MN Reads

Join us Thursday mornings at 8:20 for Minnesota Reads on Northland Morning,  featuring Minnesota authors talking about their work.

Funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

Liz Granholm heard many stories about Rabbit and Otter's ricing trip when she was growing up.

She took different lessons from each telling: the need to acknowledge the Great Spirit when taking something from the earth, put down tobacco as an offering to that spirit, and don't take more than you need.

Once she dived deeper into the Ojibwe language after early teaching from her father and grandmother, she started thinking that young people needed to know these lessons, too.

And then her daughter got in on the act.

Ranae Hanson was already deeply committed to combating climate change when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Then suddenly everything made sense in a whole new way.

Journalists can get in a lot of trouble following their curiosity down the rabbit hole.

And they can also have a lot of fun.

Just ask Todd Melby, whose new book,  A Lot Can Happen in the Middle of Nowhere: The Untold Story of the Making of Fargo, has just been released by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

© 2021 Paris Morning Publications

Freelance illustrator and University of Minnesota instructor John Owens didn't grow up heading to the Boundary Waters every summer, but once he went, he was hooked.

John Owens talked about how different artists capture inspiration, the fragility of stepping outside your comfort zone, and how you know when you have something good, this week on MN Reads.

John also mentioned a "teachable companion" to his book and you can find it here.

Sam Zimmerman

Sam Zimmerman is taking a class to re-learn his language, Ojibwemowin.

He laughs his efforts are making his ancestors' ears bleed, but if Sam's ancestors have been keeping track of him, chances are they're pretty proud.

One look at the whimsical cover illlustration for Kao Kalia Yang's Yang Warriors, and you're pretty sure what it's going to be about: a band of plucky little kids who accomplish something marvelous amidst hilarity and hijinks.

Those illustrations by Billy Thao (in his debut) are just the right touch of leavening.  As the story keeps you turning pages, you begin to see a darker side of the tale that Yang says "she carried inside of her for a long time."

Mary Casanova knew that there was talent and artistry - and mental illness - in her gene pool.

So in her third Rainy Lake historical novel, she spent some time at the St. Peter State Hospital Museum, creating a character who was not only a talented painter - she'd been committed to an insane asylum by her family, a widespread practice at the time that pioneering journalist Nellie Bly wrote about first hand in 1887.

Clare Cooley has lived through sexual assault, the suicide of a family member and the drug addiction of another.

But all the way back to a troubled childhood, she learned that imagination and creativity were the keys to a way out.

Cooley prides herself on trying to find the good in difficult situations, and perhaps the most obvious example is using the pandemic lockdown as an opportunity to write a book about overcoming tough times through creative expression.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies is a book that was written first for Ojibwe speakers - not even those fluent in the language but, like her, who are learning.

And she had specific hopes for her Anishinabe readers as well: that it would affirm their experiences , provide comfort, and that they would feel better for having read it.

Historian Brenda Child has been on a mission since she read Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (1969) by Vine Deloria Jr.

Nellie Frances was another woman like a lot of women in Minnesota.

Quiet and self-effacing, but active in her community and her church, it's not surprising that the story of a Black woman on the front lines of women's suffrage and civil rights issue hasn't been told until now.

Nellie Francis: Fighting for Racial Justice and Women’s Equality in Minnesota by William D. Green is published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Then-22 year old Natalie Warren and her friend Ann Raiho took a 2,000-mile journey by paddle from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay in 2011.

But ten years later, the biggest challenge Natalie says she faced might surprise you.

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