Texas winners include Julie Murphy, Ben Philippe, Larry McMurtry

This year, over five thousand bookseller and public votes were cast to choose the winners from the shortlisted titles.


This morning, the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA) announced the thirtieth annual Reading the West Book Awards Winners in eight categories.


The Reading the West Book Awards are sponsored and promoted by independent booksellers across many western and mid-western states. The awards honor the best fiction, non-fiction, and illustrated books for adults and children set in one of the member states, created by an author or artist living or working in the region, or whose subject relates to the region. The awards, given to books published in the previous calendar year, 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.


Publishers and authors submit books for consideration for the Reading the West Book Awards program. Bookseller reading committees then read and evaluate all nominated titles to curate shortlists in each category. This year, over five thousand bookseller and public votes were cast to choose the winners from the shortlisted titles.


Congratulations to these fantastic books and authors:



Winner: Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Runner-up: The River by Peter Heller


Narrative Nonfiction

Winner: Lakota America by Pekka Hamalainen

Runner-up: The Rise of Wolf 8 by Rick McIntyre


Illustrated Nonfiction

Winner: Atlas of the National Parks by Jon Waterman

Runner-up: Fire Ghosts by Philip Metcalf and Patricia Galagan


Young Adult

Winner: The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Runner-up: The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee


Young Reader/Middle-grade

Winner: Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

Runner-up: Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling


Picture Book

Winner: The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow by Lora Koehler, illustrated by Jake Parker

Runner-up: The Day Punctuation Came to Town by Kimberlee Gard, illustrated by Sandie Sonke


Eating the West (Culinary/Cookbook)

Winner: The Prairie Homestead Cookbook by Jill Winger

Runner-up: Centennial Celebrations Cookbook by Junior League of Denver


Advocacy Award

Winner: Deep Creek by Pam Houston

Runner-up: Migrating to Prison by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández


Spirit of the West Literary Achievement Award

2020 Honoree: Larry McMurtry


See more about the awards, including previous winners at readingthewest.com.