The Classic “My Book About The State of Iowa”

As part of my job at the convention and visitors bureau, I have to know as much as I can about our town, our county and our state. Tourism is such a great industry to be part of because I get the chance to showcase our city every single day. So when I came across this vintage, handmade book about the state of Iowa, it was like finding a gold mine. (Yes, that’s my name on the front. I was a writer even then.)

My second smile came from seeing my book-making technique. It has three thin strips of construction paper stapled to both covers like a strap to keep everything contained. I’m not sure if that was my flash of brilliance, or if that was what the teacher suggested. Either way, pretty ingenious.

For the record, my knowledge of Iowa and farm facts is pretty ok. At least that’s what my test says at the top of the page.

I have absolutely no idea when I made this in school, though judging by my handwriting, it could have been any time. Alas, my penmanship is still not the best, but at least it’s legible. If you zoom in on the pictures, you’ll see that I always add a little something fun to my stories. In this case, the left page explains that in the olden days, straw was used for making beds, and it might be in yours today! And I learned how to draw trees at some point, so this is definitely a pin oak. You can recognize it, right? Hmmm…

At whatever age this was, I was already addicted to craft stores, so that became half the reasons you should visit Iowa - we have craft stores! Plus, we have birds called goldfinches that look very much like rubber duckies in toupees. Trust me.

Did you know that Iowa was the birthplace of many famous people? President Herbert Hoover, John Wayne and Buffalo Bill Cody were all from Iowa, and though it’s not included in this book, James T. Kirk will be born in Riverside, Iowa, about 200 years from now. Fun!

I also love that this book has coloring pages of some great tourist attractions. I’ve seen the Tulip Toren Monument several times, and most people are familiar with the Little Brown Church in the Vale, which the hymn “The Church in the Wildwood” is based on. These are places I direct people to when they’re traveling through Iowa now, so that makes them even more special.

And now, drumroll please, the very best pages in the entire book. These three pigs are smiling because they live on the Sterler farm, the highest point in Iowa. Sibley, Iowa, is where that little dot on the map is, right where his tail would be if Iowa was a pig. Please note that I colored one pig pink and one pig orange, then got tired of coloring and put some spots on the third pig. That’s how my brain work, I suppose. What are your favorite facts about your state?


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