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ND Center for the Book

Library of Congress - Center for the Book

We are excited to announce that the North Dakota Center for the Book with the help of IMLS is sponsoring a

2024 Great Reads from Great Places ND Book Tour! 

The book tour event will feature a reading from the author, a Q & A / discussion, and a book signing. Libraries who are chosen will also receive a copy of the book, promotional items, bookmarks featuring the two titles, and brochures featuring the entire Great Reads from Great Places list.  

To be considered for an event, please fill out this form. Note that the chosen libraries will be based on availability of the author. When completing the form, please be as specific as possible when filling out the possible dates section. Feel free to add more than one!  

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.    

Great Reads from Great Places ND Book Tour - Lindsey Undlin

Great Reads from Great Places ND Book Tour - Jill Kandel


Every year, Center for the Book Affiliates designate one children and one adult book to represent their state at the National Book Festival. These books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage. To view other affiliate's selections click here

2024 Great Reads from Great Places 

The ND Center for the Book at the ND State Library is proud to announce North Dakota’s 2024 selections for the Great Reads from Great Places program hosted at the National Book Festival.

Founded in 2001 by Laura Bush and then-Librarian of Congress James Billington, the National Book Festival is an annual literary event meant to share the Library of Congress’s commitment to reading and literacy. Considered to be one of the most prominent literary events in the nation, it is an honor to have two fantastic reads representing North Dakota.

In the youth category, Spiral by Lindsey Undlin is the second book in the Priders Series and follows the ongoing high school struggles of Cali Horn. As if high school wasn't stressful enough, Cali now faces another threat: her basketball team members are being murdered. Tensions are high as Cali is picked for the All-Star team. Will she stay safe enough to play? Who else will be murdered? As a teen herself, Undlin knows the struggles of high school. Already an accomplished writer, this is Undlin's second book in the Prider Series. Her first book, Stolen, was published when she was just 14 years old. The series tells the stories and struggles of All-Stars, underdogs, and athletes who go unseen. Priders will be a four-book series. 

In the adult category, Jill Kandel's The Clean Daughter: A Cross-Continental Memoir recounts Kandel's life as she navigates the joys and tribulations of familial relationships. “Any marriage is complicated, but one where two people grew up speaking different languages and abiding by different cultural codes presents unique challenges. Insert a demanding Dutch father-in-law who grew up in Nazi-Occupied Holland – a healthy man who inexplicably decides to end his life by means of legalized euthanasia – and all the divergent, customs, laws, and rules seem insurmountable.” Kandel is also the author of So Many Africas: Six Years in a Zambian Village.

Undlin and Kandel's books will be featured in the Great Reads from Great Places booklist along with the selections from other states and US territories. The National Book Festival will be held in Washington, DC on August 24, 2024.

2024 North Dakota Selections


Spiral, the second book in the Priders Series, follows the ongoing high school struggles of Cali Horn. After surviving freshman year, Swallowsville sophomores Cali and Ray meet an unknown threat; their Varsity Basketball Team members are being murdered.During a rival game, Cali and Ray meet Angel Rodríguez, a celebrity ball player with a notorious history, who helps them stay safe enough to find the killer. But when Cali is picked for the All-Star Team, made up of the best players from all over the region, tensions are high as everyone fears for their lives. Where will the Elk appear next? What is Angel’s motivation for keeping Cali and Ray close? Why is the murderer targeting Varsity players?

Who else will die by the hand of the killer?


Instagram:         lindsey_undlin

Facebook:          Lindsey Undlin

Youtube:             Lindsey Undlin

The Clean Daughter

When Jill Kandel married Johan, a man from the Netherlands, she never imagined the influence her father-in-law, Izaak, would hold over her life. Beneath his calm demeanor and clerical garb, Izaak carried the wounds of growing up in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. Childhood chaos led him to become a man who had all the answers. For everyone. Except himself. Izaak decided to end his own life―while still a healthy man―using legalized euthanasia in the Netherlands. The long tumultuous relationship between daughter-in-law and father-in-law was over. But Kandel couldn’t move on. Ten years later, still exhausted by thoughts of Izaak, she returned to the Netherlands to search for understanding. The Clean Daughter is a story about building family across cultural, linguistic, and geographical divides. The complicated ways families both destroy and heal one another underpin Kandel’s story of a family held together by tenacity, curiosity, and courage.

