27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Finalists Announced

Minnesota Book AwardsThe Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and 3M Library Systems are pleased to announce the finalists in all eight categories for the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards. Chosen on Saturday, January 31, by 24 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community – the finalists for each category are:

Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books For Africa:

  • It’s an Orange Aardvark by Michael Hall (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster by Mike Wohnoutka (Holiday House)
  • Water Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija (Millbrook Press/Lerner Publishing Group)
  • Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

General Nonfiction, sponsored by Minnesota AFL-CIO:

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life by Nancy Koester (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
  • My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation by Brenda J. Child (Minnesota Historical Society Press)
  • New Scenic Café: The Cookbook by Scott Graden with Arlene Anderson (New Scenic Café, Inc.)
  • Queer Clergy: A History of Gay and Lesbian Ministry in American Protestantism by R.W. Holmen (The Pilgrim Press)

Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:

  • Fallen Angel by Chuck Logan (Conquill Press)
  • The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (Seventh Street Books/Prometheus Books)
  • The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers)
  • Strongwood: A Crime Dossier by Larry Millett (University of Minnesota Press)

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual:

  • Love Imagined: A Mixed Race Memoir by Sherry Quan Lee (Modern History Press/Loving Healing Press)
  • Northern Orchards: Places Near the Dead by James Silas Rogers (North Star Press of St. Cloud)
  • Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain by James P. Lenfestey (Milkweed Editions)
  • Tailings: A Memoir by Kaethe Schwehn (Cascade Books/Wipf and Stock Publishers)

Minnesota, Sponsored by St. Mary’s University of Minnesota:

  • Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota by John J. Moriarty and Carol D. Hall (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement by Lori Sturdevant (Minnesota Historical Society Press)
  • Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook: A Guide to Selecting and Preparing the Best Local Produce with Seasonal Recipes from Local Chefs and Farmers by Tricia Cornell (Voyageur Press)
  • Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes by Larry Millett, photography by Matt Schmitt (Minnesota Historical Society Press)

Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Education Minnesota:

  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House)
  • In Reach by Pamela Carter Joern (University of Nebraska Press)
  • The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons by Heather A. Slomski (University of Iowa Press)
  • Stillwater by Nicole Helget (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:

  • Albedo by Kathleen Jesme (Ahsahta Press)
  • Dangerous Goods by Sean Hill (Milkweed Editions)
  • Soul Over Lightning by Ray Gonzalez (The University of Arizona Press)
  • This Way to the Sugar by Hieu Minh Nguyen (Write Bloody Publishing)

Young People’s Literature, sponsored by The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University:

  • Ambassador by William Alexander (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster)
  • Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen (Candlewick Press)
  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus (Amulet Books/Abrams)
  • The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)

Award winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 18, at the historic St. Paul Union Depot, 214 Fourth Street East. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are available here or by calling 651-222-3242.

Two special awards for contributions to Minnesota’s literary and artistic community will be given on April 18, as well. For their collaborative work, Harriet Bart, Philip Gallo, and Jill Jevne will receive the eighth annual Book Artist Award, sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group and presented with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA). The trio’s work comprises Bart’s conceptual designs, printing by Gallo, and fine bindings by Jevne.

The 2015 Kay Sexton Award, sponsored by Common Good Books, honors Mary François Rockcastle for her contributions to the literary community through the development of the nationally acclaimed Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University, teaching, and mentorship. The Award, named for Kay Sexton, a book buyer for many years at Dayton’s and B. Dalton Bookstores in the Twin Cities, is presented annually to an individual or organization in recognition of long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading and literary activity in Minnesota.

For additional information on the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards or the Gala, please visit www.thefriends.org or call 651-366-6497. For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Lynn Giovannelli at 651-366-6483 or lynn@thefriends.org. The Minnesota Book Awards, presented by 3M Library Systems, is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

Generous support for the Book Awards has been provided by the Huss Foundation; The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation; and The McKnight Foundation. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio; the Star Tribune; and Twin Cities Public Television. Outreach partners and supporting organizations include: the Council of Regional Public Library Systems Administrators; The Loft Literary Center; Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA); and Minnesota Center for Book Arts.


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