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April 22, 2015

Urban Coyotes

Filed under: Authors, Children, Nature/Enviroment — Alison Aten @ 5:29 pm


Coyotes are smart, curious, and adaptable. They live on prairies, in forests, and on farmland. They even live in cities such as Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York. City coyotes might make their homes in parks or in nature preserves or on golf courses—all places where they can find plenty of food and shelter. Sometimes they live in small family groups, and sometimes they live alone.

Hungry Coyote by Cheryl Blackford with illustrations by Laurie Caple offers kids a glimpse into the life of an urban coyote as he struggles to feed himself and his famished family.

We asked Cheryl and Laurie to share some of their inspiration for the book.

From Cheryl: cherylblackford

“The idea for this picture book came to me as I watched a lone coyote trot across a frozen lake one January morning. He turned his head to look at me, decided I was no threat, and continued on his way. Although we don’t often see the coyotes themselves, just signs of their presence such as scat on the trails, I saw him twice more. I wondered what he ate and how he lived. I did some research and became interested in urban coyotes and their success at living beside humans in many American cities. While many people are suspicious of coyotes (probably based upon their reputation as ‘tricksters’), or think of them as vermin, I admire the intelligence and adaptability of these animals. They thrive in many different natural habitats ranging from desert to lush grasslands, and now they’re also thriving in our cities. How could you not admire such a smart, successful creature?”

caple-with-coyote-pup_smallFrom Laurie:

“A fondness for nature provides the inspiration behind my artwork. I had the fascinating opportunity to spend time with one of only two known domesticated coyotes in the United States.  ’Wiley’ lives with Rick Hanestad and his family in western Wisconsin, about an hour’s drive from St. Paul. A National Geographic film crew recently spent a number of hours documenting his behavior.

“Wiley is very tame and handles well on a leash, just like a friendly pup.  He has never shown any type of aggressive behavior to humans and sleeps on a favorite recliner in the Hanestads’ living room!”

Cheryl and Laurie hope Hungry Coyote encourages readers to look at our own surroundings with fresh eyes and develop curiosity and respect for wildlife in our cities. They recommend the following links about urban coyotes:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Urban Coyotes

Project Coyote

Urban Coyote Research

The Humane Society

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April 3, 2015

Readers and writers, take note!

Filed under: Event, Fiction, MHS press — regana @ 11:31 am

AWP-photo-by-Robb-CohenBook-loving Minnesotans, here’s a word to the wise and a great opportunity: AWP—the Association of Writers and Writing Programs—is holding its annual meeting at the Convention Center in Minneapolis next week, April 9-11. This is a Very Big Deal: more than 12,000 attendees, 1,900 presenters, 550 sessions, scores of free offsite events, and—best of all—a book fair with 700 publishers and literary organizations strutting their stuff. You can register for a day pass here.

AWP is an overwhelming experience, with so many delicious options. Thousands of energetic teachers and writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are gathered to talk about what we’re doing, where we’ve been, where we’re going with books and literature. The program is tantalizing, and you can’t be everywhere at once. Laura I. Miller, a seasoned attendee, has compiled a helpful list of tips for doing AWP.  Me? I often retreat to our book table, where every person stopping by has a good story.

At the MNHS Press exhibit, we’re proudly showing off books by our fine authors. But my colleagues and I are also on a mission—a treasure hunt for books-to-be on the history and culture of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. We’re searching for manuscripts with strong Midwestern themes and a strong sense of place: Well-researched and well-written stories that use the best tools of narrative journalism to tell history for general audiences. Narrative nonfiction on food, adventure and travel, true crime, war and conflict, Native American studies, environment and the land, popular culture, and women’s and ethnic histories.  Good books to help people live richer lives in Minnesota and beyond.

Thursday, April 9 from 10:00-11:30 we’re hosting a signing with Bruce Joshua Miller and Ned Stuckey-French, editor and contributor to Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research. Contributors to Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota will be dropping by to sign on Saturday morning. Stop by to say hello and get a copy!

MNHS press director, Pam McClanahan, editors Shannon Pennefeather and Josh Leventhal, and sales manager Jerry Bilek and I look forward to seeing you at Booth 412—and hearing what you’re writing about.

Ann Regan, MNHS Editor-in-Chief

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March 31, 2015

Brenda J. Child wins Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award

Filed under: Authors, Awards, Native American — Alison Aten @ 10:41 am

My Grandfather's Knocking Sticks Brenda ChildWe’re delighted to note that My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation by Brenda J. Child has won the the seventh annual Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award.

