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'Ox Cart Angel' author to speak in Perham

Joel Arnold, author of "Ox Cart Angel," will hold a reading and discussion on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. at the Perham Area Public Library.

"Ox Cart Angel" is an historical novel that recently won the Midwest Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of 2011. It takes place in 1862 along the ox-cart trails of Minnesota and North Dakota

In the book, Claire Dumont and her father set out on a journey from the Dakota Territory, hoping to catch up to the large caravan of Métis fur traders that left the day before. Their destination is the bustling city of St. Paul, where Papa wishes to open a photography studio. But with only Bone Bag, their one-horned ox, to pull their squeaky cart, they soon realize they just might have to make their treacherous journey alone. Braving bad weather, packs of wolves, dangerous river crossings, starvation and exhaustion, Claire and her father try their best to survive the deeply rutted ox cart trails.

Joel Arnold lives in Savage, Minn., with his wife, two kids, two cats, a dog, a rat and a (gulp) snake. His writing has appeared in dozens of publications, ranging from 'American Road Magazine' to "Cat Fancy." In 2010 he received a Minnesota Artist's Initiative Grant as well as a Gulliver Travel & Research Grant.

"Ox Cart Angel" is the first in a series of programs sponsored by the Friends of the Museum to celebrate Minnesota in the 1800s. Coming up is a concert of historical folk music by Julie Johnson and the No-Accounts on Nov. 11; a talk by Ryan D.G. Stoup about "Lincoln's God: The Theology of Abraham Lincoln" on Nov. 16; an interpretive talk about "The Ox cart trails of the 1840-1870s as seen through the adventures of Antoine Gingras and Pierre Botinneau," on Nov. 18; and a presentation on "Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg" by Dale Blanshan on Nov. 25.

The ITOW Veterans Museum in Perham will be hosting these programs as well as exhibits from the Prospect House and Civil War Museum and the Becker County Historical Society. These programs are free and open to the public. For more information call 218 346-7678 or e-mail