(Past program) Lake Forest Reads 2023

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2023 Selection

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Named a Best Book for 2021 by Book Riot, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest; earned a Rave review from Book Marks; named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Literary Hub, Bustle, Thrillist, Observer, Alma, The Millions, the Star Tribune, with starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and BookPage.

A thoughtful, moving meditation on connections to the past and the land that humans abandon at their peril.
–Kirkus Reviews

Compelling ... "The Seed Keeper" invokes the strength that women, land, and plants have shared with one another through generations.
–Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of "Braiding Sweetgrass"


About the Book

A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakota family's struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.

Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, until, one morning, he doesn't return. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato―where she meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they've inherited. Years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home and begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron―women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.

Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.

Go to the catalog to borrow The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson

Photo Credit: Sarah Whiting

About the Author

Diane Wilson (Dakota) is a writer and educator, who has published four award-winning books as well as essays in numerous publications. Her first picture book, Where We Come From, co-written with John Coy, Sun Yung Shin, and Shannon Gibney, was released in October 2022.

Wilson's 2021 novel, The Seed Keeper, received the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for Fiction. Her memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past won a 2006 Minnesota Book Award and was selected for the 2012 One Minneapolis One Read program. Her 2011 nonfiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life was awarded the 2012 Barbara Sudler Award from History Colorado. Wilson's middle-grade biography, Ella Cara Deloria: Dakota Language Protector, was an Honor selection for the 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Award. Her essays have appeared in many anthologies, including: Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations (2021); We Are Meant to Rise (2021); and A Good Time for the Truth (2016).

Wilson has received a 2013 Bush Foundation Fellowship as well as awards from Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and a 50 Over 50 Award from Pollen/Midwest.

Wilson is the former Executive Director for Dream of Wild Health, an Indigenous non-profit farm, and the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a national coalition of tribes and organizations working to create sovereign food systems for Native people.

Wilson is a Mdewakanton descendant, enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation.

Learn more about the author Diane Wilson.


Read · Discuss · Attend

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Indigenous Seed Keepers Network

How Native Americans Are Saving Vegetables from Extinction

Resources & Organizations

illinoisplants.org: Recommended resources for plant identification in Illinois and surrounding regions.

Learn about the 3 sisters planting method and download a recipe from Native Partnership.

Lake Forest Open Lands Association is an independently funded conservation and educational organization devoted to the acquisition and stewardship of our natural landscapes, and to ensuring all generations have a meaningful, lasting connection to nature and our land.

Lake County Forest Preserves: Native Plants and Healthy Hedges

Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.


Thank You to Our Partners

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2023 Lake Forest Reads events are also provided in support of Native Voices, the community-wide initiative to illuminate Native communities in the Lake Forest and surrounding areas. For details, visit www.lfola.org/native-voices.