2005: God and Teens and Love and War

The seventeenth annual Minnesota Book Awards were held at the Women’s Club of Minneapolis on Saturday, April 16. Awards were presented in 13 book categories, as well as the Kay Sexton Award (honoree, Marly Rusoff, founder of The Loft Literary Center) and the Minnesota Humanities Prize for Literature (awarded to Joseph A. Amato).  The Awards ceremony culminated Saint Paul Celebrates Minnesota Books, coordinated by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. The week-long celebration featured Minnesota Book Award finalists and past winners, Minnesota publishers and other literary organizations. Partner organizations and funders included the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Beverly J. and John A. Rollwagen Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, The Black Dog Cafe, Bound to be Read, Coffee House Press, The Laurel Poetry Collective, Micawber’s Books, Milkweed Editions, Minnesota Historical Society Press, The Red Balloon Bookshop and the Saint Paul Public Library. The Minnesota Book Awards were supported by The Friends, The Pioneer Press and twincities.com, Target, Barnes & Noble, SPNN, Ticket Works and The Rake.

teen-brainx-largeThe Award for General Nonfiction went to Why Do They Act That Way? (A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen). The popular and practical guide by expert author and media favorite, David Walsh, presented new scientific evidence on the physical changes to the teen brain, and detailed advice that parents and teachers could use to protect, educate, and guide adolescents. Dr. Walsh showed why moodiness, quickness to anger and to take risks, miscommunication, fatigue, territoriality, and other familiar teenage behavior problems are so common — all are linked to physical changes and growth in the adolescent brain.


Pete Hautman won the Award for Young Adult Fiction and Poetry with Godless – which also won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The story of a teenage boy who decides to invent a new religion with a new god – the town’s water tower, Godless sparked religious controversy as many parents questioned the motivation behind the story. Pete Hautman responded to this controversy on his webpage.


Sir Elton John married David Furnish in London. The marriage came in the wake of new British laws affording gay unions the same legal protection enjoyed within straight marriages. In 2012, Minnesotans made history by defeating a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that would have made such a marriage illegal. Despite defeating the constitutional amendment, same-sex couples are still prohibited from marrying under Minnesota state law. In 2013, Minnesotans United is working to ensure that all loving and committed couples will have the freedom to marry.

David LaRochelle won the Award for Children’s Picture Books with The Best Pet of All, illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama. Here’s actress Reese Witherspoon reading The Best Pet of All at the White House Easter Egg Roll, April 5, 2010.


Pope John Paul II died April 2. Benedict XVI was elected as his successor on the second day of the papal conclave after four ballots. The former Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger had been hoping to retire peacefully and said, “At a certain point, I prayed to God ‘please don’t do this to me’… Evidently, this time He didn’t listen to me.” Less than eight years later, Pope Benedict announced his resignation, becoming the first Pope to resign in 600 years.


Extended essays and four-color photos highlighted Minnesota’s buildings and sites on the National Register of Historic Places, from the grand and polished to the simple and unadorned, in MHS Press’s (Nature and Minnesota) Award-winning Minnesota Treasures: Stories Behind the State’s Historic Places by Denis P. Gardner and Richard Moe. “The stories of the personalities behind each historic place are a powerful reminder that culture is created by people.”  — Bruce N. Wright


Former Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hardline conservative, won Iran’s presidential election with 62% of the vote. As president, he gained notoriety internationally for provocative comments calling for an end to Israel and denying the Holocaust happened, while pursuing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.


Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark…

Thus begins Billy Collins’  “The Names” – one of nearly 200 powerful, sometimes deeply personal poems, narratives, meditations, elegies, lamentations, odes, tributes, and battle hymns collected in the winner of the Anthology and Collections Award, Old Glory: American War Poems from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, edited by Robert Hedin with a foreword by Walter Cronkite.

What were you reading in 2005? Do the topics of this week’s post make you feel uneasy?

Click here to check out more 2005 Minnesota Book Awards winners and finalists!


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