Child uses her family’s own powerful stories to tell a different kind of history–one that puts her reader’s feet on the reservation. She shows how Ojibwe men and women on reservations around the Great Lakes sustained both their families and their cultural identity in the face of extreme prejudice and hardship.

Winners of  the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award cross multiple disciplines or fields of study, are relevant to contemporary North American Indian communities, and focus on American Indian Studies, modern tribal studies, modern biographies, tribal governments or federal Indian policy.

Dedicated in 1993, the Labriola National American Indian Data Center in the Arizona State University (ASU) Libraries is one of the only repositories within a public university library devoted to American Indian collections. The Labriola Center holds both primary and secondary sources on American Indians across North America. The Center’s primary purpose is to promote a better understanding of American Indian language, culture, social, political and economic issues. The Labriola National American Indian Data Center has been endowed by Frank and Mary Labriola whose wish has been that “the Labriola Center be a source of education and pride for all Native Americans.”

My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks is also a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.

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March 23, 2015

“Civil War Homecoming”, March 28 at the Fitzgerald Theater

Filed under: Arts, Authors, History — Alison Aten @ 10:42 am


Saturday, March 28 at 7:00 P.M.
Fitzgerald Theater

The year 1865 saw inauguration, abolition, armistice, assassination, grief, celebration and reunion. The brand-new frontier state of Minnesota mourned and commemorated along with the rest of the nation. Minnesotans celebrated the return of the troops and got down to the business of building railroads and cities, sprinkling the countryside with farms and lumber camps and welcoming immigrants by the tens of thousands.

Dan Chouinard and an all-star group of friends gather to paint a Minnesota portrait of the times through songs, letters and newspaper accounts, in Civil War Homecoming. This live show at the Fitzgerald Theater on Saturday, March 28 is a co-production of the Minnesota Historical Society, MPR and the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force.

Featuring Kevin Kling, Maria Jette, T Mychael Rambo, Prudence Johnson, members of the Roe Family Singers, and the Brass Messengers as well as Eric Jacobson, Annette Atkins, Gwen Westerman, Mark Ritchie, Dean Urdahl, Pat Bauer and David Geister.

Additional information available here.

Interested in learning more about Minnesota and the Civil War? Visit www.mnhs.org/civilwar

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March 9, 2015

Book Launch Celebration & HowlRound LiveStream Tonight for “All the Lights On: Reimagining Theater with Ten Thousand Things”

Filed under: Arts, Authors, Event, Videos — Alison Aten @ 11:22 am

“This book tells the story of one of the most vital and important theater companies of our time.”
Oskar Eustis, The Public Theater

Join us tonight for the Book Launch Celebration at Open Book in Minneapolis for:

All the Lights On: Reimagining Theater with Ten Thousand Things by Michelle Hensley

Monday, March 9, 2015
Open Book: 1011 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
Doors open at 6:30 pm, short program begins at 7:00 pm, followed by book signing

Also available via HowlRoundTV today at 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern via http://livestream.com/newplay

All the Lights On Michelle Hensley

“Ten Thousand Things brings the best possible theater, plays of Shakespeare and Aeschylus and Beckett, to audiences who have seen little of it before, those in prisons and shelters and adult education centers and rural towns and housing projects and Indian reservations and chemical dependency treatment centers, as well as to enthusiastic veteran theatergoers in consistently sold-out performances for the general public, all performed in large bare rooms, with no stage, just right on the floor inside a small circle of folding chairs, with all the fluorescent lights in the room turned on. Our budget is modest, we don’t need our own building, our set supply budget is little more than that of our very first show, but we pay our highly skilled artists on a par with the largest theater companies in town. We have even become Johnny Appleseeds of a sort, taking this unique model to other theaters around the country who are also eager to find ways to reach outside their buildings with excellent work. And all along this journey, the honest, openhearted encounters of our first-time audiences with our first-rate artists have led us to make wonderful discoveries about theater—pinpointing just what makes it thrive and flourish.” Michelle Hensley, from All the Lights On

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February 17, 2015

Curiosity’s Cats is a “CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alison Aten @ 12:47 pm

Curiosity's Cats

The January 2015 issue of CHOICE Magazine features its annual list of  Outstanding Academic Titles, chosen by the editors for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as important treatment of their subject. We are honored to have Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research edited by Bruce Joshua Miller as one of this year’s selections.

