PSU English Prof. Monninger’s Young Adult Novel Named a Top Ten Best Book

February 6th, 2009 by Adam

A prestigious library group has chosen PSU English Professor Joe Monninger’s novel Baby as one of 2009’s best young adult books. The Young Adult Library Services Association reviewed nearly 200 nominated books before choosing the ten best. The books are nominated by librarians as having literary value and appeal to teens. Monninger said making the list is a wonderful surprise.

“This came completely out of the blue,” Monninger said. “The novel appeared in 2007, so I imagined the possibility for awards and nominations had passed by. For it to be considered, and to be named as one of the top ten books of 2008, is enormously rewarding. When you read the names of the other authors on the list, it’s thrilling to be included.”

Baby is the story of a troubled 15 year-old girl who is sent to a foster home in New Hampshire, where she is placed with an older couple that races sled dogs. The foster home experience brings balance to Baby’s life. Nancy Keane, a children’s literature librarian and author of the Children’s Literature Webpage, said Baby’s inclusion on the top ten list could mean thousands of new readers enjoying Monninger’s work.

“These are the books that librarians rely on when purchasing and recommending books for teens,” said Keane. “To make the top 10 list is huge.”

To view the Young Adult Library Services Association’s top ten list, go to

In addition to the latest accolade, Monninger received the 2008 Peace Corps Writers Award for Baby, winning the award in the Best Children’s Writing category.

Monninger has taught at Plymouth State since 1990. He is the author of nine works of fiction but, most recently, has turned toward writing creative nonfiction. Two of these are memoirs that have been widely praised by reviewers: Home Waters: Fishing with an Old Friend (Broadway Books, 1999) and Barn in New England: Making a Home on Three Acres (Chronicle Books, 2001) His recent book, Two Ton: One Night, One Fight — Tony Galento v. Joe Louis (Steerforth Press, 2006) has drawn excellent reviews for its in-depth perspective on 1930s boxing.

Monninger’s awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Fellowship in 2007. He has lectured at Dartmouth College, West Point and Harvard University.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or Bruce Lyndes