2022 Minnesota Book Awards Winners

2022 Annual Minnesota Book Awards Winners Announced

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, April 27, 2022The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has announced the winners of the 2022 Minnesota Book Awards, presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota. In addition to winners in nine categories, The Friends presented the Book Artist, Hognander Minnesota History, and Kay Sexton awards to previously announced honorees.

The Ceremony was held at the Ordway Tuesday evening, April 26, emceed by T. Mychael Rambo. The winners of the 2022 Minnesota Book Awards are: 

Award for Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books For Africa:
How to Apologize by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (Candlewick Press*)

Everyone makes mistakes but apologizing can be hard. This handy guide can help listeners who are just learning to say those two simple words and older readers who need a refresher. Everyone can benefit from remembering how and why to say, “I’m sorry.”

LaRochelle is a former elementary school teacher who has been creating books for young people for over twenty-five years. He is the recipient of the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and the Minnesota Book Award. 

Wohnoutka has illustrated over 30 books for children, many of them with David LaRochelle, and is a Minnesota Book Award-winner. He has a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and lives in Minneapolis.

Award for General Nonfiction, sponsored by The Duchess Harris Collection:
The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic by Jillian Peterson and James Densley (Abrams Books)

Using data from the writers’ groundbreaking research on mass shooters, including first-person accounts from the perpetrators themselves, The Violence Project charts new pathways to prevention and innovative ways to stop the social contagion of violence. 

Peterson, PhD, has led large-scale research studies on mental illness and crime, school-shooting prevention, and mass violence. She is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University and the faculty director of the Center for Justice and Law. 

Densley, PhD, is a professor of criminal justice and first University Scholar at Metropolitan State University. He has established himself as one of the world’s leading experts on street gangs and youth violence, including cyber violence.

Award for Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:
Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez (Forever/Hachette Book Group)

When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn’t expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. But after the sudden custody of her baby niece, the last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door. Now she finds the only thing worse than falling for him is finding a little hope for a future she may never see.

Jimenez is a Food Network winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist. She founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen in 2007, and the bakery has gone on to win numerous Food Network competitions.  

Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Bradshaw Celebration of Life Centers:
Watershed: Attending to Body and Earth in Distress by Ranae Lenor Hanson (University of Minnesota Press*)

Watershed follows the streams and tributaries that connect us to our world and to each other, as revealed in the life stories of Minnesotans driven from their homelands by climate disruption. With gentle insight, compassion, and a broad worldview, Hanson encourages us to find our way, to discover how the health of our bodies and the health of the world are inextricably linked.

Hanson is a lifelong educator. She collaborates with Minnesota 350 and Transition US and other organizations to develop effective responses to the trauma of our changing climate. 

Award for Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:
Long Lost by Jacqueline West (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)

When Fiona’s family moves to a new town, nobody seems to notice Fiona’s unhappiness. After she finds a gripping mystery novel at her local library, Fiona begins to notice strange similarities that blur the lines between the novel and her new town. With a little help from a few locals, Fiona will learn that both help and danger come from unexpected places.

West is the author of the New York Times-bestselling middle grade series The Books of Elsewhere, the Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book The Collectors, and several other novels for young readers and teens.

Emilie Buchwald Award for Minnesota Nonfiction, sponsored by Bookmobile:
Confluence: A History of Fort Snelling by Hampton Smith (Minnesota Historical Society Press*)

Historian Hampton Smith delves into Fort Snelling’s long and complicated story: its construction as an improbably enormous structure, the daily lives of its inhabitants, its role as a military outpost, its participation in wresting the land from the Dakota, its evolution as two cities grew up around it, and its roles in two world wars – up to the reinterpretation of the fort as Minnesotans mark its 200th anniversary.

Smith, a former reference librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society, is the editor of Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie.

Award for Novel & Short Story:
The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson (Milkweed Editions*)

A widow and mother, Rosalie Iron Wing has spent two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past and what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron – women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss.

Wilson (Dakota) is the author of several books, including the Minnesota Book Award-winning Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past. Winner of a 50 Over 50 Award from Pollen/Midwest, Wilson is also the executive director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.

Award for Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
Sho by Douglas Kearney (Wave Books)

Navigating the complex penetrability of language, these poems are sonic in their espousal of Black vernacular strategies, while examining histories and current events through the lyric, brand new dances, and other performances. Sho is a work of literary precision, wordplay, farce, and critical irony. Kearney has concocted poems that destabilize the spectacle, leaving looky-loos with an important uncertainty about the intersection between violence and entertainment.

Kearney is the author of seven poetry collections. He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry. He teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota. 

Award for Young Adult Literature, sponsored by Expedition Credit Union:
The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller (AW Teen/Albert Whitman)

It’s the night of senior prom, and eighteen-year-old Julia has made a pact with her friends. (Yes, that kind of pact.) They have secured a secluded cabin in the woods, one night without parental supervision, and plenty of condoms. Alternating between each character’s perspective and their group chat as the pact unravels following the dance, the novel charts a group of friends navigating the tenuous transition into adulthood and embracing the uncertainty of life after high school.

Miller is a teacher, editor, and writer of books for children and young adults. She studied Religion and Gender Studies at Carleton College before receiving a Masters in Creative Writing from Hamline University. 

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher.

Special Awards Presented at the Ceremony
Book Artist Award, sponsored by Lerner Publishing and presented with MCBA – Cathy Ryan, Chronicle
Cathy Ryan is a book artist and printmaker based in Minneapolis. She was awarded a 2011/2012 Jerome Book Arts Fellowship, and her work is included in the 2012 Quarry publication 1000 Artist Books

Hognander Minnesota History Award, sponsored by the Hognander Family Foundation – David Hugill, Settler Colonial City: Racism and Inequity in Postwar Minneapolis (University of Minnesota Press*)

David Hugill is assistant professor of geography and environmental studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He studies urban geography, colonial urbanism, and inner-city neighborhood change. He is interested in understanding how and why inequitable social relations persist in North American cities.

Kay Sexton Award, sponsored by Robert and Carolyn Wollan – Fiona McCrae
Fiona McCrae is the publisher and director of Graywolf Press. McCrae received the Golden Colophon Award for leadership from the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses in 2014, and in 2017 she and poetry editor Jeff Shotts jointly received the Editor’s Award from Poets & Writers.

More information can be found at www.thefriends.org/winners.

Books written by a Minnesotan and first published in 2021 were eligible for the 34th annual Minnesota Book Awards. A total of 266 books were submitted for awards this year, and 36 books were selected as finalists. The winners were chosen by panels of judges from around the state. Submissions for next year’s awards will open in August 2022. For more information on the Book Awards process, and a list of finalists and winners since 1988, visit www.thefriends.org/mnba.  

The Star Tribune is our media sponsor and Saint Paul Neighborhood Network is our outreach partner. Grant support was provided by the City of Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR program.

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.