In time for Earth Day, Northland College has announced the winning 2015 books for the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award (SONWA) in adult, young adult, and children’s literature.

The winners include: For the Love of Rivers: A Scientist’s Journey, by Kurt D. Fausch, (Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, Oregon), Water Runs Through This Book, by Nancy Bo Flood and photography by Jan Sonnenmair (Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado), and North Woods Girl, by Aimee Bissonette with illustrations by Claudia McGehee (Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul, Minnesota), a beautiful book of a girl and her unorthodox, up north grandmother and their field trips through the seasons.

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 winners will be invited to speak at Northland College where they will receive their award and cash prize. For more information about the awards.

The SONWA committees also recognized the following books:


Adult Honorable Mention

  • Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things by M.R. O’Connor (St. Martins Press, New York, New York)

Adult Notable Books

  • Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age of Man by Jason Mark (Island Press, Washington D.C.)
  • The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York)

Young Adult Notable Books

  • Lost in the Backyard by Alison Hughes (Orca Book Publishers, Custer, Washington)
  • Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman with help from John Niekrasz (Storey Publishing, North Adams, Massachusetts)
  • Trash Talk: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World by Michelle Mulder (Orca Book Publishers, Custer, Washington)
  • Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them by Terri Farley, photographs by Melissa Farlow (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, New York)

Children’s Honorable Mention

  • My Wilderness: An Alaskan Adventure by Claudia McGehee (Little Bigfoot, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, Washington)
  • The Seeds of Friendship by Michael Foreman (Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts)
  • The Stranded Whale by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Melanie Cataldo (Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts)

Children’s Notable Books

  • A Snowy Owl Story by Melissa Kim, illustrated by Jada Finch (Islandport Press, Yarmouth, Maine)
  • Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl (Tundra Books, a division of Random House of Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company)
  • Toad Weather by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez (PeachTree Publishers, Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation by Peggy Thomas, illustrations by Stacy Innerst (Calkins Creek, Honesday, Pennsylvania)

Related Stories