Author Website:

2024 Great Reads North Dakota Resources

Past ND Selections

2023 Youth Selection

Josie Dances

Josie dreams of dancing at next summer’s powwow. But first she needs many special things: a dress, a shawl, a cape, leggings, moccasins, and, perhaps most important of all, her spirit name. To gather all these essential pieces, she calls on her mom, her aunty, her kookum, and Grandma Greatwalker. They have the skills to prepare Josie for her powwow debut. As the months go by, Josie practices her dance steps while Mom stitches, Aunty and Kookum bead, and Grandma Greatwalker dreams Josie’s spirit name. Josie is nervous about her performance in the arena and about all the pieces falling into place, but she knows her family is there to support her. The powwow circle is a welcoming space, and dancers and spectators alike celebrate Josie’s first dance. When she receives her name, she knows it’s just right. Wrapped in the love of her community, Josie dances to honor her ancestors.

In this Ojibwe girl’s coming-of-age story, Denise Lajimodiere highlights her own daughter’s experience at powwow. Elegant artwork by Angela Erdrich features not only Josie and her family but also the animals and seasons and heartbeat of Aki, Mother Earth, and the traditions that link Josie to generations past and yet to come. - Minnesota Historical Society Press

2023 Adult Selection

Boys & Oil 

In visceral prose, Brorby recounts his upbringing in the coalfields; his adolescent infatuation with books; and how he felt intrinsically different from other boys. Now an environmentalist, Brorby uses the destruction of large swathes of the West as a metaphor for the terror he experienced as a youth. From an assault outside a bar in an oil boom town to a furtive romance, and from his awakening as an activist to his arrest at the Dakota Access Pipeline, Boys and Oil provides a startling portrait of an America that persists despite well-intentioned legal protections. - W.W. Norton

2022 Youth Selection

The Rise of Greg

The Dawn of Magic has arrived, and thirteen-year-old Greg Belmont and his friends have only a few weeks left to figure out how to keep the modern world from falling into utter chaos. Greg's former best friend (and current archenemy), Edwin, and his Elven army believe the only way to save the life on earth is to steal the world's magic supply and keep it only for the Elves. But Greg knows Edwin must be stopped. He and his friends will journey from the ancient forests of Russia to the bottom of the San Francisco Bay--battling plenty of fierce creatures and gaining some surprising new allies along the way--and back to the streets of Chicago for the final battle for the fate of magic on earth. Will Greg and his friends save the world? Or will epic failure strike again when it matters most?

2022 Adult Selection

The Farmer's Lawyer 

"In the early 1980s, farmers were suffering through the worst economic crisis to hit rural America since the Great Depression. Desperate, they called Sarah Vogel, a young lawyer. Sarah brought a national class action lawsuit, which pitted her against the Reagan administration's Department of Justice, in her fight for family farmers' rights. A story about justice and holding the powerful to account, The Farmer's Lawyer shows how the farm economy we all depend on almost fell apart what we can learn from Sarah's battle as a similar calamity looms large on our horizon once again"-- Back cover.

2021 Selection

The Curse of Greg 

Greg Belmont longs for the days when he thought he was an ordinary thirteen-year-old, before he learned he's really a fantastical Dwarf in a world where the return of magic has reignited an ancient feud between the Dwarves and the Elves. But now that magic is spreading rapidly, calling forth mythical monsters that are wreaking total havoc on earth, he knows things will never go back to normal. To make matters worse, rumors are growing that the Elves are planning a sinister attack -- and their new leader might be none other than Greg's former best friend, Edwin. Before they can say "Galdervatn," Greg and his Dwarven friends find themselves up against perilous dangers that their training has barely prepared them for. Can Greg and his bloodthirsty talking ax keep them out of harm's way long enough to prevent all-out war? Or will epic failure find him yet again?

