UND’s Emily Midkiff wins international book award
Science Fiction Research Association names ‘Equipping Space Cadets’ as Best First Book of Year
A UND faculty member received an award from the Science Fiction Research Association for the best first scholarly and detailed study on science fiction of the year.
Emily Midkiff, assistant professor of Teaching and Learning at UND, received the Science Fiction Research Association Book Award at the association’s annual conference, which was held in Germany earlier this month.
Midkiff was honored for her 2022 book, “Equipping Space Cadets: Primary Science Fiction for Young Children.” The book argues for the benefits and potential of science fiction for children under 12.
As the book’s description on Amazon.com notes, the best works of SF “make science fiction questions accessible and relevant to children of various reading levels and from diverse backgrounds and identities,” meaning children can enjoy, learn from and be inspired by science fiction every bit as much as adults can.
The Science Fiction Research Association is the oldest professional association dedicated to the scholarly study of science fiction.
“I would like to thank the SFRA and the book award committee for this honor,” Midkiff said. “This book was a long time in the making, as any scholar who works with Institutional Review Boards and large datasets knows. And recognition like this makes those years of labor worthwhile.”
In her work, Midkiff “does not stop with literary analysis,” the Amazon.com description continues. Instead, her book also “features three studies: a survey of teachers and librarians, quantitative analysis of lending records from school libraries across the United States, and coded read-aloud sessions with elementary school students.”
Keren Omry, chair of the SFA Book Award Committee, added to the above in her comments at the Association’s award ceremony. “Midkiff’s book offers a comprehensively researched entry point into an under-discussed and under-researched aspect of science fiction,” Omry said.
“Her book not only provides a compelling reinvigoration of this hugely important field of cultural production, it’s also a lot of fun to read.”
“Equipping Space Cadets” also was a 2022 longlist nominee for British Science Fiction Association’s Best Non-Fiction Award. The book is published by the University Press of Mississippi, and is available in hardcover, paperback and Kindle editions at Amazon.com, as well as at other outlets.