Mass Book Awards

The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published by Commonwealth residents or about Massachusetts subjects.

Massachusetts Center for the Book is delighted to announce two years of Massachusetts Book Awards, the 18th and 19th annual awards (for books published in 2017 and 2018 respectively).  Check back soon for the full listing!


19th Award:  The Unmade World by Steve Yarbrough (Unbridled)
19th Honors: Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (Viking) and The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
18th Award:  The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman (Dial Press)
18th Honors: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press) and The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews (Little, Brown)


19th Award:  These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore (W. W. Norton)
19th Honors:  Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade (Ecco) and The Game: Harvard, Yale, and America in 1968 by George Howe Colt (Scribner)
18th Award:  The Written World by Martin Puchner (Random House)
18th Honors: Cuz by Danielle Allen (W. W. Norton ) and The True Flag by Stephen Kinzer (Henry Holt)


19th Award:  The Wall by Ilan Stavans (Pittsburgh)
19th Honors:  Ornitheology by Kevin McLellan (Word Works) and Rewilding by January Gill O’Neil (CavanKerry)
18th Award: Noon Until Night by Richard Hoffman (Barrow Street)
18th Honors: In the Still of the Night by Dara Wier (Wave Books) and Said Not Said by Fred Marchant (Graywolf)


19th Award:  Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen (Penguin Young Readers)
19th Honors:  Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Scholastic) and Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle by Natasha Lowe (Simon & Schuster)
18th AwardThe Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas (Penguin Young Readers)
18th Honors: And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin (Penguin Young Readers) and Fault Lines in the Constitution by Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinson  (Peachtree)


19th Award:  A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
19th Honors: Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers by Melissa Stewart (Peachtree) and The Rough Patch by Brian Lies (Greenwillow)
18th Award:  Windows by Julia Denos (Candlewick)
18th Honors: Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman (Lee & Low) and The Banana-Leaf Ball by Katie Smith Milway (Kids Can)

Must Read Books Published in 2017 and 2018 — FORTHCOMING! 

Judges in the 18th and 19th MassBook programs: Carol Baldwin, Lynn Blair, Laurie Cavanaugh, Charles Coe, Cindy Erle, Andrea Fiorillo, Betsy Groban, Karen Kosko, Rob MacLean, Jacqueline Rafferty, Amy Rhilinger, Elizabeth Safford, Sean Thibodeau, and members of the staff and board of Massachusetts Center for the Book.

The 17th Annual Awards :



Mercury : A Novel by Margot Livesey (HarperCollins 2016)

The Rope: A Novel by Kanan Makiya
Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Fiction Must Reads:  The Whale: A Love Story by Mark Beauregard; Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown; Pretend I’m Your Friend by MB Caschetta; Heat & Light by Jennifer Haigh; Will Do Magic for Small Change by Andrea Hairston; Bottomland by Michelle Hoover; Valiant Gentlemen by Sabina Murray; How Will I Know You? by Jessica Treadway; Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keeffe by Dawn Tripp

NONFICTION AWARD Revolution-in-Color_Kamensky978-0-393-24001-6-197x300.jpg

A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley by Jane Kamensky (Norton 2016)

The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel
Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon by Larry Tye

Nonfiction Must Reads: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir by Michael Anthony; Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolan; The Hero’s Body: A Memoir by William Giraldi; American Philosophy: A Love Story by John Kaag; A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder; Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick; Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn; The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art by Sebastian Smee; Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson

POETRY AWARD Viva-To-Those-Who-Have-Failed_9780393249033-221x300.jpg

Vivas to Those Who Have Failed: Poems by Martin Espada (Norton 2016)

Standoff: Poems by David Rivard
From Nothing by Daniel Tobin

Poetry Must Reads: Friends with Dogs by David Blair; Admit One: An American Scrapbook by Martha Collins; The Dear Remote Nearness of You by Danielle Legros Georges; Forbidden City by Gail Mazur; Dinner with Emerson by Wendy Mnookin; Animal Psalms by Alfred Nicol; At the Foundling Hospital: Poems by Robert Pinsky; Primer by Aaron Smith;Counting Descentby Clint Smith


The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman (Bloomsbury Childrens USA 2016)

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson

Picture Book/Early Reader Must Reads: Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim; Groundhog’s Runaway Shadow by David Biedrzycki; My Favorite Pets: by Gus W. for Ms. Smolinski’s Class by Jeanne Birdsall; I Am Pan! by Mordicai Gerstein; Real Sisters Pretend by Megan Dowd Lambert; Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang; Dario and the Whale by Cheryl Lawton Malone; Gator Dad by Brian Lies; On Bird Hill by Jane Yolen


Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (Dutton/Penguin Young Readers 2016)

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
by Sara Pennypacker  

Middle Grade/Young Adult Must Reads: Nothing but Trouble by Jacqueline Davies; When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin; The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan; The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Gjertsen Malone; Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black; Skating with the Statue of Liberty by Susan Lynn Meyer; Ten Days a Madwoman by Deborah Noyes; Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger by Anita Silvey; and Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger

Judges for the 17th Annual Awards included Lauren Lepanto (Boston Public Library, West End Branch), Sean Thibodeau (Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell), Jacqueline Rafferty (Paul Pratt Memorial Library, Cohasset), Charlotte Canelli (Morill Memorial Library, Norwood), Karen Kosko (Cambridge), Cindy Erle (Boylston), and additional advisors to the Massachusetts Book Awards.

The 17th annual award titles are added to Special Collections at the State Library of Massachusetts and promoted throughout the Commonwealth.