2018 Minnesota Book Award winners announced

2018 Minnesota Book Award honorees
2018 Minnesota Book Award honorees
Courtesy of publishers

2018 Minnesota Book Award winners

Children's Literature

"A Different Pond" by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui

Bao Phi's Caldecott Medal Honor Book, "A Different Pond," highlights the sacrifices a father has made to support his family in a new and foreign place.

Finalists: "Mighty Moby" by Ed Young, text by Barbara DaCosta; "Round" by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; "The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright" by K. L. Going, illustrated by Lauren Stringer

Middle Grade Literature

"The End of the Wild" by Nicole Helget

"The End of the Wild" tells the story of Fern, an 11-year-old girl carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. The only place where she can find peace is the grove of trees near her home. When a fracking company threatens to destroy the grove, Fern tries to find a way to stop it — even if she has to do it all herself.

Finalists: "A Crack in the Sea" by H. M. Bouwman; "Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd" by Mary Losure; "Rooting for Rafael Rosales" by Kurtis Scaletta

Young Adult Literature

"The Exo Project" by Andrew DeYoung

When Andrew DeYoung set out to write a teen romance, he made it a little difficult for his boy-meets-girl characters. In "The Exo Project," not only are they different life forms, but they live 100 light years apart on distant planets.

Finalists: "The Last Thing You Said" by Sara Biren; "Thief's Cunning" by Sarah Ahiers; "Things I'm Seeing Without You" by Peter Bognanni

Genre Fiction

"The End of Temperance Dare" by Wendy Webb

Wendy Webb brings the thrills with the story of a former tuberculosis sanatorium that's been turned into an artists' retreat. When a burned-out journalist takes a job as the retreat's organizer, she discovers dangerous forces still occupy the building.

Finalists: "The Dark Net" by Benjamin Percy; "Nothing Stays Buried" by P. J. Tracy; "Sulfur Springs" by William Kent Krueger

General Nonfiction

"The First and Only Book of Sack: 36 Years of Cartoons for the Star Tribune" by Steve Sack

Steve Sack has been drawing editorial cartoons since the Reagan administration. He's captured six different presidents — as well as countless other politicians — in all their caricatured glory: their noses, their ears, their hair... Sack's book looks back at 36 years of his drawings for the Star Tribune. The collection includes the work that won him the Pulitzer Prize for cartooning in 2013.

Finalists: "Alice in France: The World War I Letters of Alice M. O'Brien" by Nancy O'Brien Wagner; "Fortress America: How We Embraced Fear and Abandoned Democracy" by Elaine Tyler May; "Mountain Ranch" by Michael Crouser

Memoir and Creative Nonfiction

"Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year" by Linda LeGarde Grover

Linda LeGarde Grover said the spur for her collection of essays was the birth of her seventh grandchild. She wanted to write about the important Ojibwe connection between the generations, and with the land. The pieces originally appeared monthly in the Duluth Budgeteer newspaper. After a while, she found they could be neatly organized into Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

Finalists: "Give a Girl a Knife" by Amy Thielen; "It Won't Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching" by Tom Rademacher; "Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate" by Carolyn Porter

Minnesota Nonfiction

"Got to Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound" by Andrea Swensson

Host of The Current's Local Show, Andrea Swensson tells the under-reported story of the Twin Cities funk, soul and R&B music scene of the 1960s and 70s. The name of the book, "Got to Be Something Here," is inspired by a song from the 1979 album by the Lewis Connection featuring a very young Prince on backing vocals and guitar.

Finalists: "A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag" by Marcia G. Anderson; "Miles Lord: The Maverick Judge Who Brought Corporate America to Justice" by Roberta Walburn; "Sights, Sounds, Soul: The Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis" by Davu Seru, photography by Charles Chamblis


"Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media" by Heid E. Erdrich

From Michigan State University Press:

Heid E. Erdrich writes from the present into the future where human anxiety lives. Many of her poems engage ekphrasis around the visual work of contemporary artists who, like Erdrich, are Anishinaabe. Poems in this collection also curate unmountable exhibits in not-yet-existent museums devoted to the ephemera of communication and technology.

Finalists: "Autopsy" by Donte Collins; "Solve for Desire" by Caitlin Bailey; "Thousand Star Hotel" by Bao Phi

Novel and Short Story

"What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky" by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah's collection of short stories weave together memory, war and Arimah's own brand of science fiction. The stories range from deviously simple to grand and imaginative. Arimah brings to life families separated by time, oceans and the things they never talk about.

Finalists: "Future Home of the Living God" by Louise Erdrich; "Stories for a Lost Child" by Carter Meland; "The Through" by A. Rafael Johnson

In addition to the nine genre-specific categories, the Minnesota Book Awards also honored Erica Spitzer Rasmussen with the Book Artist Award for her project "The Love Affair." Kathryn Haddad was honored with the Kay Sexton Award, recognizing her work in founding Mizna, the only literary journal of Arab-American literature in the United States.

The Minnesota Book Awards is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

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