Local children’s authors roll out winter reads

Book cover - Dear sisterMany children’s book authors call Minneapolis home. The following is a sample of the latest releases by local authors.

Alison McGhee’s “Dear Sister” is inspired by notes her own children write to each other. Made for grades five and up, the book is an illustrated collection of letters that a boy writes to his annoying little sister.

Image courtesy Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Book cover - Louisiana's Way HomeKate DiCamillo has two new books on the shelf. A shy dog takes a trip to the dog park in “Good Rosie!” The middle grade book “Louisiana’s Way Home” tells the story of Louisiana Elefante, awakened by her granny in the middle of the night to suddenly leave home. Book cover - Good RosieStruggling to find a way back to her friends, Elefante arrives in a small Georgia town to meet a “surly hotel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder.”

“Dream Country,” a historical fiction book for teens and young adults by Shannon Gibney, shifts between five generations of a Liberian-American family, all pursuing an elusive dream of freedom. The book follows a 17-year-old refugee who’s sent from suburban Minneapolis to a Liberian reform school, an 18-year-old Liberian on the run from government militias in the early 20th century, and children who leave a Virginia plantation in 1827 for a chance at freedom in Liberia.

“Makoons” by Louise Erdrich, now available for all ages in paperback, continues the story of Makoons and his twin, Chickadee. Their family travels to the Great Plains of Dakota Territory, where they must learn to become buffalo hunters. The series is based on Erdrich’s family history.

Book cover - Vast wonder - ©Millbrook Press, a division of Lerner Publishing GroupMélina Mangal, an author and librarian at Dowling Elementary, has released “The Vast Wonder of the World,” telling the story of African American biologist Ernest Everett Just. Despite obstacles and discrimination, Just continues his research, observing sea creatures and making discoveries about egg cells and the origins of life.

Image ©Millbrook Press, a division of Lerner Publishing Group

TodayIsABaptismDay_FinalCover_RGBAnna Ostenso Moore, a Linden Hills resident and priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, typically hands out a picture book to help prepare families for baptism. But she increasingly noticed the pictures didn’t represent the diversity in the families she was serving. So she created her own book, called “Today is a Baptism Day,” hand-picking local illustrator Peter Krueger. Now she’s handing out copies to families, hoping they can see themselves in the pages and share their own stories of faith. The first print run sold out and was sent for reprint less than 30 days after release.

Saymoukda Vongsay was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1984. Her book “When Everything Was Everything” is described as a love letter to Vietnam War refugees, recalling her own memories of food stamps, ESL classes and public housing.

Book cover - A Tear in the Ocean“A Tear in the Ocean,” a middle grade book by H. M. Bouwman and a companion to last year’s “A Crack in the Sea,” is a historical fantasy adventure that’s slated for release in January. The character Putnam steals a boat to solve a mystery of increasingly salty water, and discovers his boat has a stowaway. The key to the saltwater mystery begins a hundred years earlier with Rayel, who is working to foil a plot to kill her father.

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