Sunday, January 31, 2010

Minnesota Book Award Finalists Announced

I have had the honor of judging in the MN Book Award for the last three years.  Over the years, I met great librarians and book sellers, got to read at least four books of exceptional quality, and then attended the Gala Reception in April, with the secret of the winning book battering around like a caged bird in my chest just waiting for the gate to open.  Sadly, I am not a judge this year, but at least I still have a list of books to read that are of exceptional quality.

...And the Nominees are:
The Longest Night (Holiday House), Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ted Lewin

~ Red Sings from Treetops: a year in colors (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

~ Song of Middle C (Candlewick Press), Alison McGhee, illustrated by Scott Menchin

~ Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School (Clarion Books), Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Steven Salerno

General Nonfiction
Drink This: Wine Made Simple (Ballantine Books/The Random House Publishing Group), Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl

~ I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson (Minnesota Historical Society Press), Joy K. Lintelman

~ Journeywell: A Guide to Quality Aging (Beaver's Pond Press), Trish Herbert

~ Richard Parkes Bonington: The Complete Paintings (Yale University Press), Patrick Noon

Young People's Literature

Sky Always Hears tinyCrows & Cards (Houghton Mifflin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Joseph Helgerson

Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Catherine Thimmesh

The Magician's Elephant (Candlewick Press), Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka

~ the sky always hears me and the hills don't mind (Flux/Llewellyn Publications), Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Genre Fiction

Frag Box (Poisoned Pen Press), Richard A. Thompson

~ Jelly's Gold (Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press), David Housewright

~ Rough Country (Putnam's Sons/Penguin Group), John Sandford

~ The Silent Governess (Bethany House Publishers/Baker Publishing Group), Julie Klassen


cover image of Faith Run
Faith Run (The University of Arizona Press), Ray Gonzalez

I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman (University of Notre Dame Press), Jude Nutter

Skirmish (Graywolf Press), Dobby Gibson

unrest (Graywolf Press), Joanna Rawson

Memoir and Creative Nonfiction

~ The Bullhead Queen: A Year on Pioneer Lake (University of Minnesota Press), Sue Leaf

~ Going Blind: A Memoir (Excelsior Editions/State University of New York Press), Mara Faulkner, OSB

~ Holiday Inn (Borealis Books/Minnesota Historical Society Press), Kevin Kling

~ The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder's Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows (New World Library), Kent Nerbern

Novel and Short Story

coverThe Annunciations of Hank Meyerson, Mama's Boy and Scholar (Hooded Friar Press), Scott Muskin

~ The Book of Night Women (Riverhead Books/Penguin Group), Marlon James

~ A Travel Guide for Restless Hearts (Borealis Books/Minnesota Historical Society Press), N.M. Kelby

~ The Turtle Catcher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Nicole Helget


~ Honor Bright: A Century of Scouting in Northern Star Council (Northern Star Council, Boy Scouts of America), Dave Kenney

Jewel of Como: The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (Afton Historical Society Press), Leigh Roethke and Bonnie Blodgett

Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century: The Growth of an American City (Minnesota Historical Society Press), Iric Nathanson

Opening Goliath: Danger and Discovery in Caving (Borealis Books/Minnesota Historical Society Press), Cary J. Griffith

Minneapolis is tied for the most literate city in the US.  With all these readers, it's not surprising that we have wonderful writers coming out from this Land of 10,000 Lakes.  Getting nominated ain't easy. Congrats!!!


  1. Looks so good! How did you come to be a judge?

  2. And next year you shall be on this list, inshallah.

  3. Ah, Minneapolis may be tied for first place but St. Paul is also in fourth, so the Twin Cities win! ;-)

    @deepa You said it...

  4. Molly, thanks for reading. In November or October, the Friends will accept applications. I applied and was recommended by Jerod at the Loft when I was in the Mentor Program. I reapplied every year, except this one, as I suspected I'd be pretty busy this February, which is when the book reading starts in earnest.