Dream Country on more ‘Best of 2018’ lists

Dream Country was named a Best Book of 2018 in the Best YA Historical Fiction  category, by Kirkus.


The judges highlighted this phrase from the initial review: “A necessary reckoning of tensions within the African diaspora—an introduction to its brokenness and a place to start healing.”

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What She Reads also included Dream Country on its Best YA Books of 2018 list.

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Jena Brown writes, “Gibney shows us in raw, unflinching detail how racism looks. How it feels. How it stems and grows, from one group of people to another, blossoming and breeding, hate fueling and feeding hate, from one generation to the next. This story is emotional. It’s uncomfortable. But it’s real. Without understanding the pain of our past, how can we possibly grasp the difficulty in our present? Gibney answers, we can’t. This is a book for teens who have ever felt marginalized. Who have ever felt that they don’t fit, they don’t belong, that they aren’t enough. For anyone that has ever wanted to understand. The deep exploration of very real topics stemming from this story will be ones that stay with you, long after these pages end.”


Dream Country also made the cut at Teen Librarian Toolbox, as one of Amanda MacGregor’s favorites of 2018.


She writes, “Gibney’s complex look at one family, told through a wide scope, is moving and unlike anything I have ever read before in YA. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Don’t miss it.”


Finally, Audiofile magazine has given Dream Country an “Earphone Award,” which is basically the equivalent of a starred review.

Bahni Turpin narrates.

Wrapping up 2018

As we speed towards the epic end of the year, lots of good news keeps on popping.

NYPL Best Books of 2018

Last week, the New York Public Library announced that Dream Country made its list of Best Books of 2018, in the teen category.

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Also, last week, librarian Jonathan Hunt authored an interesting post on SLJ’s “Pondering Printz” blog, in which he mentioned Dream Country as a title that should have more Printz buzz.


Hunt writes, “Dream Country by Shannon Gibney, on the other hand, doesn’t have much Printz buzz despite fabulous reviews. It’s the story of one family across five generations and two countries: the United States and Liberia. This book is epic in every sense of the word, from the numerous characters and various settings to a deep exploration of how slavery and racism resonate through the history of two continents.”


The Printz is the highest award offered for YA literature, and is awarded annually by the ALA.

Finally, Penguin Teen highlighted Dream Country in an article on “Books that offer understanding to the refugee experience,” this week.


November News!

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Shannon’s short essay “My Blackness. (Still) Unfinished,” appeared on mnartists‘ “Blackness and the Not-Yet Finished” series this month, curated by Chaun Webster.




Author Debbie Gonzales interviewed Shannon this month on her podcast, in order to “explore the sports novel as a medium granting athletic protagonists a feeling of authenticity, emotional resonance, and genuine challenges – both on and off of the field.”

You can listen to it here.




This week, Shannon received a literary invitation to participate in and share Dream Country at Politico‘s Women Rule Summit, in Washington DC on December 11.

To say that she is tickled would be an understatement.


Politico writes that, “The Women Rule program offers carefully tailored programming, events and insightful content, as well as the support and connection of a growing and dedicated community of influential women.”


Five starred reviews…Plus, more events!

Dream Country  has received its fifth starred review, from Publisher’s Weekly.


From the review: “With riveting, lyrical prose, Gibney’s accomplished novel explores universal themes of home, family, power struggles, and endurance while demonstrating the liberating power of storytelling.”

Also…More events!

Shannon will read and be in conversation with Korean author Kim Sagwa about her new Milkweed novel, Mina, this Friday night, October 12, 7 pm, at Milkweed Editions, 1011 Washington Ave. S, in Minneapolis.

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Shannon will also be on a YA literature panel at the Twin Cities Book Festival, this Saturday, October 13, at 1:30 pm:

Young Readers and Teen Stage, Progress Center, 1:30pm

Authors Shannon Gibney (Dream Country), Tiffany Jackson (Monday’s Not Coming), and Kiersten White (The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein) show their character-crafting chops in their new books, and we want to know how they do it. Join these powerhouse authors as they share the stories and inspirations behind their complex characters and the complex worlds in which they live.


Shannon reads at Marcus Books, 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, in Oakland, California,  the evening of Friday, October 19. More details forthcoming.

She also gives the Core Convocation Lecture at St. Kate’s on Wednesday, November 7, 7-8:30 pm, in the Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium (details below).


Join Shannon for a reading and discussion of Dream Country at Paperbacks and Pieces bookstore, 429 Mankato Ave., in Winona, on Thursday, November 15, 5-7 pm.

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More upcoming Dream Country events + press

Shannon has three more readings this coming week:


Monday, September 17, 6:30 pm, at Red Balloon Bookshop.

