The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 by the American Library Association to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. This year the ALA has selected The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters for fiction, and We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America by Roxanna Asgarian for nonfiction
The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters
In 1962, an Indigenous Mi’kmaq family is in Maine to pick summer blueberries when their youngest child, four-year-old Ruthie, disappears. Her six-year-old brother, Joe, saw her last. Told in alternating, first-person chapters from Joe and a narrator called Norma, this braided novel fascinates. While little is easy for Peters’ characters, in the end, for all of them, there is hope.
We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America by Roxanna Asgaria
Investigative reporter Asgarian’s years of work getting to know the birth families of six children killed by their adoptive parents in 2018 uncovered a devastating web of intergenerational poverty, violence, and wrenching separations. She exposes the tragedy of what happened and the ongoing, insupportable failings of the foster system.