Earlier this month, author Cheryl Minnema (Johnny’s Pheasant) was awarded the 2020 Charlotte Zolotow Award for outstanding writing in a picture book. This annual award is given by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), a library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Minnema’s book, which features illustrations by Julie Flett, has … More Family memories and Johnny’s Pheasant: Two questions with Cheryl Minnema, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award
With Tara Sweeney and Nate Christopherson We are a mother-and-son creative team. A to Zåäö: Playing with History at the American Swedish Institute is our debut picture book. It’s taken nearly four years to complete it. Our individual artistic styles are polar opposites: I use vivid watercolor to create convincing illusions of the observable world; … More Behind the Book: A to Zåäö
BY JAY WEINER Until the work began on what would become Professor Berman: The Last Lecture of Minnesota’s Greatest Public Historian, I didn’t know Hy Berman very well. For nearly 30 years, I was a reporter for the Star Tribune and Hy was a prominent University of Minnesota professor and political pundit. But a search … More His words, his story, his magnetism: Capturing the voice of Hy Berman, Minnesota’s beloved public historian
BY JACK EL-HAI Early in my writing of The Lost Brothers I considered an ethical question: In telling the story of the 68-year-old case of three young brothers who went missing in Minneapolis and have never been seen since, should I reveal the names of suspects who were never charged with a crime? There were … More When to Name Names
BY OLA LARSMO I guess it was the silence that caught my imagination. It was very deep, in the middle of a bustling city. My wife, Rita, had spent an important year as an exchange student in Minneapolis and wanted to visit old friends. When we first went there in 2006, I knew that I … More Swede Hollow: The surprises and intrigue behind Ola Larsmo’s haunting story of a real place
BY ANIKA FAJARDO I once went swimming in natural hot springs in Colombia. It was the mid-1990s and Colombia was, according to the U.S. State Department, the most dangerous country on earth. At twenty-one years old, I had just arrived to see my father for the first time since I was a baby. His wife … More Anika Fajardo: On searching for identity, exploring origins, and reconciling what family means
BY BARBARA SJOHOLM By the Fire is an uncommon collection of Sami folktales recorded by a woman who was herself quite remarkable for her time. Emilie Demant Hatt was born in a rural village in Jutland, Denmark, in 1873 and only attended school up to the age of fourteen. But with help from her mother’s … More How a chance encounter led to an uncommon collection of Sami folktales by Emilie Demant Hatt.
BY LINDA LeGARDE GROVER The story began for me when I was a child, too young to question but old enough to see, hear, and remember. Adults conversing over tea occasionally forgot that there were children present and alluded to loss: to Indian boarding schools; to runaways and the foster home system; to inexperienced girls … More Linda LeGarde Grover: On resilience and loss.
BY JANE ST. ANTHONY In seventh grade, Patrick handed a note to me. It didn’t travel far. Patrick and I sat side by side, our desks aligned. Sandra sat directly behind Patrick, and Steven was behind me. When Sister Evangeline wasn’t watching us, seventh grade felt like a jolly double date in a convertible. “I … More Jane St. Anthony: What, after all, is normal?
BY SARAH STONICH The title of this novel might sound like the answer to a trivia question—points for anyone who can draw the Laurentian Divide on a bar napkin, extra to mark where it meets the St. Lawrence in northern Minnesota. At this juncture, rivers flow in three directions: east to the Gulf of St. … More Life on the edge in northern Minnesota border country.