Kathy-jo Wargin


Kathy-jo Wargin

Kathy-jo Wargin is the author of  more than 50 books for children and adults including the children's classic The Legend of Sleeping Bear, and award-winning titles such as Win One for the Gipper, The Voyageur's Paddle, The Legend of the Loon and many more.




Upcoming! Gully of the Great Lakes There's always something new in the works, and we love to share good news with you. Gully of the Great Lakes is a new series of early readers that...read more >

More News

Recently Released! S is for Sleeping Bear Dunes Our national parks are a treasure for all, and one of the most spectacular is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Explore the shore from A to Z! read more >

Moose on the Loose in a Storywalk Near You! The Capital Area District Libraries of Lansing, Michigan recently selected Moose on the Loose for their first ever StoryWalk in Haslett's Orlando Park. Learn more about Moose on the Loose!

More for Teachers and Educators Visit our Educator Resource Page for downloadable teaching guides. They're free and easy to share, and we're always adding new items. visit >

Skype in School I'm thrilled to offer more ways to connect with young writers in the classroom. Learn more about my Skype in School visits here Skype Visits >


Social Media

Now Available!


Buy Autographed Copies

You've asked and we're happy to respond! Now you can order your favorite books right here and have them personally autographed by Kathy-jo Wargin.

Girl in the Wilderness

Just a girl in the wilderness! We have a brand new blog where I'll be sharing stories about the writing life, tips,  strategies, and more. We hope you'll join us! 


Save the Date! Holiday Event with Hennepin County Library System on Dec. 10, 2016 at the Hopkins, MN branch. Starts at 1pm, stay tuned for details!


Kathy-jo Wargin offers writing workshops for adults in beautiful Duluth, Minnesota.  Sign up here if you'd like to learn more about Writing the Children's Picture Book.


From Beloved Classics to Modern Tales of Adventure.


The stories of Kathy-jo Wargin have enriched, enlightened and educated readers for years.  

From beloved classics such as The Legend of Sleeping Bear and The Edmund Fitzgerald, Song of the Bell, to new silly rhyming stories such as Moose on the Loose and Scare A Bear, her books have brought a sense of place, history, and the nature of Great Lakes wilderness into homes, schools, and libraries everywhere. Here's a peek at a few! 





Gully of the Great Lakes

He's smart. He's funny. He's one little bird with a whole lot of pluck.

In a series of early readers, Gully makes his way throughout the Great Lakes, making friends and finding himself in plenty of mishaps along the way. 

As the newest Education and Goodwill Ambassador to the Great Lakes USA & Canada,  Gully will soon be landing at a port near you!


Gully of the Great Lakes!

Watch for the newest series from author Kathy-jo Wargin, coming soon!



Gully's Adventures are Early Readers for children. With stories set within a series of books, Gully will entertain, educate, and enlighten young readers. Delivered through our unique digital platform, the adventures of Gully will be available wherever you are, whenever you choose. 

Kids, Parents, Teachers.

The books and supporting materials are meant to be fun for all! Kids, parents, caregivers, and educators will find value in Gully's message, as well as his character. He is a Goodwill Ambassador for all in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada!

Education Suite.

Gully's adventures not only entertain, but also teach all of us about the important asset we have in our Great Lakes region. Our goal is to provide hope, optimism, and confidence in the future of the Great Lakes.

Gully has his own website, too! We hope you'll visit soon. 



The question I hear most often is... 

What have you been up to the last few years?


For many years I was busy writing books and traveling to schools, conferences, and book signings while continuing to work on creative projects throughout the Great Lakes. It was a busy, breakneck pace and I enjoyed every moment, and met many wonderful people. But then, as some have mentioned to me, it seems as if I disappeared from that scene completely.


I've been asked if I've stopped writing, if I've stopped visiting schools, and if I'll ever do any more books...


Let me answers those questions by telling you about the publishing endeavors I've been involved with the last several years and what we've been doing with our time.

Spoiler alert: We've been busier than ever before!


We've been working on Gully of the Great Lakes and the Fresh Coast Project and Fresh Coast Film Collection.

Gully of the Great Lakes began in the early 2000's, coinciding with my husband, photographer Ed Wargin's Fresh Coast Project and Fresh Coast Film Collection.  Fresh Coast has been a large undertaking since it began, decades ago.  Though it's taken much time, energy, and dedication from our entire family especially these last few years, it's been worth every Great Lakes mile traveled, every shoreline hiked, every sunrise, and every individual piece of film created and archived.

During this time, we also began chasing a little herring gull around the Great Lakes. His name is Gully. There's no better ambassador for teaching children about the Great Lakes than Gully, a little bird with a lot of pluck. With directives in tact, we've been working on stories, education components, and new digital platforms so that we can help Gully share his Great Lakes story. 


We established a successful publishing company for Independent Authors. 

As the digital age approached, writers were given access to publishing tools and assets that were historically only accessible to publishing houses. Trying to evolve along with the publishing industry during this time of tumult and change, (with many ups and downs!), I invested my energies into building a small publishing house to empower independent authors. It is called Book Bridge Press, and in 2011 I sold the company. I'm happy to say that it's still a successful, thriving publishing brand that fulfills the mission of empowering authors yet today.


We created and launched a digital magazine called NORTH. 

My husband Ed and I created and launched a digital magazine titled NORTH, Minnesota's Up North Magazine. We were thrilled with it's reception, and enjoyed the process. However, after a short time, an opportunity came our way which allowed the title to be absorbed into another media brand and we thought it was the perfect chance to do so. We are still quite fond of North and it's essence, but most of all, we're proud of all we learned during this experience.


I've been writing the Orchard Bay Novels and more.

I will always write for children. But it's good for writers to grow their skills by taking on new challenges. I've been working on a new series of novels called The Orchard Bay Series, which takes place in the fictional Door County, Wisconsin village of Orchard Bay. I won't say much about it here, but watch for it's own website soon. 


We haven't stayed still.

During these years, with all this going on, we also moved from Michigan to Minnetonka, Minnesota, then onward to Duluth, Minnesota. We love the Great Lakes, and every bit of work we do will continue to be dedicated to them. We just wish we could live in all of the Great Lakes states - if only for a spell. 


(author + entrepreneur)

The Art of the Authorpreneur

Good for business. Great for classrooms.

Today, more than ever before, authors need to think like entrepreneurs. The tools are available. The technology,  services, and creative economy are settling into place. Many authors who have been well-published by traditional publishing houses are now investing into "hybrid" career approaches, which means they may send some manuscripts to traditional houses, and choose to independently publish other manuscripts. Unlike decades prior, it is becoming more acceptable for authors to do so - as it should be. 

I believe this is good for everyone. I believe that authors who participate in the publishing process  become better writers and professional assets to the publishers they work with, while traditional publishers benefit by learning from this new talent base of  "authorpreneurs."

This is important for students and teachers too. It's about putting writing into a "Maker Space" mindset and environment.

Young writers should understand the ways through which their stories can now be delivered to readers. They should see and feel the opportunities of economy that exist for them in this new marketplace. They should have the chance to take an idea and "make" something tangible with it. It's exciting to see young students connect their heartfelt creative ambitions with a pipeline of commodities and opportunities. 

I've spent the last decade marching through these particular trenches as the digital industry heaved changes upon the publishing marketplace. I work with traditional publishers. I work with my own brands. Some endeavors have gone amazingly well, some have not. But through these experiences, I've gained  knowledge to share with young writers as well as educators who may be looking for new ways to energize writing and publishing programs for their students. Please email me if you'd like to learn more.