Northland College announces Book Awards for Earth Day

Northland College has announced the winning 2016 books for the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award (SONWA) in adult, young adult, and children’s literature.

Since 1991, the SONWA has honored the literary legacy of Sigurd Olson, who attended Northland College, and is the namesake of the College’s environmental institute, by recognizing and encouraging contemporary writers who seek to carry on his tradition of nature writing.

“The College announces the winners near Earth Day each year to highlight the best environmental and nature writing at a time when people are reflecting and thinking about their place in the natural world,” said Alan Brew, a professor of English at Northland College, who sits on the SONWA selection committee.

“We had more books than ever to select from this year,” Brew said. “These books best capture the human relationship with the natural world and have lasting, universal appeal — much like Olson’s work.”

The winning authors will be invited to speak at Northland College where they will receive their award and cash prize.

Adult Winner

Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History, by Dan Flores, (Basic Books, New York, New York)

Adult Honorable Mention
A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland, by Cornelia F. Mutel (University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, Iowa)

Raising Wild: Dispatches from a Home in the Wilderness, by Michael P. Branch (Roost Books, Boulder, Colorado)

Adult Notable Books
The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks, by Terry Tempest Williams (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Washington D.C.)

Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic Never-Done-Before (and sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland, by Ken Ilgunas (Blue Rider Press, New York, New York)

“Body of Water: A Sage, a Seeker, and the World’s Most Alluring Fish,” by Chris Dombrowski (Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Turning Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild, Adrienne Ross Scanlon (Mountaineers Books, Seattle, Washington)

Young Adult Winner
Hawk, by Jennifer Dance (Dundurn, Toronto, Ontario)

Young Adult Honorable Mention
Chasing at the Surface, by Sharon Mentyka (Graphic Arts Book, Berkeley, California)

Saving Wonder, by Mary Knight (Scholastic Press, New York, New York)

Young Adult Notable Books
Dig too Deep: The Story of a Town that Looked the Other Way. And a Girl Who Didn’t, by Amy Allgeyer (Albert Whitman & Company, Chicago, Illinois)

Listen, by Francesca G. Varela (Owl House Books)

The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World, by Nancy F. Castaldo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, New York)

Children’s Winner
Journey: The Most Famous Wolf in the West, by Emma Bland Smith with illustrations by Robin James (Little Bigfoot, Seattle, Washington).

Children’s Honorable Mention
Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs, by Linda Vander Heyden with illustrations by Eileen Ryan Ewen (Sleeping Bear Press, Ann Arbor, Mich.)

What Matters, by Alison Hughes with illustrations by Holly Hatam (Orca Book Publishers)

The Lonely Giant, by Sophie Ambrose (Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts)

Children’s Notable Books
Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service, by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Rich Lo (Charlesbridge, Watertown, Mass.)

Storm’s Coming!, by Margi Preus, illustrated by David Geister (Minnesota Historical Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Wakanda Whooper: The Curious Cinnamon Crane, by Sandia Kosmo, illustrated by Lisa Kosmo (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, Minnesota)

Where Do Rivers Go, Momma?, by Catherine L. Weyerhaeuser (Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, Montana)


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