recommends participants borrow a copy of the book from a local library or purchase it from local bookseller before the event to fully enjoy the experience.

According to the UPPAA, the acclaim for Dallman’s series has grown as the books are released, garnering many state and regional awards along the way. The stories take place in a fictional U.P. town, loosely based on the Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Reservation west of Escanaba where the 13-year-old Cady and her family are newly transplanted from Minnesota.


Dallman, the UPPAA said in a news release, has lifelong roots in the U.P. She started out as a newspaper reporter/photographer, and later taught middle and high school English/journalism/reading, with 15 of those years spent on the Hannahville Indian Reservation in Wilson.

Dallman holds an undergraduate degree in journalism education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree from Viterbo University, the UPPAA said. A freelance writer, she is now writing her third Cady novel. Among her accomplishments was serving as writer-in-residence at Wild Acres Retreat Center in North Carolina and being awarded scholarships to study writing at the Split Rock Arts Institute at the University of Minnesota and at Highlights Foundations sessions in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

The UPPAA said her novel for the middle grades, “Cady and the Bear Necklace,” was named a a U.P. Notable Book and received many accolades: the Historical Society of Michigan State History Award, Midwest Book Award, New Mexico-Arizona Book Award and Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist recognition.

“Cady and the Birchbark Box” is a U.P. Notable Book as well, having received the Historical Society of Michigan State History Award. Published by Modern History Press of Ann Arbor, the book is available in Marquette at Snowbound Books and on the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and target.com websites.

Dallman provided a biography on her website at anndallman.com.

“One of my main achievements is producing and editing an anthology of my students’ writing, compiled over 10 years, on the Hannahville Indian Reservation where I taught high school English classes,” Dallman said. “There, I was immersed in the reservation community for 15 years, was invited to and attended ceremonies and learned the importance of storytelling, beadwork and honoring all life. I participated in native language classes for several years out of respect for my great-grandmother. I also served as the school’s oversight person for language instruction.”

In the U.P. Book Review, Sharon Brunner said “‘Cady and the Birchbark Box” depicts the sophistication of the Native American culture and the everyday life of a 13-year-old teenage girl.

“Cady’s character struggles with a move to another community, a crush on a young man and most importantly — a mystery behind a birchbark box,” Brunner wrote. “”Cady demonstrates an endearing respect and admiration for her grandmother while being frustrated with not getting the answers from her that she needs: Who was Abe and what was his connection to Lake Superior’s shipwreck past?”

Brunner said realistic family relationships color Cady’s world with a caring father, absent mother, new stepmother and baby brother.

“Cady manages her responsibilities at home, as a soccer player and a high school student while doggedly searching for the answers to a riddled past dug up from the grounds surrounding a vacant home,” Brunner wrote. “A particular noisy blue jay makes its presence known and keeps her on task. Cady’s crush is only rarely seen in this installment. She must work at calming her famous temper while she faces a life filled with stress. Nevertheless, she is often reminded about her gift of solving mysteries.”

One reviewer on Amazon called the book “engaging and fun.”

“‘Cady and the Birchbark Box’ is an entertaining and enlightening story about a girl who must solve a community mystery involving an old box made from birchbark,” the reviewer wrote. “Clue after clue presents itself to her. What is the significance of the quill pattern on the box as well as other places like her grandmother’s apron? How is a shipwreck important?

“As Cady explores these mysteries, she is accompanied by a friendly blue jay who seems to encourage her and guide her quest for answers. This is a lovely book that provides a window into Native American culture. Not only that, it’s also a fun read that delights from start to finish.”

To learn more about the author, visit anndallman.com.

More information about the U.P. Notable Book list, U.P. Book Review and UPPAA can be found at www.UPNotable.com.

Established in 1998 to support authors and publishers who live in or write about the U.P., the UPPAA is a Michigan nonprofit with more than 100 members, many of whose books are featured on the organization’s website at www.uppaa.org. UPPAA welcomes membership and participation from anyone with a U.P. connection who is interested in writing.


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