The High Plains Book Awards recognizes regional literary works that examine and reflect life on the High Plains, including the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Content is provided by independent reviewers in conjunction with the 2019 High Plains Book Awards. Books may be purchased at This House of Books, 224 N Broadway.
In lieu of an award ceremony, the winners will be announced on Sept. 26 on highplainsbookawards.org. and in the Gazette.
(36) updates to this series since
Susan Adrian’s chapter book reboots Peter Pan by bringing two contemporary siblings into a scattershot mythopoeia redolent of the Percy Jackson series, casting the younger brother as an autistic yet an articulate writer.
The howls of a wolf can raise the hair on our necks, especially at midnight. Ted Rechlin, author and illustrator, presents a fresh look of this ancient predator with a beautifully done graphic book.
World War II has erupted, and American soldiers need help. Who better to answer the call than man’s best friend? A finalist for the High Plains Book Awards Children’s Book category, “Major: A Soldier Dog” provides the answer.
Based on interviews with a refugee, this fictionalized account of Tesfaye, a young Ethiopian boy, chronicles the fleeing his African home and the uncertain, confusing and terrifying journey that follows.
Miriam Körner’s Qaqavii is a young adult adventure novel, yes, but one with many parts. Dog story, love story, what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-my-mother story, it also has much darker undercurrents of cultural history.
Fifteen-year-old Dizzy seems like an average teenage girl. Music is her passion and she is getting good at “spinning,” but one big secret sets her apart from other teens. She is the daughter of the world’s most recognized pop star, Georgia Waters.
The debut novel from Butte's Justin Olson is an open-hearted and generous glimpse into teendom that invites readers to empathize with its softly troubled characters, and simultaneously with our younger selves.
Set in and around Denver, Judith Sara Gelt shares a vivid and intensely personal narrative of growing up in a family deeply impacted by mental illness.
In his first book, Gerry Robinson explores the difficult life of the Cheyenne people as they struggle in the months following their victory against the United States in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Archaeologist Carl Davis brings to life the Indigenous cultures whose records are buried in the ground or painted on the rocks throughout Montana — from a 13,000-year-old burial site to the Rosebud Battlefield of just over a century ago.
The book is split into four sections: Bodily puzzles, mystifying animals, peculiar phenomena, and curiosities and oddities through which Ingram discusses a range of topics — from earwax to the Salem witch trials to the invention of the wheel to wasps and cockroach zombies.
Before writing this book, Chuck Warner, Bunker’s grandson, “hadn’t written anything longer than a business letter,” but he researched his grandfather’s life and presents him in this objective, coherent, and compelling biography.
“Not a Thing to Comfort You” ranges from sorrowful, to curious, to that of a fever dream. Occasionally using unwieldy, lively language, Emily Wortman-Wunder gives her stories an essence of authentic association and attachment.
Jennifer Wortman deals forthrightly with the issues of addiction and depression, showing how these two mental health conditions can interfere with a person’s ability to even identify love, much less participate in it in any kind of healthy and meaningful way.
In Katherine Koller’s collection of short stories, she tells of how opportunities can present themselves as an aftermath of challenge.
Pam Houston's writing is honest and realistic, as is the love of her various ranch animals — the Irish Wolfhounds, horses, sheep and burros — which play a large role in the book.
People may know about the Nez Perce’s flight to freedom from Walla Walla, Wash., to the Canadian border, they may be less aware of the tribe’s movement through America’s first national park and the devastation of lives experienced by both American Indians and whites.
“Whether we immerse ourselves within that tapestry or admire it from afar, we see and feel the natural, eternal power in it,” describes Michael Yochim, who spent half of his life living, working, hiking camping, and cross-country skiing in Yellowstone — much of it as a ranger with the National Park Service.
In her book of poetry, “Mercy,” Shirley Camia elucidates the stages of grief with simple yet evocative images. The book, which has the dedication “For Mom,” functions as a conversation between the narrator and her deceased mother.
Catherine Hunter’s meditation on loss doesn’t fully eclipse discovery. As she winds through place and people, she turns upward toward space travel and the ships that carry us beyond gravity as a way out of grief.
Jory Mickelson's book of poetry is similar to a coming of age story, offering moments of lost innocence both as a child and grown man that catalogs the relationship of the narrator to his family, lovers, landscape and heartache.
Sara Wiles — an independent photographer and writer — focuses largely on preservation of culture and language of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes in this collection of stories and photos.
Although little-known south of the Canadian border, Walter J. Phillips created vistas of the Canadian Rockies in watercolor, color block prints, wood engravings and oils, presented in this explorer's guide with directions to where Phillips created his art.
Victor Cicansky’s sculptures highlight rural characters and landscapes with love and gentle humor. His series includes outhouses, dioramas of country folks in their homes, rows of gold-rimmed canning jars, and always — the root of the work — the garden.
Joe Wilkins was born and raised on a sheep and hay ranch north of the Bull Mountains of eastern Montana. “Fall Back Down When I Die” takes the reader back to this rugged land with a contemporary novel, where tensions sizzle over land rights and hunting regulations.
Charlotte Hinger’s historical fiction novel “The Healer’s Daughter” reimagines the settling of Nicodemus, Kansas, established by former slaves during the Reconstruction Period following the Civil War.
Tosca Lee’s High Plains Fiction Finalist centers on young Wynter Roth, exiled from the cult she grew up in only to find herself in a world about to end due to a fast-spreading pandemic.
Finnish historian Pekka Hämäläinen turns his attention to the Sioux, focusing especially on the ascendancy of the Lakotas occupying the western reaches of “Seven Council Fires” territory.
“One Size Fits None” is agriculture journalist and academic Stephanie Anderson’s engaging and superbly written call to action for farmers and ranchers to go beyond sustainable to regenerative farming — replenishing the earth rather than depleting it.
No single book could justly represent Montana’s largest wilderness of nearly one million acres. But “Voices of Yellowstone’s Capstone: A Narrative Atlas of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness” comes admirably close.
The poems in Su Croll’s “Cold Metal Stairs” tell the story of a daughter watching her father slip into the vortex of dementia. It is a frightening descent that, for the poet, cannot be stopped but must be imagined.
A skilled horsewoman who achieved legendary status for both her beauty and her fearless character, Queen Ann lived in Brown’s Park during the last decades of the range wars.
Set in the late 1890s in Nebraska, “River People” is a story of an 11-year-old Irish girl looking for her parents out West, a 17-year-old whose father wants her off the farm in order to hide a secret, and an old self-proclaimed preacher who carries the devil on his back.
From the very beginning there is something in Jesse’s spirit that tells you he will survive. He’s a strong and resilient boy who overcomes heartbreak and pain to find his way back to his Indigenous culture and family.
Adams is an Ojibway/Cree who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was impelled to start taking the photos in 2014 as a reaction to a racist Facebook post by the wife of a Winnipeg mayoral candidate.
An equally odd and delightful read, “The Red Chesterfield” will give your eyebrows quite the workout, and in the span of ninety-nine pages, Arthurson drives readers to fall in love with the main character M’s world, his family, even his acquaintances.