2020 Annual Minnesota Book Awards Finalists Announced

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, January 25, 2020The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announced today finalists in all nine categories for the 2020 Minnesota Book Awards, presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota. Chosen on Saturday, January 25, by 27 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:

  • A to Zåäö: Playing with History at the American Swedish Institute by Nate Christopherson and Tara Sweeney (University of Minnesota Press*)
  • Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House)
  • A Map Into the World by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Seo Kim (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group*)
  • My Footprints by Bao Phi, illustrated by Basia Tran (Capstone Editions/Capstone*)

General Nonfiction:

  • America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee (Basic Books)
  • Consider the Platypus: Evolution Through Biology’s Most Baffling Beasts by Maggie Ryan Sandford, illustrations by Rodica Prato (Black Dog & Leventhal)
  • Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions by Nancy Atkinson (Page Street Publishing Company)
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House)

Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:

  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House)
  • The Body Keeper by Anne Frasier (Thomas & Mercer/Amazon Publishing)
  • Ice Cold Heart by P.J. Tracy (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown, and Company)

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Bradshaw Celebration of Life Centers:

  • All the Wild Hungers by Karen Babine (Milkweed Editions*)
  • Magical Realism for Non-Believers: A Memoir of Finding Family by Anika Fajardo (University of Minnesota Press*)
  • The Memory House by Raki Kopernik (The Muriel Press)
  • The Twenty-Ninth Day: Surviving a Grizzly Attack in the Canadian Tundra by Alex Messenger (Blackstone Publishing)

Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:

  • The Line Tender by Kate Allen (Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin Random House)
  • The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu (Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly by Rebecca K. S. Ansari (Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins Publishers)
  • A Tear in the Ocean by H.M. Bouwman, illustrations by Yuko Shimizu (G. P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House)

Minnesota Nonfiction:

  • Closing Time: Saloons, Taverns, Dives, and Watering Holes of the Twin Cities by Bill Lindeke and Andy Sturdevant (Minnesota Historical Society Press*)
  • Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State by Christopher P. Lehman (Minnesota Historical Society Press*)
  • Tulips, Chocolate & Silk: Celebrating 65 Years of the James Ford Bell Library by Marguerite Ragnow and Natasha D’Schommer (James Ford Bell Library*)
  • Walking the Old Road: A People’s History of Chippewa City and the Grand Marais Anishinaabe by Staci Lola Drouillard (University of Minnesota Press*)

Novel & Short Story, sponsored by College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University:

  • Evidence of V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, and Fictions by Sheila O’Conner (Rose Metal Press)
  • Stray by Nancy J. Hedin (NineStar Press)
  • Suicide Woods by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press*)
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)

 Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:

  • Bodega by Su Hwang (Milkweed Editions*)
  • A Bony Framework for the Tangible Universe by D. Allen (The Operating System)
  • Mitochondrial Night by Ed Bok Lee (Coffee House Press*)
  • Safe Houses I Have Known by Steve Healey (Coffee House Press*)

Young Adult Literature, sponsored by United Educators Credit Union:

  • Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen/Macmillan Publishing Group)
  • Cracking the Bell by Geoff Herbach (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Last Things by Jacqueline West (Greenwillow/HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus (Dutton Books/Penguin Random House)

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher.

Award winners will be announced at the 2020 Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 28, at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts. The Preface Reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Awards Ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and will be available Monday, January 27 at noon at https://ordway.org/event/mn-book-awards/. The official hashtag for social media is #mnbookawards.

The Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library that connects readers and writers throughout the state with the stories of our neighbors. The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter with two rounds of judging. Winners are announced at the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony each spring. Woven throughout the season are events that promote the authors and connect the world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state. In recognition of this and its other statewide programs and services, the Library of Congress has recognized The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the state’s designated Center for the Book. For more information visit thefriends.org/mnba.  

The Star Tribune is our media sponsor. Outreach partners and supporting organizations include: Minnesota Center for Book Arts; the Ordway; and Twin Cities Public Television.

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:
Celebrating 75 years, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library acts as a catalyst for libraries to strengthen and inspire their communities. An independent, nonprofit organization established in 1945, The Friends invests in the Saint Paul Public Library through fundraising, advocacy, and programming; as a result, our Library is a nationally-recognized leader in serving its community. The Friends also serves libraries across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies, and promotes literacy, reading, and libraries statewide as the Library of Congress’s designated Minnesota Center for the Book. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.