We are proud to present our latest picture book, Blazing a Trail: The Story of Minna Anthony Common, written by Becky Ferrigno and illustrated by Jennifer M. Varn. 

This is a narrative non-fiction picture book that recognizes a North Country, New York woman whose vast contributions to nature education and botany have been virtually unexplored. From the very beginning, Minna Anthony Common was different from her peers. Her mother died within months of her birth, and her father, overwhelmed by grief, abandoned her, never to be seen again. Raised by her grandmother, she was denied the opportunity to benefit from a full tuition scholarship to college and the ability to pursue her dreams. Her road to adulthood was an uphill battle. This is a story about perseverance despite all odds. It is a story about how a woman living in upstate New York in the early 1900’s became a respected botanist, a New York Times author, a nature education advocate and a blazer of a nature trail. It’s a testament to the fact that determination, focus and a strong sense of self can lead to success even during the most dire times. Minna’s work as a botanist and an author influenced the course of nature education in the public schools and the human footprint in Thousand Island Park. Today, Minna Anthony Common Nature Center in Wellesley Island State Park stands as her legacy and a reminder of her tireless work ethic and love of the natural environment.