Children's Literature Corner

Catfish Cookies: Childhood Lessons of Perseverance, Determination and Believing in Oneself   click the following link to hear an excerpt from the book
Teacher shares Catfish Cookies in the classroom 

Barbara Higgins-Dover MS. Ed.  grew up in North Lawrence and has a strong family fishing history directly linked to the Kansas River. Currently working as a college professor and author, she spends a great deal of time developing books, articles, music, and other socio-environmental curriculum for young learners.

Catfish Cookies is the first in a series of such works. It is beautifully illustrated using original watercolor paintings. Among other things, the book includes a piece about making peanut butter cookies with catfish rennet. Readers will also find an underwater short story about a young blue cat, a pair of channel cat bullies, and a royal flathead.  

While Catfish Cookies is general enough to be any river in the Midwest, the Kansas (Kaw) River below Bowersock Dam sets the scene. This area has a rich fishing history yet is also a place people often associate with river pollution.

From the Raven Bookstore: Catfish Cookies “relates little known local history about fishermen on the Kaw River and it's good for little ones who like to help make cookies and then, of course, eat them.”

From Oread Books: “This book is full of fascinating information about the natural and historical aspects of the river and is an accessible springboard for discussion of river pollution.”

Lawrence Journal World: “The book incorporates historical and geological aspects of the river and the dam, biological details of the fish used in the story and others native to the river.”

Catfish Cookies can be ordered for $7.50 per copy by sending an email directly to the author at

The author is also available for readings, signings, and workshops using Catfish Cookies as a methodology for understanding local river fishing history, aquatic life in a natural habitat, and specific areas of the Kansas River (ages 5-8 years).

In addition, a new project is underway and involves the online publication of a river history information page that links directly with Catfish Cookies. The project focuses on the history of the Kansas River and the fishermen who used the river as a sustainable, natural resource in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  This project will be a pilot/preview for a final exhibit and will be made available on this site. Feel free to email if you have questions about this project.

YouTube Video

Teachers are finding the benefit of sharing Catfish Cookies with their students. It's a wonderful way to introduce young learners to issues of environmental concern and of protecting our natural resources. The book is full of underwater exploration, specifically located around Rock Island, north of Bowersock Power Plant and east of the dam in Lawrence, Kansas.