Young Readers One Book Arrives at SDHC Office

SDHC to Distribute “Bink and Gollie” Books next fall to SD Third Graders

Attention young readers in South Dakota: Get ready to meet Bink and Gollie!

The 2020 Young Readers One Book “Bink & Gollie: Three for One” has arrived at the South Dakota Humanities Council office in Brookings.

A special edition printed exclusively by Candlewick Press for elementary students in South Dakota, the book is bind-in of three books from the "Bink and Gollie" series by 2020 Young Readers One Book author Alison McGhee (co-written with Kate DiCamillo). It arrived in late April.

2020 Young Readers One Book by Alison McGhee.

A Fun Day

"It is a fun day for us when we get to unbox the annual Young Readers selection," said Jennifer Widman, Center for the Book Director. "The process is special because the book is printed specifically for the children in our state."

The book stars the irrepressible and precocious Bink and Gollie, created by McGhee and Kate DiCamillo, a Newbery medalist and past Festival presenter. Setting out from their super-deluxe tree house and powered by plenty of peanut butter (for Bink) and pancakes (for Gollie), the girls share three comical adventures involving painfully bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion.

Books to be Distributed

SDHC will distribute "Bink and Gollie" next fall to third graders in participating districts around the state. The students will then be invited to hear McGhee talk about the book at the 2020 South Dakota Festival of Books Oct. 2-4 in Brookings.* She will also meet young readers in Sioux Falls Oct. 1 and in Rapid City Oct. 5.  

Copies of the special edition are limited, but teachers, administrators or other employees of South Dakota schools can email jennifer@sdhumanities.org to inquire about getting books for their students. Arrangements may be different this year due to complications caused by COVID-19. Click here to read about SDHC's response to the pandemic in regard to events.

Veteran, Versatile Author McGhee Returns

"Bink and Gollie: Three for One" was announced during a special event at the SDHC office in December 2019, along with the 2020 One Book South Dakota (for adults), "Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church" by Megan Phelps-Roper.

"I was thrilled to hear that the Bink and Gollie books are the Young Readers selection for 2020! My marvelous collaborators Tony Fucile and Kate DiCamillo and I had so much fun making the books together, and I can't wait to laugh over Bink and Gollie's antics with kids in South Dakota next year," McGhee said after the selection. "From all three of us, thanks for choosing us!"

Since 2003, SDHC's One Book program has encouraged people across South Dakota to read and discuss the same book through the year. The South Dakota Humanities Council, whose mission is to "celebrate literature, promote civil conversation, and tell the stories that define our state," created the Young Readers One Book program in 2014 to encourage youth reading and combat summer reading loss.

While she will be featured in the Young Readers track, McGhee will also lead sessions for adults. "A versatile writer and a generous mentor for aspiring authors, Alison has been successful writing for children and adults," Widman said. "We're excited to have her return."

The 2020 Young Readers One Book is


Authors are Festival Fans, Too

In addition to winning the Theodor Geisel Award in 2011 for “Bink and Gollie,” McGhee’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated novel Shadow Baby was a Today Show Book Club pick, and her picture book for adults, Someday, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. Her honors include four Minnesota Book Awards, the Geisel medal, a MacDowell residency and several American Library Association awards. A professor of creative writing at Metropolitan State University, McGhee has three grown children and lives a semi-nomadic life in Minneapolis, Vermont and California.

McGhee is a huge Festival of Books fan herself; the author said during a recent live broadcast hosted by SDHC on Facebook (see above) that she loves to spend time with other writers at the event, a welcome contrast to her isolated creative process — and she’s not the only writer who feels that way. 

“People in South Dakota are so unique in your huge support of literature,” she said, adding that the Festival is “famous among writers around the country just because of the enthusiasm and the crowds and the way it’s so beautifully organized. You’re doing something so right in your state. And I just want to thank you for making me a small part of it.”

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