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The Washington Center

The Washington Center for the Book and The Seattle Public Library have selected 39 finalists in eight categories for the 2022 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2021. This is the 56th year of the program, formerly called the Governor's Writers Awards.

A winner in each category will be announced on Tuesday, September 13, 2022.



· “Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman's Fight to End Ableism” by Elsa Sjunneson, of Seattle (S&S/Simon Element)

· “Crossing the River: Seven Stories That Saved my Life” by Carol Smith, of Seattle (Harry N. Abrams)

· “Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging” by Anne Liu Kellor, of Seattle (She Writes Press)

· “The Other Mothers: Two Women's Journey to Find the Family That Was Always Theirs” by Jennifer Berney, of Olympia (Sourcebooks)

Creative Nonfiction

· “The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with recipes)” by Kate Lebo, of Spokane (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

· “Readying to Rise: Essays” by Marcus Harrison Green, of Skyway / South Seattle (Vertvolta Press)

· “Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, of West Seattle (Little, Brown Spark)

· “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration” written by Frank Abe of Seattle and Tamiko Nimura of Tacoma; artwork by Ross Ishikawa of Seattle and Matt Sasaki of Edmonds (Chin Music Press)

· “White Magic: Essays” by Elissa Washuta, enrolled member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe (Tin House Books)


· “The Ex Talk” by Rachel Lynn Solomon, of Seattle (Berkley)

· “Legends of the North Cascades” by Jonathan Evison, of Bainbridge Island (Algonquin Books)

· “On Fragile Waves” by E. Lily Yu, of Western Washington (Erewhon)

· “One Two Three” by Laurie Frankel, of Seattle (Henry Holt and Company)

· “What Comes After” by JoAnne Tompkins, of Port Townsend (Riverhead Books)

General Nonfiction

· “Coming Home to Nez Perce Country: The Niim̕ipuu Campaign to Repatriate Their Exploited Heritage” by Trevor James Bond, of Pullman (Washington State University Press)

· “Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” by Daniel James Brown, of Redmond (Viking)

· “Fear No Man: Don James, the '91 Huskies, and the Seven-year Quest for A National Football Championship” by Mike Gastineau, of Whidbey Island (University of Washington Press)

· “Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West” by Blaine Harden, of Seattle (Penguin Books)

· “Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home” written by Lynda Mapes, of Seattle (Braided River and The Seattle Times)

· “Skid Road: on the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City” by Josephine Ensign, of Seattle (Johns Hopkins University Press)


· “Broken by Water: Salish Sea Years” by Gary Thompson, of Friday Harbor, San Juan County (Turning Point)

· “Dialogues with Rising Tides” by Kelli Russell Agodon, of Port Ludlow, Jefferson County (Copper Canyon Press)

· “More American” by Sharon Hashimoto, of Tukwila (Grid Books / Off the Grid Press)

· “Self-Portrait with Cephalopod” by Kathryn Smith, of Spokane (Milkweed Editions)

· “Stray Birds” by Andrew Robin, of Lopez Island, San Juan County (Kelson Books)


Picture Books

· “1, 2, 3 Salish Sea: A Pacific Northwest Counting Book” written and illustrated by Nikki McClure, of Olympia (Little Bigfoot)

· “The Barking Ballad: A Bark-along, Meow-along Book” written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis, of Seattle (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

· “Rock by Rock: The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand” written by Jennifer Bradbury, of Burlington; illustrated by Sam Boughton (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

· “Something Good” illustrated by Corinna Luyken, of Olympia; written by Marcy Campbell (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Books for Young Readers

· “Almost Flying” by Jake Maia Arlow, of Seattle (Dial Books)

· “Happily for Now” written by Kelly Jones, of Seattle (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

· “The Last Cuentista” by Donna Barba Higuera, of Issaquah (Levine Querido)

· “Mighty Inside” by Sundee Frazier, of Renton (Levine Querido)

· “Orca Rescue: The True Story of an Orphaned Orca Named Springer” written by Donna Sandstrom, of Seattle; illustrated by Sarah Burwash (Kids Can Press)

Books for Young Adult Readers

· “Calculated” by Nova McBee, of Edmonds (Wise Wolf Books)

· “A Complicated Love Story Set in Space” by Shaun David Hutchinson, of Seattle (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

· “Little Thieves” by Margaret Owen, of Seattle (Henry Holt and Company)

· “Remedy” by Eireann Corrigan, of Tacoma (Scholastic Press)

· “We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire” by Joy McCullough, of Shoreline (Dutton Books for Young Readers)


The Washington State Book Awards are presented by the Washington Center for the Book (an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book administered by Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State) in partnership with The Seattle Public Library. The 2022 awards are administered by Linda Johns and Sarah Wang of The Seattle Public Library and Sara Peté of the Washington State Library. This year's awards program is supported by a grant from the Amazon Literary Partnership.

These awards honor outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2021. An award is given based on the strength of the publication's literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality to an author who is a current resident of Washington state. For the 2022 book awards, judges read and evaluated 243 books.

Submissions for the 2023 awards cycle are being accepted at this time. For more information, see the Washington Center for the Book's website.


Judges for adult titles: Andrea Y. Griffith, Owner, Browsers Bookshop; Valerie McBeth, Librarian, Northwest Indian College Library; Tiffany Midge, Author and 2020 WSBA Finalist; Corinne Wilson, Librarian, Spokane County Library District; Jenna Zarzycki, Librarian, Covington Library / King County Librarian System

Judges for youth titles: Tamar Clarke, Teen Services Coordinator, Whatcom County Library System; Avery Mead, Teacher-Librarian, East Valley High School Library; Christopher Robert, Librarian, Seattle Public Schools




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