Inspired by a ferocious storm that struck Dakota Territory in 1888, the 2021 One Book South Dakota "The Children's Blizzard" is a historical novel that hits close to home.
Covering events that occurred in what is now South Dakota, the newly released Melanie Benjamin novel is particularly intriguing for residents of the state.
Mitchell Public Library will host a discussion of The Children's Blizzard on Saturday, August 14th at 3:00 PM, at the Corn Palace Outdoor Plaza. Marilyn Carlson Aronson, a South Dakota Humanities Council scholar, will lead the discussion. For more information, contact Zack North at 605-995-8480 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mitchell Public Library has copies of The Children's Blizzard available for check-out. Copies are available at the front desk.
The Children's Blizzard tells the story of a historic event that occurred in South Dakota. The One Book South Dakota discussions help fulfill the South Dakota Humanities Council's mission to "celebrate literature, promote civil conversation, and tell the stories that define our state."
The One Book announcement coincided with the 133rd anniversary of the titular blizzard and the release date of Benjamin's newest novel, which is based on the oral histories of the storm's survivors. On January 12th, 1888, a mild day in Dakota Territory turned into a deadly blizzard. Because students had gone to school without their heavy coats, many young schoolteachers were faced with a life and death decision: allow the children to go out in the blizzard in hopes of making it home or stay in the schoolhouse and risk being trapped.
Benjamin tells the fictional stories of sisters Raina and Gerda Olsen, schoolteachers in southeastern South Dakota and northeastern Nebraska, who make very different decisions on that fateful day. Other main characters include servant girl Anette Pedersen and newspaperman Gavin Woodson. Join other readers to discuss this important experience and how ordinary people face extraordinary events and make difficult decisions.