Shannon Gibney, DREAM COUNTRY

Minneapolis author Shannon Gibney brings her new young adult novel, Dream Country, to Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul. Join Shannon (See No Color) in conversation with fellow author Bryan Bliss (We’ll Fly Away) around Dream Country, the heartbreaking story of five generations of young people from a single African-and-American family pursuing an elusive dream of freedom. Find out more about the book reviewers are calling “incredible,” “heart-wrenching,” “masterfully epic,” and “a necessary reckoning.” Join the conversation with these two amazing authors, and get your books signed, too!

Tuesday, September 18, 7 pm, at Ramsey County Library, Shoreview.


In partnership with East Side Freedom Library and Do Good Roseville, this special event at Ramsey County Library in Shoreview will feature a reading of book excerpts, a discussion with St. Kate’s Professor of English Dr. Taiyon Coleman, and an audience Q&A session.

Written for young adults, “Dream Country” is a heartbreaking story of five generations of young people from a single African-and-American family pursuing an elusive dream of freedom.

Books will be available for purchase from Moon Palace Books.


Friday, September 21, 7 pm, Women and Children First Books.



Check out more press on Dream Country:

“Author finds rich story in Liberia’s American roots,” MPR, September 11.

“Dream Country blog tour,” Jenabrownwrites, September 12.

 “Windows and Mirrors: Dream Country, by Shannon Gibney, The Winged Pen, September 13.

“Blog Tour Review: Dream Country, by Shannon Gibney, In Tori Lex, September 13.

Publisher’s Weekly featured this picture (taken by Andrew Karre) and caption from the Dream Country book launch in their “In Brief” feature on September 13:

A Meaningful Moment

Author Shannon Gibney celebrated the launch of her novel, Dream Country (Dutton), which spans generations and explores a family’s immigration from Liberia to America. The event was held at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, Minn., on September 12. The author spoke in conversation with Dr. Taiyon Coleman, a professor at the school, and answered audience questions. At the event, Gibney (l.) met a 20-year-old Liberian student, who was born in a refugee camp. During the Q&A, the student expressed how much the book meant to her.


More Dream Country Press

“In Dream Country, Minnesota Book Award-winner Shannon Gibney confronts ‘history that hasn’t been confronted.”

–St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Review: Dream Country.”

–Star Tribune

“20 new books your friends are going to be talking about this September.”


“Shannon Gibney: On Identity.”

–88 Cups of Tea

“The 19 best new YA books coming out in September 2018.”


“Shannon Gibney: Under-told stories.”

–Minnesota Women’s Press

“16 must-read YA books of fall 2018.”


Early buzz and praise for Dream Country



Early buzz for DREAM COUNTRY by Shannon Gibney!


DREAM COUNTRY by Shannon Gibney

Dutton / on sale September 11, 2018 / ages 14 & up



«A marvelous literary tapestry.” Booklist, starred review


« “A necessary reckoning.” –Kirkus Reviews, starred review


« Historically grand and intimately detailed.” –BCCB, starred review


« “An excellent choice.” –School Library Journal, starred review



THE LILY, the Washington Post’s online vertical for women ran a “Three Questions” interview with Shannon Gibney about DREAM COUNTRY in today’s newsletter. Read and share the full interview here!



The 88 CUPS OF TEA podcast taped an interview with Shannon Gibney onDREAM COUNTRY. The episode will release the first week of September.   


HELLO GIGGLES (11.5 million uvpm) will include DREAM COUNTRY in a “New Releases” roundup the week of September 10th.  


THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE (circ. 260,975) will review DREAM COUNTRYin early September.


THE ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS (circ. 177,349) will run an interview with Shannon Gibney about DREAM COUNTRY to release the week of on-sale, September 10th.  


BOOKRIOT (1.2 million uvpm) recently spotlighted DREAM COUNTRY in both its “What’s Up in YA” newsletter and “Hey YA” podcast.  BOOKRIOT also includedDREAM COUNTRY in a roundup of “Books About Immigrants” roundup.


PUBLISHERS WEEKLY included DREAM COUNTRY in a piece on “First-Generation” stories earlier this year.


B&N TEEN highlighted DREAM COUNTRY in its list of “Our Most Anticipated Sophomore YA Novels of 2018: July to December.”



This fall Shannon Gibney will participate in a variety of regional appearances including:


September 12 – Dream Country Launch Event

St. Catherine’s University (St. Paul, MN)


September 18  – Local event in conversation with Dr. Taiyon Coleman

Shoreview Library (Shoreview, MN)


September 21 – Reading & Signing at Women & Children First (Chicago, IL)


October 4 – Heartland Fall Forum (Minneapolis, MN)


October 13 – Twin Cities Book Festival (Minneapolis, MN)


October 19 – Reading & Signing at Marcus Books (Oakland, CA)


November 4 – “Minding Your Mind in Teen Literature” Panel (Excelsior, MN)

Trinity Church, book sales by Excelsior Bay Books




A Midwest Connections Selection


« “A marvelous literary tapestry of family, sacrifice, and dreamsPowerful.”

