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Friday, September 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Finalists are announced for 2020 Washington State Book Awards

The Washington Center for the Book has announced its list of finalists for the 2020 Washington State Book Awards. A panel of judges, five for adult titles and three for children’s titles, will decide the winners and report their decisions by Sept. 25.

The Washington State Book Awards honor outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2019. The authors must be current residents of Washington and have maintained residence for at least three years previous or previously lived in Washington for at least five years.

The adjudication panel, including Kerry Halls of Auntie’s Bookstore and Janelle Smith of Wishing Tree Books, will judge the list of works according to literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality.

“This year’s submissions for the kid’s categories of the WSBA were incredibly diverse,” Smith said in an email Thursday. “Working with the other judges to narrow the field and make those final decisions is always challenging, but with such diverse subjects, stories and presentations, it seemed even more so.”

Here are the finalists in the eight categories:

Picture books

“Ghost Cat” by Kevan Atteberry of Bellevue (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

“Flora Forager ABC” by Bridget Beth Collins of Seattle (Little Bigfoot)

“Lasting Love” by Caroline Wright of Seattle, illustrated by Willow Heath of Seattle (Rodale Kids)

Books for young readers

“King & Kayla and the Case of Found Fred” by Dori Hillestad Butler of Kirkland (Peachtree Press)

“Sauerkraut” by Kelly Jones of Shoreline (Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House)

“Growing Up Gorilla: How a Zoo Baby Brought Her Family Together” by Clare Hodgson Meeker of Friday Harbor (Lerner Publishing Group)

“Last Meeting of the Gorilla Club” by Sara Nickerson of Seattle (Dutton Children’s Books)

“Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights” by Randall Platt of Port Orchard (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

“Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather” by Trudi Trueit of Everett (National Geographic Kids)

Books for young adult readers

“Between Before & After” by Maureen Doyle McQuerry of Bainbridge Island (Blink)

“Warhead: The True Story of One Teen Who Almost Saved the World” by Jeff Henigson of Seattle (Delacorte Press)

“Brave Face” by Shaun David Hutchinson of Seattle (Simon & Schuster)

“Slay” by Brittney Morris of Seattle (Simon & Schuster)


“The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story” by Aaron Bobrow-Strain of Walla Walla (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

“A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction” by Paula Becker of Seattle (University of Iowa Press)

“I Know What I Am: The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi” by Gina Siciliano of Seattle (Fantagraphics Books)

“Hangdog Days: Conflict, Change, and the Race for 5.14” by Jeff Smoot of Seattle (Mountaineers Books)

“The Good Way: A Himalayan Journey” by Julie Tate-Libby of Twisp (Koehler Books)

Creative nonfiction

“Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions” by Briallen Hopper, formerly of Tacoma, now in Queens, New York (Bloomsbury Publishing)

“Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy ” by Eric Liu of Seattle (Sasquatch Books)

“Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s” by Tiffany Midge of Seattle (University of Nebraska Press)

“Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers” by Elissa Washuta, formerly of Seattle, now in Columbus, Ohio, and Theresa Warburton of Bellingham (University of Washington Press)

“The Witches Are Coming” by Lindy West of Seattle (Hachette Books)


“Hollow Kingdom” by Kira Jane Buxton of Seattle (Grand Central Publishing)

“Stay and Fight” by Madeline ffitch, formerly of Seattle, now in Athens, Ohio (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

“One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow” by Olivia Hawker of Friday Harbor (Lake Union Publishing)

“Deep River” by Karl Marlantes of Duvall (Atlantic Monthly Press)

“The Cassandra” by Sharma Shields of Spokane (Henry Holt and Co.)

“The Bird King” by G. Willow Wilson of Seattle (Grove Press)

General nonfiction

“Seattle Style: High Fashion/High Function” by Museum of History & Industry and Clara Berg of Seattle (University of Washington Press)

“Olmsted in Seattle: Creating a Park System for a Modern City” by Jennifer Ott of Seattle (HistoryLink and Documentary Media)

“Seattle Walk Report: An Illustrated Walking Tour Through 23 Seattle Neighborhoods” by Susanna Ryan of Seattle (Sasquatch Books)

“The Big Thaw: Ancient Carbon, Modern Science, and a Race to Save the World” by Eric Scigliano of Seattle (Braided River/Mountaineers Books)

“Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World” by Anu Taranath of Seattle (Between the Lines Press)


“Bright Stain” by Francesca Bell, formerly of Spokane, now in Novato, California (Red Hen Press)

“Turn Around Time: A Walking Poem for the Pacific Northwest” by David Guterson of Bainbridge Island, illustrated by Justin Gibbens of Thorp (Mountaineers Books)

“All Its Charms” by Keetje Kuipers of Bainbridge Island (BOA Editions)

“Hail and Farewell” by Abby E. Murray of Puyallup (Perugia Press)

“Nightingale” by Paisley Rekdal, formerly of Seattle, now in Salt Lake City (Copper Canyon Press)

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