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.

The 20th Annual Awards (for books published in 2019) submission opens on October 1, 2019. The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2019.

All award, honors, and must-read books are added to Special Collections at the State Library of Massachusetts and promoted throughout the Commonwealth and at National Book Festival.

On September 17, 2019, Mass Center for the Book hosted a celebration of the 17th, 18th and 19th Annual Awards at the Massachusetts State House. Click here to view photographs of the event.

The two previous award years are listed below.

The 19th Annual Awards (2018 pub date)

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The Unmade World by Steve Yarbrough (Unbridled)

Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (Pamela Dorman /Penguin Random House)
The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fiction Must Reads:  Gone So Long: A Novel by Andre Dubus III; Early Work by Andrew Martin; Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman; The Garden Party by Grace Dane Mazur; The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel;  The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay; My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley; Ultraviolet by Suzanne Matson; Bound for Gold by William Martin

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These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore (W. W. Norton)

Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade (Ecco)
The Game: Harvard, Yale, and America in 1968 by George Howe Colt (Scribner)

Nonfiction Must Reads: The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are by Alan Jasanoff; Above and Beyond by Casey Sherman and Michael J Tougias; The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann; Black Flags, Blue Waters by Eric Jay Dolin; We Can't Breathe by Jabari Asim; After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet by Julie Dobrow; Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War by Lisa Brooks; How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt; Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

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The Wall by Ilan Stavans (Pittsburgh)

Ornitheology by Kevin McLellan (Word Works)
Rewilding by January Gill O’Neil (CavanKerry)

Poetry Must Reads: Blood Labors by Daniel Tobin; Pray Me Stay Eager by Ellen Dore Watson; Bad Harvest by Dzvinia Orlowsky; White Storm by Gary Metras; My Tarantella by Jennifer Martelli; Shadow-Feast by Joan Houlihan; Night Unto Night by Martha Collins; See the Wolf by Sarah Sousa; Stanley's Girl: Poems by Susan Eisenberg

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A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers by Melissa Stewart (Peachtree)
The Rough Patch by Brian Lies (Greenwillow)

Picture Book/Early Reader Must Reads: A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker; Just Add Glitter by Angela DiTerlizzi; Anybody’s Game by Heather Lang; Fish Are Not Afraid of Doctors by J.E. Morris; Rescue and Jessica by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, ill: Scott Magoon; Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible ALVIN by Michelle Cusolito, ill: Nicole Wong; Little Robot Alone by Patricia MacLachlan; The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds; Howard and the Mummy by Tracey Fern


Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen (Philomel/Penguin Young Readers)

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Scholastic)
Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle by Natasha Lowe (Simon & Schuster)

Middle Grade/Young Adult Must Reads: The Magic of Melwick Orchard by Rebecca Caprara; What the Wind Can Tell You by Sarah Marie A Jette; The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss; It Wasn't Me by Dana Alison Levy; The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall; Art of the Swap by Kristine Asseline; The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M. T. Anderson; Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything by Martin Sandler; The Boggart Fights Back by Susan Cooper

The 18th Annual Awards (2017 pub date)


AwardThe Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman (Dial Press)
Honors: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press) and The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews (Little, Brown)
Must Reads: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman; The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry; The Burning Girl: A Novel by Claire Messud; World Enough by Clea Simon; Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King; The River at Night by Erica Ferencik; Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Himes; I Was Trying To Describe What It Feels Like by Noy Holland; The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers


AwardThe Written World by Martin Puchner (Random House)
Honors: Cuz by Danielle Allen (W. W. Norton ) and The True Flag by Stephen Kinzer (Henry Holt)
Must Reads: The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich; The Wine Lover's Daughter by Anne Fadiman; Brief Eulogies for Lost Animals: An Extinction Reader by Daniel Hudon; The Correspondence by J. D. Daniels; To the New Owners by Madeline Blais; The Dawn Watch by Maya Jasanoff; Elizabeth Bishop by Megan Marshall; The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt; Areas of Fog by Will Dowd


Award: Noon Until Night by Richard Hoffman (Barrow Street)
Honors: In the Still of the Night by Dara Wier (Wave Books) and Said Not Said by Fred Marchant (Graywolf)
Must Reads: Unfathoming by Andrea Cohen; Figuring in the Figure by Ben Berman; Gloved Against Blood by Cindy Veach; Half-light by Frank Bidart; Krakatoa Picnic by James Heflin; Critical Assembly: Poems of the Manhattan Project by John Canaday; Little Kisses by Lloyd Schwartz; Testify by Simone John; Advice from the Lights by Stephanie Burt


Award Windows by Julia Denos (Candlewick)
Honors: Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman (Lee & Low) and The Banana-Leaf Ball by Katie Smith Milway (Kids Can)
Must Reads: Little Pig Saves the Ship by David Hyde Costello; Thunder Underground by Jane Yolen; Newton's Rainbow by Kathryn Lasky; When the Snow Falls by Linda Booth Sweeney; The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein; Ben's Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick; Sydney & Simon: To the Moon! by Paul Reynolds and Peter H. Reynolds; The Language of Angels: A Story about the Reinvention of Hebrew by Richard Michelson; The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering


AwardThe Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas (Penguin Young Readers)
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)
Must Reads: Alice Paul and the Fight for Women's Rights by Deborah Kops; The Magician & the Spirits by Deborah Noyes; Trell: Nothing But the Truth by Dick Lehr; A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl; Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk; The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler; The Wonderling by Mira Bartok; Now or Never! by Ray Anthony Shepard; Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer

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.