Wyoming Humanities announces its selections for the 2024 National Book Festival

Following an extensive review process, Wyoming Humanities has announced its choices for the 2024 National Book Festival: The Wolves of Yellowstone: A Rewilding Story by Catherine Barr and Ridgeline by Michael Punke.

Selection of these books was coordinated through the Wyoming Center for the Book, which is part of Wyoming Humanities. A panel — which included Terri Lesley, the former director of the Campbell County Library, and Christine Braddy, the director of the Goshen County Library — was chosen to read and consider several Wyoming-related books for this year’s event.

The children’s book The Wolves of Yellowstone is a fascinating true story of the wolves who restored the ecosystem at Yellowstone National Park, written by Barr and illustrated by Jenni Desmond. The work has been called “engaging, informative, and hopeful” and strives to show the role each creature plays in sustaining a thriving ecosystem.

Barr is fascinated by nature and the power of words. A writer of 35 books, she hopes to encourage children to get involved in protecting our natural world while embracing the collaborative journey of working with scientists and other experts.

“Wolves are an integral part of Wyoming’s history, in and around Yellowstone National Park. When selecting a youth title, the selection committee wanted a book that was both informative and engaging, The Wolves of Yellowstone, meets both qualifications,” said Lucas Fralick, who serves as the coordinator for the Wyoming Center for the Book. “It excites the reader into wanting more, making the park come to life through deep research and beautifully illustrated images.”

Ridgeline is this year’s selection for adult readers. Wyoming author Michael Punke, best known for his novel The Revenant, won multiple awards for this thrilling historical fiction novel.

Throughout this taut saga―based on real people and events― Punke brings the same immersive, vivid storytelling and historical insight that made his breakthrough debut so memorable. As Ridgeline builds to its epic conclusion, it grapples with essential questions of conquest and justice that still echo today.

“The selection committee agreed that this book draws attention to a lesser-known aspect of the Wyoming story,” Fralick shared. “It leads us to consider the very real impacts of settler and business on Native American lands during a crucial period in the region’s history. Beyond that, Punke wrote an engaging novel that keeps readers in suspense throughout.”

The writings will be Wyoming’s “Great Reads from Great Places” selections at the annual festival, which highlights youth and adult books representing all 50 states. This literary event – which takes place Aug. 24 in Washington, D.C. – brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and more.

The National Book Festival Roadmap to Reading is made possible by the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional support from Chief Officers of State Library Agencies.