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Archive for October, 2011


Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

phpSd8czNTis the season for ghosts and goblins, and our fair state has no shortage of boogeymen.

MinnPost’s Max Sparber ponders the ghosts of the Washington Avenue Bridge and the “Supernatural Minnesota” series by Thomas M. Disch, recently reprinted by the University of Minnesota Press. The Businessman is the first book in the series.

Michael Norman, author of five nationally popular collections of ghost tales, interviewed local storytellers and combed newspapers to document legends involving supernatural and strange occurrences. Following old and fresh leads, he gathered stories from all over the state in The Nearly Departed: Minnesota Ghost Stories & Legends. (Check out our excerpts on the MIA and The Lutefisk Ghost.)

The Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations by Chad Lewis offers info on where to sleep in a haunted bed-and-breakfast or have a drink in a haunted pub.

You can explore more of Minnesota’s haunted history this week at a variety of spooky events hosted by the Minnesota Historical Society:

Tonight and tomorrow at the Mill City Museum’s The Minneapolis Horror: Tales from the Night Shift you can learn about the horrific disasters that have befallen the mill and its workers over the years.

Shadows and Spirits of the State Capitol, Thursday through Saturday, offers visitors a chance to see historical “spirits” who tell stories of the capitol’s early history.

Step inside the rustic barn at the Oliver Kelley Farm on Saturday for a Reader’s Theatre performance of Washington Irving’s horror classic, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Or listen to dramatic readings of Victorian Ghost Stories in the dimly lit James J. Hill House parlor on Sunday night.

Happy Haunting!

iPad App for Big Little Brother by Kevin Kling & Chris Monroe

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

phpgfJyaSWe are so happy to present our iPad app for Big Little Brother, the debut children’s book by beloved storyteller and popular commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered Kevin Kling, illustrated by Chris Monroe of Monkey with a Toolbelt fame!

This charming interactive storybook app for kids ages 3 to 7 traces a familiar arc from sibling rivalry to brotherly love. Being an older brother has its benefits, of that there’s little doubt. But how would you feel if your little brother grew to be bigger than you? And what if he insisted on touching all your things and following you everywhere you went? It’s enough to frustrate the most even-keeled of kids.

The narrator of Big Little Brother wants nothing more than to escape his brother’s sticky fingers. Then an encounter at the Old Woman in the Shoe play area involving a bully, a plastic turkey, and his big, little brother teaches him that a pesky younger sibling can actually be a pal.

The Big Little Brother app features audio by storyteller Kevin Kling, described as “one of our great national treasures” by public radio personality Krista Tippett. Many of the intricate illustrations by Chris Monroe hold extra dialogue and audio, available at a touch: spin the Tinkertoy wheel, put the turkey in the oven, turn out the lights. Hundreds of interactive details will surprise children (and adults) through many readings of Big Little Brother.

Don’t worry, you can also enjoy a hardcover edition of the book as well! Come meet Kevin and Chris at the following events:

Book Launch!
Saturday, November 19, 1:00 pm
Wild Rumpus Bookstore, Minneapolis, MN

Friday, November 25th, 3-4 pm
Birchbark Books, Minneapolis, MN  (Signing with Kevin, only)

Sunday, November 27, 2:00 pm
Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Sunday, December 4, 12:00 to 2:00 pm
The Bookstore at Fitger’s, Duluth, MN

Signing only with Kevin and Chris
Saturday, December 17, 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN

Twin Cities Book Festival

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Twin Cities Book Festival 09Are you one of those who just can’t get your fill of books? Do you like to meet the people behind the scenes? This Saturday, the Eleventh Annual Twin Cities Book Festival celebrates the books, magazines, authors, readers, and even publishers that make up our cities’ vibrant community of the word.

Organized by Rain Taxi Review of Books, this event is free and open to the public.

Press authors Patricia Hampl (St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tell Me True), Pete Hautman and John Coy (Libraries of Minnesota), Wing Young Huie (Frogtown, The University Avenue Project), N. M. Kelby (A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts), and Brett Laidlaw (Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager) join scores of others to talk about their works and give tips on writing. A full day of programming at the Children’s Pavilion (get them started right!), includes a yo-yo master and Bruce the Bug Guy. The complete schedule is here.

Stop by the Minnesota Historical Society Press table, where Press staffer Leslie Rask will be showing off our newest books and two Press authors will sign: Wing Young Huie at 1:30 and Brett Laidlaw at 2:00. See you there!

Saturday, October 15, 10:00-5:00

Minneapolis Community & Technical College

1501 Hennepin Avenue S., off Loring Park

Transforming Trauma

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Diane Wilson, author of Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life, shares how and why she came to write about overcoming the unrelenting trauma resulting from the colonization and assimilation of  the Dakota community. Her book profiles several contemporary Dakota people who are sustained by rich traditions, ceremonies, advocacy, and education and are transforming the legacy of colonization into a better way of life for their children.

Videos of Clifford CankuGabrielle Tateyuskanskan, two of the people featured in Beloved Child, are also available online. Video footage is from the book launch hosted by Birchbark Books and held at St. Paul Episcopal Church in Minneapolis.

Janet D. Spector (1944–2011), In Memoriam

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Dr. Janet D. Spector, professor emerita and former assistant provost at the University of Minnesota, and groundbreaking scholar of gender studies and American archaeology, died September 13 at her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a long struggle with a recurrence of breast cancer. She was 66.

Dr. Janet Spector

Dr. Janet Spector

“Janet Spector began her 25-year career at the University of Minnesota in 1973, a tumultuous time in academia. History, sociology and other disciplines were cracking open their doors to women’s long-left-out perspectives, and female scholars were standing up for their work against considerable pushback.

“With a fine blend of energetic curiosity, intellectual firepower and personal charm, Spector not only contributed significantly to the field of American archaeology, but also helped pave the way for other female scholars, according to colleagues and friends.” (Excerpted from the Star Tribune obituary, accessed online October 2, 2011, “Prof. Janet Spector, pioneering scholar at U,” by Pamela Miller,

Curator Marcia Anderson reflects on Dr. Spector’s pioneering work for 10,000 Books:

“I last heard the voice of Professor Janet Spector at a session of the 2008 Berkshire Conference for Women in the Twin Cities. She spoke about the awl featured on the cover of her 1993 book, What this Awl Means: Feminist Archaeology at a Wahpeton Dakota Village (Minnesota Historical Society Press). Spector described the object as evocative. It is a handsome object, but what made it evocative for her was that it was a common tool that was both decorated and well used. To anyone who works with material culture those two qualities tell us why objects have so much meaning for humans–and why individuals save and museums preserve them.

“One of Spector’s greatest contributions to the field of archaeology is her pioneering work in the development of a task differentiation model. This model makes it possible to distinguish gender and to document the activities and lives of women through materials, such as the awl, recovered during archaeological excavations. “Evocative” is an excellent descriptor but I also think the awl could be described as iconic. Iconic because it has come to symbolize an opened floodgate for so many people-people hungry for the voices and stories of women, as well as men, in our global past.”

(Marcia G. Anderson is an independent curator and is writing a book on Ojibwe bandolier bags.)  For further perspecitve on Dr. Spector’s work and life, please see the obituary by Barbara Noble, published by the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts, here.