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). 


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)
19th 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

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)
18th 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


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)
19th 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

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)
18th 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


19th Award:  The Wall by Ilan Stavans (Pittsburgh)
19th Honors:  Ornitheology by Kevin McLellan (Word Works) and Rewilding by January Gill O’Neil (CavanKerry)
19th 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

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)
18th 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


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)
19th 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; Boggart Fights Back by Susan Cooper

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)
18th 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


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)
19th 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

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)
18th 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; 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

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.