The Reading the West award winners have been announced!
The Reading the West Book Awards are awarded by 12 western (and mid-western) states, honoring the best books set in one of those states or created by an author living or working in one of those states. The awards “celebrate the spirit of the west and the rich variety of writing in and about this region, and reflect the extraordinary diversity of the reading public.”
Congratulations to all the winners!
Check out the list here!
Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado—a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite—these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.
In “Sugar Babies,” ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth but tend to rise during land disputes. “Any Further West” follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In “Tomi,” a woman leaves prison and finds herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, “Sabrina & Corina,” a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.
Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.
Narrative Nonfiction: Lakota America by Pekka Hämäläinen
This first complete account of the Lakota Indians traces their rich and often surprising history from the early sixteenth to the early twenty‑first century. Pekka Hämäläinen explores the Lakotas’ roots as marginal hunter‑gatherers and reveals how they reinvented themselves twice: first as a river people who dominated the Missouri Valley, America’s great commercial artery, and then—in what was America’s first sweeping westward expansion—as a horse people who ruled supreme on the vast high plains.
The Lakotas are imprinted in American historical memory. Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull are iconic figures in the American imagination, but in this groundbreaking book they emerge as something different: the architects of Lakota America, an expansive and enduring Indigenous regime that commanded human fates in the North American interior for generations. Hämäläinen’s deeply researched and engagingly written history places the Lakotas at the center of American history, and the results are revelatory.
Visual Nonfiction: National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks by Jon Waterman
The first book of its kind, this stunning atlas showcases America’s spectacular park system from coast to coast, richly illustrated with an inspiring and informative collection of maps, graphics, and photographs.
From the white sand beaches of Dry Tortugas to the snowy peaks of Denali, this captivating book combines authoritative park maps with hundreds of graphics and photographs to tell the stories of America’s sixty one beloved national parks. Former ranger and author Jonathan Waterman introduces readers to the country’s scenic reserves and highlights the extraordinary features that distinguish each: magnificent landmarks, thriving ecosystems, representative wildlife, fascinating histories, and more. With striking imagery and state-of-the-art graphics reflecting details of wildlife, climate, culture, archaeology, recreation, and more, this lush reference provides an up-close look at what makes these lands so special–and so uniquely American. A heartfelt foreword from National Geographic CEO Gary Knell reminds us how important these lands are to our lives and our national pride.
Young Adult Fiction: The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A Black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas.
Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.
Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris…like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making.
But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.
Young Readers: Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy
Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She never could have imagined that they would have the “brilliant” idea of living in nearly identical houses on the same street. In the one house between them lives their eccentric neighbor Miss Flora Mae, the famed local advice columnist behind “Miss Flora Mae I?”
Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex–best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar—her new best friend—and her fifteen-pound cat, Cheese.
Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes.
What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of “Miss Flora Mae I?”
The plucky little hero of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Little Snowplow returns in a story about wishing, waiting, and the magic of a first snowfall.
The little snowplow loves his job on the Mighty Mountain Road Crew, but the work he loves best is plowing snow. Throughout the year, he wishes for snow to come, but winter begins without a single flake in sight. As the weeks pass and the little snowplow’s birthday approaches, he starts to wonder whether it will snow at all. Will the little snowplow’s birthday dreams come true?
Eating the West: The Prairie Homestead Cookbook by Jill Winger
The Pioneer Woman Cooks meets 100 Days of Real Food, on the Wyoming prairie. While Jill produces much of her own food on her Wyoming ranch, you don’t have to grow all—or even any—of your own food to cook and eat like a homesteader. Jill teaches people how to make delicious traditional American comfort food recipes with whole ingredients and shows that you don’t have to use obscure items to enjoy this lifestyle. And as a busy mother of three, Jill knows how to make recipes easy and delicious for all ages.
These 109 recipes include her family’s favorites, with maple-glazed pork chops, butternut Alfredo pasta, and browned butter skillet corn. Jill also shares 17 bonus recipes for homemade sauces, salt rubs, sour cream, and the like—staples that many people are surprised to learn you can make yourself. Beyond these recipes, The Prairie Homestead Cookbook shares the tools and tips Jill has learned from life on the homestead, like how to churn your own butter, feed a family on a budget, and experience all the fulfilling satisfaction of a DIY lifestyle.
For more information, you can check out the Reading the West website, here.
You can purchase any or all of these marvelous award winners by clicking on their titles above!