2020 Selection

The Night Watchman

It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'emancipation' bill; but it isn't about freedom - it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie - 'Patrice' - Paranteau has no desire to wear herself down on a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother, let alone her alcoholic father who sometimes returns home to bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to get if she's ever going to get to Minnesota to find her missing sister Vera. In The Night Watchman multi-award winning author Louise Erdrich weaves together a story of past and future generations, of preservation and progress. She grapples with the worst and best impulses of human nature, illuminating the loves and lives, desires and ambitions of her characters with compassion, wit and intelligence.

2019 Selection

The Legend of Greg 

Risk-averse Greg Belmont is content with being ordinary. He's got a friend -- -that's right, just one -- at his fancy prep school, and a pretty cool dad (even if he is obsessed with organic soaps that smell like a mix of salted pork and Icelandic bog). The problem is, Greg isn't ordinary. He's actually an honest-to-goodness, fantastical Dwarf! He discovers the truth the day his dad brings home a gross new tea -- one that awakens bizarre abilities in Greg. Then a murderous Bro-Troll kidnaps his dad and Greg is whisked away to the Underground, where Dwarves have lived for centuries right beneath the streets of Chicago. With the help of some awesome new friends and a talking ax, Greg learns all about the history of the Dwarves, which has been marked with tales of epic failure since the dawn of time. However, the return of the magic they once wielded means big changes are afoot, escalating tensions with the Dwarves' sworn enemy: the Elves.

2018 Selection

I Survived the Children's Blizzard 1888

Eleven-year-old John Hale has already survived one brutal Dakota winter, and now he's about to experience one of the deadliest blizzards in American history. The storm of 1888 was a monster, a frozen hurricane that slammed into America's midwest without warning. Within hours, America's prairie would be buried under ten feet of snow. Hundreds would be dead, thousands terrified and lost and freezing. John never wanted to move to the wide-open prairie. He's a city kid, not a tough pioneer! And his inner strength is seriously tested when he finds himself trapped in the blinding snow, the wind like a giant crushing hammer, pounding him over and over again. Will John ever find his way home?

2017 Selection

Runs with Courage

Ten-year-old Four Winds is a young Lakota girl caught up in the changes brought about by her people's forced move to the reservation. Set in the Dakota Territory, it is the year 1880. Four Winds has been taken away from her family and brought to a boarding school run by whites. It is here she is taught English and learns how to assimilate into white culture. But soon she discovers that the teachers at this school are not interested in assimilation but rather in erasing her culture. On the reservation, Four Winds had to fight against starvation. Now she must fight to hold on to who she is.

2016 Selection


Named for the Ojibwe word for little bear, Makoons and his twin, Chickadee, have traveled with their family to the Great Plains of 1860s Dakota Territory. There they must learn to become buffalo hunters and once again help their people make a home in a new land. But Makoons has had a vision that foretells great challenges -- challenges that his family may not be able to overcome. (Based on the author's own family history.)

2015 Selection

Countdown Zero 

Ever since Carson Fender was let go by the secret agency that had enlisted his services to help foil a nefarious plot perpetrated by one of their former agents, he's been back to hanging with his friends, pulling pranks, and not having to lie to everyone about how he's spending his days. And that's for the best, isn't it? Of course, this was all before a note showed up in his school lunch, informing him that Agent Nineteen had three days left to live, and that there might still be someone inside the Agency working against them. Carson has always been able to rely on his friends -- but what happens when there's no one left to trust?

2014, 2011, 2010 Selection


A biography of the Shoshone girl, Sacagawea, from age eleven when she was kidnapped by the Hidatsa to the end of her journey with Lewis and Clark, plus speculation about her later life.

2013 Selection

A Boy Called Slow 

Anxious to be given a name as strong and brave as that of his father, a proud Lakota Sioux grows into manhood, acting with careful deliberation, determination, and bravery, which eventually earned him his proud new name: Sitting Bull.

