2022 Minnesota Book Awards

2022 Annual Minnesota Book Awards Finalists Announced 

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, January 31, 2022The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announced today finalists in all nine categories for the 2022 Minnesota Book Awards, presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota. Chosen on Saturday, January 29, 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: 

  • Hello, Earth! Poems to Our Planet by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers/Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) 
  • Henry at Home by Megan Maynor; illustrated by Alea Marley (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 
  • How to Apologize by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (Candlewick Press) 
  • Ten Beautiful Things by Molly Beth Griffin; illustrated by Maribel Lechuga (Charlesbridge Publishing) 

General Nonfiction: 

  • Booth Girls: Pregnancy, Adoption, and the Secrets We Kept by Kim Heikkila (Minnesota Historical Society Press*) 
  • Find a Trail or Blaze One: A Biography of Dr. Reatha Clark King by Kate Leibfried (Beaver’s Pond Press*) 
  • Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters” by Kim Todd (Harper/HarperCollins) 
  • The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic by Jillian Peterson and James Densley (Abrams Books) 

Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:  

  • Insurrection by Tom Combs (Evoke Publishing*) 
  • Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez (Forever/Hachette Book Group) 
  • Lightning Strike: A Novel by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster) 
  • The Stolen Hours by Allen Eskens (Mulholland Books/Hachette Book Group) 

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction: 

  • Are You Borg Now? by Said Shaiye (Really Serious Literature) 
  • Self, Divided by John Medeiros (Howling Bird Press*) 
  • Sound Like Trapped Thunder by Jessica Lind Peterson (Seneca Review Books/Hobart and William Smith Colleges Press) 
  • Watershed: Attending to Body and Earth in Distress by Ranae Lenor Hanson (University of Minnesota Press*) 

Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota: 

  • Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year by Nina Hamza (Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins) 
  • Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend by Dawn Quigley; illustrated by Tara Audibert (Heartdrum/HarperCollins) 
  • Long Lost by Jacqueline West (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins) 
  • The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu (Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins) 

Emilie Buchwald Award for Minnesota Nonfiction, sponsored by Bookmobile: 

  • Confluence: A History of Fort Snelling by Hampton Smith (Minnesota Historical Society Press*) 
  • From the Gridiron to the Battlefield: Minnesota’s March to a College Football Title and into World War II by Danny Spewak (Rowman & Littlefield) 
  • Kura: Prophetic Messenger by Richard Bresnahan (Kura Book Publishing, LLC*) 
  • Opioid Reckoning: Love, Loss, and Redemption in the Rehab State by Amy C. Sullivan (University of Minnesota Press*) 

Novel & Short Story: 

  • After Francesco by Brian Malloy (John Scognamiglio Books/Kensington Publishing) 
  • Brood by Jackie Polzin (Doubleday/Penguin Random House) 
  • Carnival Lights by Chris Stark (Modern History Press) 
  • The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson (Milkweed Editions*) 


  • Dead Reckoning by Jude Nutter (Salmon Poetry) 
  • Homes by Moheb Soliman (Coffee House Press*) 
  • Sho by Douglas Kearney (Wave Books) 
  • Worldly Things by Michael Kleber-Diggs (Milkweed Editions*) 

Young Adult Literature, sponsored by Expedition Credit Union: 

  • The Amalgam by Michel Prince (Fire and Ice/Melange Books, LLC*) 
  • In My Heart: The Adoption Story Project by Alan Berks & Leah Cooper; illustrated by Becca Hart (Wonderlust Productions*) 
  • The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller (AW Teen/Albert Whitman) 
  • The Spy Who Raised Me by Ted Anderson; illustrated by Gianna Meola (Graphic Universe/Lerner Publishing Group*) 

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher. 

Award winners will be announced at the 2022 Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 26 at Ordway Center for Performing Arts. The Book Artist Award, sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group, the Hognander Minnesota History Award, supported by the Hognander Family Foundation, and the Kay Sexton Award, sponsored by Robert and Carolyn Wollan, will also be presented that evening. Tickets are $22 and will be available at www.thefriends.org/mnba beginning Monday, January 31. The Preface begins at 7:00 p.m., followed by the Awards Ceremony at 8:00 p.m. There will be an option to access the livestream of the Ceremony for free online. 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.   

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:  
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