Two New Children’s Books Explore Milwaukee This Holiday Season

Part of the fun of being a parent is introducing your kids to the world. And now there are two new books that help you do so in Milwaukee.

“Parenting is hard; let’s try to make it more fun,” says Calie Herbst. This local mom speaks the truth!

Part of the fun of being a parent is introducing your kids to the world. And now there is a book that helps you do so: Exploring Milwaukee with Kids is a field guide for keeping kids entertained in and around the city.

Author and founder of the blog, Calie Herbst has done a comprehensive job of cataloging the different activities, events and happenings all year round. Herbst wanted a hands-on copy of her blog for her own use and knew other parents would too. The colorful and cheery book, five years in the making, is easy to follow, offering tips on the best places to go for family-friendly adventures.

Exploring Milwaukee with Kids. Courtesy of

As a mother of three, Herbst organized the content in a way that would make planning for kids of different ages easier. Activities and events are also catalogued by season.

“We’re so lucky to have four distinct seasons. I wanted to help people make the most out of it and enjoy the outdoors even when they think there isn’t anything to do,” says Herbst.

For summer, find suggestions on water parks and splash pads, berry picking orchards, free summer concerts and kid-friendly festivals. In fall, you’ll find the best apple orchards, pumpkin patches and unique Halloween events. Even in winter there is plenty to do in Milwaukee with sledding and tubing hills, toboggan runs, ice skating rinks and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

“This book is really great for people who love Milwaukee and want to be a part of the community, rather than feel like they can’t do anything because they have kids,” says Herbst.

Barbara Jossee with her book at Sendik’s.

Another new release from a local author that encourages people to get out and explore Milwaukee is the whimsical children’s book Lulu & Rocky in Milwaukee, written and illustrated by long-time friends and Wisconsin natives Barbara Joosse and Renée Graef, respectively. Cousins Lulu and Rocky explore Milwaukee landmarks, test out a Harley-Davidson and so much more.

Jossee and Graef came up with the idea for the book as a way to work together again and to showcase all the quirky, elegant, inviting and exciting things about their beloved hometown. They also wanted to remind locals why they love Milwaukee and encourage tourists to visit.

In choosing the venues that Lulu & Rocky visit, Jossee and Graef tried to include both experiences and sights. The historic Pfister Hotel takes a leading role in the book. Norman the Doorman represents the face of Milwaukee, giving the little fox cousins a safe and welcoming place to return at the end of the day.

“We wanted to list some things that were crowd favorites and some things that might be new to discover,” says Jossee. “But some things were personal favorites, like the fish fry at Lakefront Brewery.”

Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

The book is geared towards kids ages 1-8, but it’s really meant for everyone. The first run of the book sold out in two weeks, so be patient if you can’t get your hands on a copy right away!

“It gives Milwaukee residents pride of place, a ‘show-off’ book to send to friends and family, and remind themselves why they live here. But I also want tourists to be attracted to visit and move to this awesome city. I’m so genuinely proud of our city, and wanted everyone else to feel that,” says Jossee.

Lulu & Rocky in Milwaukee is the beginning of a series called “Our City Adventures” from Sleeping Bear Press. The next city Lulu & Rocky will visit is Detroit in 2019, then Nashville and Austin in 2020.



Jenna Kashou is a writer, storyteller and journalist specializing in lifestyle and culture feature writing for print and web. She is a frequent contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, MKE Lifestyle Magazine, The Business Journal and more. She was chosen as the fifth writer in residence at the historic Pfister Hotel where she wrote about and photographed guests and events. A Milwaukee native, Kashou has lived abroad and visited far-flung locales like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. She has always had an enormous sense of pride for her hometown and spreads this Milwaukee love everywhere she goes.