Booklist, starred review


«  “A moving and melancholic metaphor for the struggle for place and home experienced by those still trapped by the legacy of the triangle of trans-Atlantic trade…. A necessary reckoning of tensions within the African diaspora—an introduction to its brokenness and a place to start healing.”   Kirkus Reviews, starred review


«Historically grand and intimately detailed.”BCCB, starred review


«  “The importance of giving immigrants power to create their own story is wonderfully illustrated in this book. An excellent choice for both public and school libraries.”  School Library Journal, starred review


“[A]n illumination of how humans end up treating each other cruelly and how they resist.” The Horn Book


Remarkable…Gibney weaves this painful history masterfully.” –BookRiot


Dream Country is gut wrenching and incredible.”—Sabaa Tahir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes


“This story, both sprawling and intimate by turns, is a miracle of construction, and Gibney fits its diasporic pieces the way a master should—with a keen eye, an open heart, a courageous spirit, and a sharp, sharp needle. This novel is a remarkable achievement.—Kelly Barnhill, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Newbery Medal


“In Dream Country, Shannon Gibney has masterfully woven together the histories of America and Africa through the multigenerational journeys of young people in search of home and self. Beautifully epic, timely, and outstanding in its breadth and scope, this story truly conveys what it means to be African American.”—Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street, National Book Award Finalist


“Shannon Gibney has taken history and imagination and gelled them into a time machine. Here is tragedy and survival, struggle and love, rendered with precision and an empathy born of a writer who has experienced the ‘dream-loop’ of history. Sometimes a story can’t promise healing, or neat closure. Sometimes a story, even a magical one like this, is the necessary reopening of a wound. —Bao Phi, award winning author of A Different Pond and Thousand Star Hotel

Dream Country is a gift of storytelling, of culture, and of understanding for an America that needs this book desperatelyThrough stories woven of manhood and humanity, of growing up and growing into oneself, Gibney shows us how the worlds between us grow wider even as our world grows smaller. She takes us through time and space to find the heart of an imperfect home.”—Kao Kalia Yang, award winning author of The Latehomecomer

Fans of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing will eagerly embrace this outstanding intergenerational family saga by Shannon Gibney. Skipping across 200 years of history, the characters in Dream Country encounter danger, trauma, and the unwavering desire to find a better life for themselves and their children. This is a must read for 2018 and will have readers of all ages talking and remembering these characters.”—Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books





«School Library Journal—starred review!—August issue

«Kirkus Reviews—starred review!—August 15 issue

«Booklist—starred review!—September issue

«BCCB—starred review!—September issue

The Horn Book—review—September/October issue

The Minneapolis Star Tribune—review—September TK

The St. Paul Pioneer Press—interview—September TK



BookRiot’s Hey YA Podcast—mention—July 25 episode

88 Cups of Tea—interview with Shannon—September 6



BookRiot—Books about immigrant roundup—February 23

Minneapolis Star Tribune (online)—cover spotlight—March 7

Publishers Weekly—First-Generation Tales roundup—May 5

B&N Teen–Our Most Anticipated Sophomore YA Novels of 2018: July to December—June 18

BookRiot—What’s Up in YA Newsletter—July 26

The Lily (Washington Post)—Three Questions interview—August 20

HelloGiggles—new releases roundup—September 10 TK

Diversity in YA Guest Post—run-date TK



Wednesday, September 12, 2018 @6:30 PM

Launch Event –  Recital Hall at St. Catherine’s University (St. Paul, MN)

Book Sales by Moon Palace


Tuesday September 18 @ 7 PM

Shoreview Library (Shoreview, MN) – In conversation with Dr. Taiyon Coleman

Book Sales by Moon Palace


Friday, September 21 @ 7 PM

Women & Children First (Chicago, IL)- Reading and Signing


Thursday, October 4

Heartland Fall Forum (Minneapolis, MN)- Moveable Feast


Saturday, October 13

Twin Cities Book Festival (Minneapolis, MN) – Panel Appearance 


Friday, October 19 @ Time TK

Marcus Books (Oakland, CA) – Reading and signing


Sunday, November 4 @ 3 PM

Trinity Church (Excelsior, MN) – “Minding Your Mind in Teen Literature” Panel

with Kathleen Glasgow, Peter Bognanni, Rachel Gold, & Pete Hautman

Book Sales by Excelsior Bay Books