2012 Selection


In 2000, teenage dino-hunter Tyler Lyson stumbled across the fossil remains of a hadrosaur in the remote hills of the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota. More than a collection of fossilized bones, Tyler discovered a threedimensional mummified dinosaur -- a dinomummy. He and a paleontologist from the University of Manchester in England, Dr. Phil Manning, led an excavation that would change the way we think about dinosaurs. Named for its place of discovery, "Dakota" was gradually uncovered and moved to a lab for further excavation and analysis. Tyler and Phil's enthusiasm, expertise, and years of work blend as this paleontological detective story unfolds. Stunning computer-generated artwork, based on fieldwork and laboratory studies of the hadrosaur specimen, brings Dakota and its environment back to life on the pages of this amazing book. Travel back in time to explore Hell Creek 65 million years ago, when herds of hadrosaurs migrated across vast floodplains. Dakota died during the Late Cretaceous Period on the floodplains of North America and its body was locked in a rocky tomb. But Dakota's story was far from over. From the rugged badlands of Hell Creek to high-tech scientific labs, photographs document the incredible story of two men and a very special dinosaur.

2009 & 2008 Selection

Gift Horse

Relates the story of a Lakota youth whose father gives him a horse in preparation for his making the transition from boyhood into manhood and becoming a Lakota Warrior.

2007 Selection

The Range Eternal 

A young Native American girl who considers her family's wood-burning stove to be the heart of her home in the Turtle Mountains must adapt when it is replaced.
"At the heart of a home in the Turtle Mountains sits a woodstove. It is where Mama makes her good soup, where she cooks a potato for warming hands on icy mornings, where she heats a stone for warming cold toes at night. It warms the winter nights and keeps Windigo, the ice monster, at bay. On the stove's blue enamel door are raised letters, The Range Eternal, and in the dancing flames through the window below a child can see pictures: the range of the buffalo, the wolf and the bear, the eagles and herons and cranes: truly, the Range Eternal. In these charmingly illustrated pages, Louise Erdrich tells a story of hearth and home, of memory and imagination, of a shiny blue woodstove, of the warm heart of family."--book jacket.

2006 Selection

P is for Peace Garden

"An A-Z pictorial for children ages 4-10 all about North Dakota including, famous people, geography, history, and state symbols. Letter topics are introduced with poems accompanied by expository text to provide detailed information"--Provided by publisher.

2005 Selection


He was etched by the desert's howling winds, a big, broad-shouldered man who knew the ways of the Apache and the ways of staying alive. She was a woman alone raising a young son on a remote Arizona ranch. And between Hondo Lane and Angie Lowe was the warrior Vittoro, whose people were preparing to rise against the white men. Now the pioneer woman, the gunman, and the Apache warrior are caught in a drama of love, war, and honor.

2004 Selection

A Vast and Open Plain

A Vast and Open Plain": The Writings of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in North Dakota, 1804-1806 features all the writings -- journal entries, reports, and letters -- by the members of the Corps of Discovery during their 215 days within the borders of present-day North Dakota. It is the first book to feature all such writings done within a single state along the Lewis and Clark trail.

2004 Selection


Potter eloquently tells the story of Sheheke, the Mandan Indian who traveled from North Dakota with Lewis and Clark to meet President Thomas Jefferson in Washington, D.C., in 1806. The story of Sheheke’s life has been too long untold. Sheheke was an ambassador for the Mandan Nation, a consistent friend of the United States, and an important part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In sharing his story, his legacy of kindness, friendship, and courage lives on.

2002 Selection

Sacagawea: American Pathfinder

Describes how Sacagawea found adventure guiding Lewis and Clark to the Oregon coast.

Great Reads from Great Places: Video

Along with the selections from state affiliates, the Library of Congress puts together videos from each region highlighting the chosen books and authors. Below is the 2022 video for the Western II region where ND resides. 

  • Colorado - "A Woman of Light: A Novel" by Kali Fajardo-Anstine 
  • North Dakota - "The Farmer's Lawyer: The North Dakota Nine and the Fight to Save the Family Farm"  by Sarah Vogel 
  • South Dakota - "Our History is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance" by Nick Estes 
  • Utah - "When I was Red Clay: A Journey of Identity, Healing, and Wonder" by Jonathan T. Bailey.

To see the full list or to watch videos from the other regions, please visit the Library of Congress website.

Great Reads from Great Places: Western II Untold Stories. 2022. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

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Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.