When the Minnesota Historical Society hired Dave Kenney to write a middle school textbook on the state's history and social studies, he had just moved back to Minnesota and was struggling to make it as a freelance writer.
"I heard that the Minnesota Historical Society wanted to put out a revision to their Minnesota History textbook," Kenney told MinnPost. "I showed up at the information meeting, and there were about 40 desperate writers in a room in the basement. To be in the running for the project, they asked us to write, on spec, a full chapter of the book. I had no other work and was maybe more desperate than most, so I gave it a shot. I'd never written a book before and had never written about history. But I must have listened well to what they were asking for, and I ended up getting the job."
The book, "Northern Lights: The Stories of Minnesota's Past," won a Minnesota Book Award and a new edition will be released this fall that meets the state's sixth-grade social studies standards.
Kenney joins The Daily Circuit to discuss his approach to Minnesota history and how his book is being used in schools.
READ AN EXCERPT: Check out the book's chapter on the impact of slavery and the Civil War on Minnesota.