Three books from Minnesota authors for August
Two books to remember the past, and one to recognize the promise of a future.
“Heaven” by Michael Resman, translated into Russian by Artyom Korovin, illustrated by Jennifer Elam; self-published in June 2021
“Heaven” is the fifth book in a series by Michael Resman geared toward elementary-age children and parents or educators to discuss tough topics. Each book, including “Heaven,” includes the English text next to the text in another language. For “Heaven,” it's Russian.
This book is about a young boy who is wandering the forest, feeling ashamed for something he did. His place in the afterlife is unsure in his head until he hears the voice of God, which reveals that it's a place to experience God’s true and healing love and make amends — a place for all to forgive and be forgiven.
Every page in the book is filled with vibrant color paintings by Elam that resemble a child’s finger paintings and allow the reader to detail the scene in their own mind. The abstract designs gently walk the reader through the emotions of the boy. The earthy colors and organic shapes are reminiscent of the forest flora and fauna, among other symbols and shapes.
Korovin's translation is not strictly a direct translation, but a translation that captures the spirit of the story, widening the audience to include Russian readers.
Michael Resman is a retired occupational therapist, serving children with disabilities in public schools. He now devotes his time to the Quaker church, prayer and writing. He lives in Rochester with his wife and two cats.
Jennifer Elam is a licensed psychologist who has taught and practiced psychology since 1969. She took a four-year leave from her psychology work in 1996 and began studying Quakerism, mysticism and art at Pendle Hill in Pennsylvania. She authored a book in 2002, and has showcased her art throughout Pennsylvania.
“Bah Bah for Barbara” by Craig Biorn; self-published July 22 through Bookbaby
“Bah Bah for Barbara” is the story of Biorn’s mother, Barbara, and the summer of 1957, when she showcased a lamb named Rosie at the county fair. Barbara experiences a few setbacks, and some trouble from her siblings put her place in the competition in jeopardy, but ultimately her hard work triumphs, and she is able to compete.
This puts Barbara and Rosie on a path to local fame and fortune.
Based on the true story of 16-year-old Barbara Luhman, this book captures life growing up with eight brothers and one sister on a 360-acre farm in southeastern Minnesota. This adventure is told with humor, historical trifles, and the reliable comforts of home. This is a family read that my daughters and I enjoyed.
The cover art was done by Biorn himself, as was the cover of his first book. The "Bah Bah for Barbara" painting depicts a farm scene with an iconic Midwest-style silo.
Craig Biorn grew up in Zumbrota, and loved to listen to his mother’s stories about growing up on a farm near Goodhue. Biorn is an author, entrepreneur and artist. His first book is about his wife’s teenage years in Somalia during the 1991 civil war there. His paintings cover a variety of subjects and are available at www.craigbiorn.com.
“Bah Bah for Barbara” is available online at Target, Barnes & Noble, Bookbaby, Amazon and Craigbiorn.com.
“Dovetails in the Tall Grass” by Samantha Specks; publishes Aug. 24 by SparkPress
“Dovetails in the Tall Grass” is a historical fiction novel about the lives and events that lead up to the Dec. 26, 1862, hanging of 38 Native American Dakota men in Mankato. The story is shared from the perspective of two young women — one Dakota and one white settler — both 16 years old. It goes back and forth between the two throughout, and is told from a first-person narrative.
It should be noted that this narrative about Indigenous peoples was created by a non-native author. However, Sparks shares great insight and uses her way with words to help the reader understand the native perspective. She does a great job with the settlers and settling of New Ulm, too, but as that is a more familiar story to most, the real gem is the Dakota perspective.
This book is a great fiction story with many historical elements for the Minnesota-raised history enthusiast and anyone interested in the history of the area.
Samantha Specks grew up near Lake Minnetonka, and became interested as a teenager in the history of Dakota-Sioux and early settler conflicts in the area. She is a licensed clinical social worker. She lives in Houston with her husband and infant daughter. “Dovetails in the Tall Grass” is her first novel. Find more at samanthaspecks.com.
"Dovetails in the Tall Grass" is available for preorder online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Book Nook highlights books from Minnesota authors. Got a recommendation? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Book Nook."