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.


Congratulations to the Award, Honors, and Must-Read Writers in the 17th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards.  Thank you, too, for reminding us in compelling ways that words matter and that freedom of expression and freedom to read are fundamental to civil society.


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



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


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 Descent by Clint Smith



Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (Penguin Young Readers 2016)

PAX by Sara Pennypacker
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

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; Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger


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


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.

© 2018 Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc. All rights reserved.