The 2022 Minnesota Book Award winners were announced on April 26. We Minnesotans like books with Minnesota connections, so it’s always fun to see what wins, as well as which books are finalists.
This year’s award in the category of novel and short story went to Diane Wilson for her novel “The Seed Keeper.” The story follows four generations of a Dakota family and their struggle to preserve their way of life. Rosalie Iron Wing loses her father, a science teacher who taught her about plants and Dakota traditions, and she is sent to a foster home in Mankato. After decades of farming with her white husband, Rosalie returns to her childhood home and traditions, learning about the family members who came before her. Wilson is Dakota herself; this is her second Minnesota Book Award. This book can be requested from other libraries in the Pioneerland Library System or checked out as an e-book.
Abby Jimenez won the genre fiction award for “Life’s Too Short,” a romantic comedy. Vanessa Price is a YouTube star traveling the world, choosing to seize each day and live with spontaneity because both her mother and sister died young from ALS. But when her step-sister drops off a baby and skips town, Vanessa is stuck at home with no experience taking care of a child. Luckily her handsome neighbor is great with babies and happy to help. The pair start to fall for each other despite being polar opposites, and Vanessa has to decide whether to let other people into her life and her heart. Besides being a popular author, Jimenez is the founder of Nadia Cakes, the fabulous cupcake shops in Maple Grove and Woodbury, Minnesota, and Palmdale, California. She has also been a Food Network contestant on multiple occasions. “Life’s Too Short” is available in the Litchfield Library collection.
The award for general nonfiction went to “The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic” by Jillian Peterson and James Densley. Peterson is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline, and she’s an expert on mental illness and crime, school-shooting prevention, and mass violence. Densley is a professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and an expert on street gangs, youth violence, and cyber violence. The two authors built the first comprehensive database of mass shooters in the US and conducted one of the largest studies on these individuals and their lives. In this book, they share 34 specific data-driven solutions that individuals, communities, and the nation can take to prevent mass shootings. This book is available from Grove City and Litchfield libraries.
Hampton Smith won the award for Minnesota nonfiction for his book “Confluence: A History of Fort Snelling.” This comprehensive and beautifully illustrated book marks the 200th anniversary of the construction of the fort and explores its complicated history. Smith is a former reference librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society Library. This book is available at the Litchfield Library.
The award for memoir and creative nonfiction was given to Ranae Lenor Hanson for her book “Watershed: Attending to Body and Earth in Distress.” Hanson explores climate change, the stories of environmental refugees, and her personal experience of diabetes, making connections between the health of our bodies and the health of the ecosystem. She is a long-time instructor at Minneapolis College. This book is available at the Litchfield Library.
The children’s literature award went to David LaRochelle for the picture book “How to Apologize,” which is available at Litchfield, Dassel, Grove City, and Cosmos libraries. Jacqueline West won the award for middle grade literature for her novel “Long Lost,” which is available at Litchfield Library. Other award-winning books will be arriving in the future.
Minnesota authors and publishers produce some wonderful books. You can read the list of all of the finalists on the Minnesota Book Awards website. Our library system has many of these quality books available to you.