“In bringing together 13 riveting, informative essays on the thrills, pitfalls, and minutiae of documentary research, Miller (a writer and independent publishing industry representative) illuminates how writers convey the truth about the life of their subjects. Contributors explain how they succeeded (or failed) in various writing projects throughout their careers, working in traditions spanning historical and ethnographic research, biography, journalism, fiction, and film. . . . A well-crafted, well-conceived volume, deserving an index. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” CHOICE (link to the full review here)

Bruce J. Miller and Ned Stuckey-French will be signing copies of Curiosity’s Cats at the AWP Annual Conference in Minneapolis on Thursday, April 9, 2015, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Minnesota Historical Society Press booth. If you are attending, please stop by!

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February 5, 2015

Three MNHS Press books are Minnesota Book Award Finalists!

Filed under: Awards — Alison Aten @ 10:00 am

Congratulations to our Minnesota Book Award finalists: Brenda J. Child for My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks in the General Nonfiction category, Larry Millett and Matt Schmitt for Minnesota’s Own in the Minnesota category, and Lori Sturdevant for Her Honor, also in the Minnesota category. Finalists were announced this past weekend, and the winners will be revealed April 18 at the Minnesota Book Award Gala at St. Paul Union Depot.

My Grandfather's Knocking Sticks

Minnesota's OwnHerHonor_FINAL_rev.indd

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January 14, 2015

Book Launch Celebration for Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota

Filed under: African American, Event, Literary — Alison Aten @ 7:04 pm

Blues VisionPlease join us Thursday February 5, 2015 from 6-9 pm at the Minnesota History Center to celebrate the publication of  Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota edited by Alexs Pate with co-editors Pamela R. Fletcher and J. Otis Powell‽.

Blues Vision is a surprising and compelling anthology that reveals complex realities—beautiful, infuriating, painful, and uplifting—as described by African American writers in Minnesota over the past century.

The book is co-published with the Minnesota Humanities Center, sponsor of this anthology, which was made possible in part by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2004.

Book Launch Celebration
Thursday February 5, 2015 from 6-9 pm
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Ave. W. St. Paul, MN
6-7 pm Refreshments & cash bar
7-8 pm Book Talk and Readings by Contributors
8-9 Book Signing
Share the Facebook invitation

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December 12, 2014

Where was Santa on December 13, 1961?

Filed under: Children, History — Alison Aten @ 3:12 pm

From Wishing for a Snow Day by Peg Meier

From Wishing for a Snow Day by Peg Meier

What was Santa doing in Minneapolis fifty-three years ago? Why spreading cheer in the Sky Room at Dayton’s in Minneapolis, of course! Here he is at the store’s children’s breakfast on December 13, 1961.

This photograph, along with many other charming images of children in Minnesota, is featured in Wishing for a Snow Day : Growing Up in Minnesota by Peg Meier. Digging through letters, diaries, reminiscences, newspaper columns, and plenty of photographs, Meier unearthed a wealth of material left by Minnesotans who took the time to write, whether as children in the moment or as adults looking back.

Also by Peg Meier: Bring Warm Clothes and Too Hot, Went to Lake.

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December 11, 2014

Crafty Kids

Filed under: Arts, Children — Alison Aten @ 2:30 pm

9780873519199Do you have a crafty kid on your holiday gift list? Keep them busy with our new craft book for kids:

Making History: Have a Blast with 15 Crafts

The book features projects that celebrate Minnesota’s history and people. It includes crafts at four different skill levels, step-by-step instructions, free templates, and 180 color photos.

Imagine soldiers on the Civil War battlefield as you assemble a “housewife” sewing kit like those made by wives and mothers. Re-create the drama of a midwestern tornado when you build an automaton that actually spins, and celebrate the invention of water-skiing with a boat and skier that really glide.

Step-by-step instructions carefully guide you to make your own marionette, but it’s up to you to stage the puppet show. The playful miniature scene of a Day of the Dead nicho offers a way to honor a loved one. A woodland hike will provide the twigs and leaves to make a troll. A walking stick in the tradition of folk artist Maurice Carlton inspires you to create art out of what you can find.

These projects and more generate hours of fun, not to mention useful pieces you’ll want to share with your family and friends.

north-woods-troll-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts twister-tornado-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts paul-bunyan-action-toy-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts minnesota-trapper-hat-construction-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts minnesota-trapper-hat-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-craftsmetal-foil-repousse-pendant-from-making-history-have-a-blast-with-15-crafts

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