2019 One Book SD, Young Readers One Book Announced

Don Montileaux (left) and Kent Nerburn speak at past South Dakota Festival of Books events. Montileaux and Nerburn are the 2019 Young Readers One Book and One Book South Dakota authors, respectively.  

'Neither Wolf Nor Dog,' 'Tatanka and Other Legends of the Lakota People' are 2019 Selections 

The South Dakota Humanities Council has revealed its 2019 common read selections for adults and young readers throughout the state.

During a special presentation Dec. 18 at its office in Brookings that was also live-streamed on Facebook, SDHC announced the 2019 One Book South Dakota, "Neither Wolf Nor Dog," by author Kent Nerburn and the Young Readers One Book, "Tatanka and Other Legends of the Lakota People," by Oglala Lakota tribal artist and author Donald F. Montileaux of Rapid City. The latter is a bind in of three works: "Tatanka and the Lakota People: A Creation Story," "Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend," and "Muskrat and Skunk: A Lakota Drum Story." For replay of the live event, please click below. 

Nerburn, Montileaux Featured at Past Festival of Books Events

Both authors have been featured at the organization's signature event, the annual South Dakota Festival of Books.

"Don and Kent have made valuable contributions to our South Dakota Festival of Books as past presenters, and both are extremely generous with their time and talents," said Jennifer Widman, director of the Festival of Books and the One Book South Dakota program. "We're excited to unite readers and writers of all ages around their thought-provoking work."

Since 2003, SDHC's One Book program has encouraged people across South Dakota to read and discuss the same book through the year, while the Young Readers One Book program began in 2014 to encourage youth reading and combat summer reading loss. Readers around the state, including those participating in SDHC-funded book club programs, will read and discuss Nerburn's book leading up to the 2019 Festival of Books Oct. 3-6 in Deadwood, where he'll be featured as the keynote speaker.

The statewide humanities organization will provide copies of Montileaux's book to 5,000 or more second graders this spring. As third graders in fall 2019, those students will meet Montileaux at Young Readers Festival of Books events, through school visits, or via live-streamed presentations. The South Dakota Historical Society Press is designing and printing the bind-in, as well as producing an audiobook to be distributed electronically to participating schools.

The 2019 One Book selections were announced during a presentation at the South Dakota Humanities Council office.

About Nerburn, "Neither Wolf Nor Dog"

2019 One Book SD Author Kent Nerburn.
Kent Nerburn is the 2019 One Book SD Author

Born and raised near Minneapolis, Nerburn earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Minnesota in American Studies. He went on to study humanities and religious studies at Stanford University before earning a doctorate in religious studies and art at the University of California at Berkeley. Originally a sculptor, Nerburn became a writer to reach broader audiences with his work. After spending 25 years in northern Minnesota, Nerburn and his wife now live near Portland, Ore.

A two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award, Nerburn is the author of 14 books on spiritual values and Native American themes, including "Letters to My Son," "Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce" and, most recently, "Dancing with the Gods."

"For several years I worked on the Red Lake Ojibwe reservation helping students collect the memories of the tribal elders," Nerburn said. "This changed my life and introduced me to the native spiritual traditions that have become so central to the message in my writings."

Perhaps his most well-known book, "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" was made into a feature film in 2016.

"I am humbled to have my unique literary child, 'Neither Wolf nor Dog,' chosen as the one book South Dakota selection for 2019," Nerburn said. "A Native elder once counseled me: 'You should always teach by story, because stories lodge deep in the heart.'"

Nerburn is excited that the entire state's citizens will be reading and discussing his book, which is told from a multicultural perspective.

"In 'Neither Wolf nor Dog' I tell the story of three men – two Native and one non-Native — as we journey through a world too often hidden and too little understood, and struggle to see the world through each others' eyes," he said. "I hope readers who share this journey will learn something of our complex and difficult intertwined histories and reflect on what it means to go forward as common children of this common land."

Montileaux and "Tatanka and Other Legends of the Lakota People"

Born in Pine Ridge, S.D., Montileaux is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He attended the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, N.M. and Black Hills State College in Spearfish, then worked for 22 years at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City before becoming a full-time artist.

War horses, buffalo, and warriors are the primary subjects of Montileaux's art, all telling a story through the use of movement, color and positioning of the subject with colored pencils and India ink.

In Lakota and English, "Tasunka: A Horse Legend" has won national awards including the Mom's Choice Award, Aesop Accolade Award, Moonbeam Children's Book Award, and the coveted Western Writers of America 2015 Spur Award. His work is represented in numerous private and public collections. In September 2014, Montileaux was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame as a Champion for Excellence, Arts & Entertainment/Artist.

Montileaux is the first tribal author and artist from South Dakota to be chosen as the statewide Young Readers One Book SD author.

"Wow. To receive news that I was selected out of so many wonderful authors and illustrators of children's books, this was quite an honor," Montileaux said. "The time one spends so that a finished book can be put into the hands of so many readers, which will influence many of all ages, is what one dreams of. To see that book in the hands of so many children is beyond words."

In 2019, SDHC will expand its efforts to provide copies to more students, including to youth who live on the nine Indian reservations in South Dakota. Montileaux hopes "Tatanka and Other Legends of the Lakota People," printed in both Lakota and English, will bring various forms of enlightenment to readers of all ages in South Dakota. 

"Being of mixed cultures, both which are rich in storytelling, I hope that people will first look at this book as a fun to read book; secondly that it makes them stop and appreciate the story that is unfolding, with the use of English and Lakota language and enticing them to want to research the stories more -- to find out more facts that cast a light on other cultures that have a rich and wonderful background," he said.

2019 Young Readers Author Don Montileaux.
2019 Young Readers Author Don Montileaux.
2019 Young Readers Author Don Montileaux.

Learn More About the One Book, Young Readers One Book Programs

For more information on the One Book and Young Readers One Book SD, please visit our One Book SD page and our Young Readers page. Copies of Nerburn's "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" will soon be available for "Book Club to Go" discussions via the SDHC lending library for a $50 application.