January 23, 2020

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The Beet Queen

By: Louise Erdrich
Recommended for grade(s): College Plus
On a spring morning in 1932, young Karl and Mary Adare arrive by boxcar in Argus, North Dakota. After being orphaned in a most peculiar way, they seek refuge in the butcher shop of their aunt Fritzie and her husband, Pete; ordinary Mary, who will cause a miracle, and seductive Karl, who lacks his sister's gift for survival, embark upon an exhilarating life-journey crowded with colorful, unforgettable characters and marked by the extraordinary magic of natural events. The bestselling, award-winning author of The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich dazzles in this vibrant and heartfelt tale of abandonment and sexual obsession, jealousy and unstinting love that explores with empathy, humor, and power the eternal mystery of the human condition. —from the HarperCollins website
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Long before they planted beets in Argus and built the highways, there was a railroad. Along the track, which crossed the Dakota--Minnesota border and stretched on to Minneapolis, everything that made the town arrived. All that diminished the town departed by that route, too.
  • The Beet Queen
    Louise Erdrich

    The Beet Queen

    By: Louise Erdrich
    Recommended for grade(s): College Plus

    On a spring morning in 1932, young Karl and Mary Adare arrive by boxcar in Argus, North Dakota. After being orphaned in a most peculiar way, they seek refuge in the butcher shop of their aunt Fritzie and her husband, Pete; ordinary Mary, who will cause a miracle, and seductive Karl, who lacks his sister's gift for survival, embark upon an exhilarating life-journey crowded with colorful, unforgettable characters and marked by the extraordinary magic of natural events. The bestselling, award-winning author of The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich dazzles in this vibrant and heartfelt tale of abandonment and sexual obsession, jealousy and unstinting love that explores with empathy, humor, and power the eternal mystery of the human condition. —from the HarperCollins website

    Where to Find

    Score a physical copy of the book.

  • Lakota Woman
    Mary Crow Dog, Richard Erdoes

    Lakota Woman

    By: Mary Crow Dog, Richard Erdoes
    Recommended for grade(s): 7

    Mary Brave Bird grew up fatherless in a one-room cabin, without running water or electricity, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Rebelling against the aimless drinking, punishing missionary school, narrow strictures for women, and violence and hopelessness of reservation life, she joined the new movement of tribal pride sweeping Native American communities in the sixties and seventies. Mary eventually married Leonard Crow Dog, the American Indian Movement's chief medicine man, who revived the sacred but outlawed Ghost Dance. Originally published in 1990, Lakota Woman was a national best seller and winner of the American Book Award. It is a unique document, unparalleled in American Indian literature, a story of death, of determination against all odds, of the cruelties perpetuated against American Indians, and of the Native American struggle for rights.  -- From Grove Press

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  • Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past
    Diane Wilson

    Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past

    By: Diane Wilson
    Recommended for grade(s): 11, 12, College Plus

    Growing up in the 1950s in suburban Minneapolis, Diane Wilson had a family like everybody else's. Her Swedish American father was a salesman at Sears and her mother drove her brothers to baseball practice and went to parent-teacher conferences. But in her thirties, Diane began to wonder why her mother didn't speak of her past. So she traveled to South Dakota and Nebraska, searching out records of her relatives through six generations, hungering to know their stories. She began to write a haunting account of the lives of her Dakota Indian family, based on research, to recreate their oral history that was lost, or repressed, or simply set aside as gritty issues of survival demanded attention. Spirit Car is an exquisite counterpoint of memoir and carefully researched fiction, a remarkable narrative that ties modern Minnesotans to the trauma of the Dakota War. Wilson found her family's love and humor--and she discovered just how deeply our identities are shaped by the forces of history. -- From Minnesota Historical Society

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  • Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression
    Studs Terkel

    Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression

    By: Studs Terkel
    Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12, College Plus

    First published in 1970, Studs Terkel’s bestselling Hard Times has been called “a huge anthem in praise of the American spirit” (Saturday Review) and “an invaluable record” (The New York Times). With his trademark grace and compassion, Terkel evokes a mosaic of memories from those who were richest to those who were destitute: politicians, businessmen, artists and writers, racketeers, speakeasy operators, strikers, impoverished farmers, people who were just kids, and those who remember losing a fortune. --From The New Press

    Where to Find

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