The 2022 Minnesota Book Award winners were announced on April 26. We Minnesotans love books with Minnesota ties, so it’s always fun to see what wins, as well as the runner-up books.
This year’s prize in the novel and short story category 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 Dakota plants and traditions, and she is sent to a foster home in Mankato. After decades of farming with her white husband, Rosalie returns to the home and traditions of her childhood, discovering the members of her family who came before her. Wilson is Dakota herself; this is his second Minnesota Book Award. This book can be requested from other libraries in the Pioneerland Library System or borrowed 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 who travels the world, choosing to seize each day and live with spontaneity because her mother and sister died young of ALS. But when her sister-in-law drops off a baby and leaves town, Vanessa is stuck at home with no experience in childcare. Luckily her handsome neighbor is great with babies and happy to help. The pair begin to fall in love with each other despite their polar opposites, and Vanessa must decide whether to let other people into her life and 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 several occasions. “Life is Too Short” is available from the Litchfield Library Collection.
The General Non-Fiction Award went to “The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic” by Jillian Peterson and James Densley. Peterson is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Hamline, and she is an expert on mental illness and crime, preventing school shootings and mass violence. Densley is a professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and an expert on street gangs, youth violence and cyberviolence. The two authors built the first comprehensive database of mass shooters in the United States and conducted one of the largest studies of these individuals and their lives. In this book, they share 34 specific data-driven solutions that individuals, communities and the nation can adopt to prevent mass shootings. This book is available at Grove City and Litchfield libraries.
Hampton Smith won the Minnesota Non-Fiction Award for his book “Confluence: A History of Fort Snelling.” This comprehensive and beautifully illustrated book marks the 200th anniversary of the fort’s construction and explores its complicated history. Smith is a former reference librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society Library. This book is available at Litchfield Library.
The award for memoir and creative non-fiction went to Ranae Lenor Hanson for her book “Watershed: Attending to Body and Earth in Distress”. Hanson explores climate change, stories of environmental refugees and her personal experience with diabetes, drawing connections between the health of our body and the health of the ecosystem. She is a longtime teacher at Minneapolis College. This book is available at Litchfield Library.
The Children’s Literature Prize 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 mid-level literature award for her novel ‘Long Lost’, available at Litchfield Library. More award-winning books will be coming in the future.
Minnesota authors and publishers produce wonderful books. You can read the list of all finalists on the Minnesota Book Awards website. Our network of libraries makes many of these quality books available to you.