2019 Washington State Book Award finalists!

Linda Johns/ July 16, 2019/ Books, Washington authors, Washington State Book Awards

Here are the finalists in eight categories for the 2019 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2018. Congratulations to all authors and illustrators, and be sure to get these books on your reading list: 




  • The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco, of Seattle (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu, of Seattle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • So Lucky by Nicola Griffith, of Seattle (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Night Hawks by Charles Johnson, of Seattle (Scribner/Simon & Schuster)
  • Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira, of Seattle (Viking)


  • What We Do by Michele Bombardier, of Bainbridge Island (Kelsay Press)
  • The Book of Sharks by Rob Carney, formerly of Washington (Black Lawrence Press)
  • Instruments of the True Measure by Laura Da’, of Newcastle (University of Arizona Press)
  • Between Darkness and Trust by Lorraine Ferra, of Port Townsend (Moonpath Press)
  • The Slow Art by Sierra Golden, of Seattle (Bear Star Press)


  • Guts by Janet Buttenwieser, of Seattle (Vine Leaves Press)
  • The Shame of Losing by Sarah Cannon, of Edmonds (Red Hen Press)
  • Nothing Good Can Come from This by Kristi Coulter, of Seattle (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • The Seminarian by Patrick Parr, of Bellevue (Chicago Review Press)
  • Arctic Solitaire by Paul Souders, of Seattle (Mountaineers Books)


  • A False Report by Ken Armstrong, of Seattle (Crown)
  • Like a Mother by Angela Garbes, of Seattle (Harper Wave / HarperCollins)
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, of Shoreline (Seal Press)
  • Our Native Bees by Paige Embry, of Seattle (Timber Press)
  • Uplake by Ana Maria Spagna, of Stehekin (University of Washington Press)
  • The Lines That Make Us: Stories from Nathan’s Bus by Nathan Vass, of Seattle (Tome Press)



  • Summer Supper, illustrated by Mike Austin, of Seattle, and written by Rubin Pfeffer (Random House
  • The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael by Bonny Becker, of Seattle, and illustrated by Mark Fearing (Candlewick Press)
  • Something Smells by Blake Liliane Hellman, of Seattle, and illustrated by Steven Henry, of Seattle (Simon & Schuster)
  • Trevor, illustrated by Amy Hevron, of Seattle, and written by Jim Averbeck (Roaring Brook Press)
  • All Are Welcome, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, of Seattle, and written by Alexandra Penfold (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse, illustrated by Corinna Luyken, of Olympia, and written by Marcy Campbell (Dial Books)


  • King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth by Dori Hillestad Butler, of Kirkland (Peachtree Press)
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly by Ben Clanton, of Tacoma (Tundra Books)
  • The Sasquatch and the Lumberjack by Crix Sheridan, of Seattle (Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch Books)

MIDDLE GRADE (readers 8 to 12) 

  • Winterhouse by Ben Guterson, of North Bend (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt)
  • The Ostrich and Other Lost Things by Beth Hautala, formerly of Bellingham (Philomel Books)
  • Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey, of western Washington (Graphix/Scholastic Inc.)
  • Wish Upon a Sleepover by Suzanne Selfors, of Bainbridge Island (Imprint/Macmillan)

YOUNG ADULT (readers 12 and up)

  • Unpresidented by Martha Brockenbrough, of Seattle (Feiwel & Friends)
  • A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti, of Kenmore (Simon & Schuster)
  • I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall, of Seattle (Viking Books for Young Readers)
  • Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough, of Seattle (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
  • Fast Backward by David Patneaude, of Woodinville (Koehler Books)
  • The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton, of Seattle (Candlewick Press)

The book awards celebrate the top writing (and illustrating, in children’s picture books) in the state for books published the previous year. Awards are given based on books’ literary merit and overall quality to a Washington author. The awards are administered by the Washington Center for the Book.

Finalists in all eight categories will be celebrated (and winners in each category announced) at a public awards ceremony (hosted by Paul Constant of Seattle Review of Books) and reception on Saturday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m., at the Central Library. The awards celebration is free and open to all.

The judges for the books for adults are: Kelly Evert (owner, Village Books in Bellingham), Kalani Kapahua (Third Place Books), Zola Mumford (librarian, North Seattle College), Brian Soneda (retired librarian), and Jenna Zarzycki (librarian, King County Library System).

Judges for the books for youth are: Sheri Boggs (Spokane County Library District), Chris Robert (Seattle Public Schools), and Janelle Smith (owner, Wishing Tree Books, Spokane).

Special thanks to the Amazon Literary Partnership for their support of the Washington State Book Awards. 



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