Thunderous to be Recognized at National Book Festival
Humanities Montana is pleased to announce that Thunderous, by Mandy L. Smoker and Natalie Peeterse, has been selected by the Montana Center for the Book for the National Book Festival’s “Great Reads from Great Places” list. Thunderous exemplifies Montana’s literary heritage while providing voice to underrepresented ideas and stories.
Thunderous is a graphic novel that centers on young Aiyana (Lakota), who is more interested in social media than in her Native American heritage, and who finds herself in a magical world. Without cellphone service and tricked by Raven, Aiyana struggles to journey back home. Throughout her dangerous journey, and with the help of friends and allies in the Spirit World, Aiyana is challenged to embrace her Lakota heritage. Thunderous was illustrated by Dale DeForest and published in April 2022 by Dynamite Entertainment.
Mandy L. Smoker is a member of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation. She was a Montana State Poet Laureate from 2019–2021 along with poet Melissa Kwansy. Smoker holds an MFA from the University of Montana, where she was the recipient of the Richard Hugo Fellowship. She is the author of the poetry collection Another Attempt at Rescue (2005), and she co-edited Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights (2009) with Melissa Kwasny. Smoker currently works at Education Northwest as a practice expert in Indian Education. She served on the Humanities Montana board of directors from 2013–2021.
Natalie Peeterse also holds an MFA from the University of Montana. Her poetry chapbook Black Birds: Blue Horse, An Elegy won the Gold Line Press Poetry Prize in 2011. A second poetry chapbook, Dreadful: Luminosity, Letters, was published in the spring of 2017. Peeterse was included in I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights and several other anthologies. She is a recipient of the 2013 Artist Innovation Award by the Montana Arts Council. Peeterse lives in Helena and is the founder of Open Country Press.
Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Each book is selected by a local Center for the Book or state library, and most are for children and young readers. Dozens of authors, historians, American poets, and children’s writers are featured at the National Book Festival, which is a program of the Library of Congress. The 2022 National Book Festival returns this year to the Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Sept. 3. A selection of programs will be live-streamed, and video of all presentations can be viewed online after the festival concludes.
The Montana Center for the Book is a program of Humanities Montana and the state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Its mission is to promote awareness of books, writing, reading, the book arts, publishing, and literacy in Montana.