ABCs the UP way

MARQUETTE- When it comes to alphabet books for kids, almost every state has one, including Michigan. Now the Upper Peninsula has its own ABC book where P obviously stands for Pasty.

Emily L. E. Richards of Negaunee originally drew up and wrote “The UP ABCs” book for her daughter, Piper, 3, because she couldn’t find one anywhere that was already published. She said when her daughter was born, she was given Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota ABC books, but she didn’t like them.

“The books were bad. It seemed like the people who wrote the books had never even been to the states,” Richards recalled. “So I looked and looked for an ABC book about the U.P. and when I couldn’t find one, I made one for my daughter.”

Richards drew pictures on computer paper with crayons and found something U.P.-related for every letter of the alphabet. She then put the pages in protectors and a binder so she could read it to her daughter like a book, she said.

“My favorite letter in the book is ‘B is for blueberries’ because blueberries are something that can be found all over the U.P.,” Richards said. “It was also the first drawing blueberry I did.”

When coming up with something U.P.-related for every letter in the alphabet, Richards said she did have some challenging letters. Her most challenging were J, Q and X. For J, Richards chose Jig It Ice Fishing Extravaganza, Q is for Quinnesec and X is for Les Cheneaux Islands.

“I chose Les Cheneaux because it ended with an X and I hose Quinnesec because it was the only thing I could find that had a Q, even though I was trying not to pick cities,” she said.

Richards started the book when her daughter was a baby and finished when she was one year old. She said she had no plan to publish it when she was putting it together it two years ago, but her father convinced her to do so.

“It’s exciting and feels good to finally see it published,” Richards said. “I think grown-ups and kids will love it.”

The “U.P. ABCs” book is for sale for $9 and can be bought in person from Richards by contacting her at or online at, with a $3 shipping fee.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is