S.D. State Historical Society Press book wins national award

S.D. State Historical Society Press book wins national award The first children's book from the South Dakota State Historical Society Press has received a national award.

Janet Howe Townsley, author and illustrator of Dakota Dreams: Fannie Sabra Howe's Own Story, 1881-1884, was awarded a certificate of commendation from the American Association for State and Local History.

The association's annual award program is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of local, state and regional history.

Dakota Dreams is based on the diary of a girl who homesteaded with her family near Mellette in Spink County and watched the building of the town. Fannie's father, Charles Howe, built an elevator, store and the family's home in Mellette. The elevator and the house, with its four-story tower, were both round buildings and remained well-known landmarks until being torn down in 1964.

Janet Howe Townsley, who now resides in Center Harbor, NH, is a great-niece of Fannie Howe and remembers staying in the round house. When Townsley read Fannie's diary, she was impressed both by the narrative style and by the interesting details of daily life.

As a former teacher, Townsley recognized the value of her great-aunt's diary for teaching younger readers about the past. Dakota Dreams is designed for readers in grades four through seven.

The publication of Dakota Dreams was funded by a grant from the Mary Chilton Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution through the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation in Sioux Falls. Funds also came from the "Preserving the Past ? Serving the Future" capital-gifts campaign of the State Historical Society.

Established in 1997, the SD SHS Press publishes new studies on South Dakota and regional themes, reprints historically valuable materials, and promotes historic preservation and archaeological research.

The State Historical Society is an office within the Department of Tourism and State Development.

Dakota Dreams can be purchased by calling the SDSHS Press at (605) 773-6009 or by e-mail at sdshspress@state.sd.us.

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