ABA Announces 2016 Indies Choice/E.B. White Read-Aloud Award Finalists

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Voting opens to booksellers at all ABA member stores

On Wednesday, March 16, the American Booksellers Association announced the finalists for the 2016 Indies Choice Book Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards. Booksellers at ABA member stores across the country will choose the winners in eight categories in online balloting between now and midnight EDT on Wednesday, April 6.

All of this year’s finalists represent the types of books that indie booksellers champion best. The E.B. White Read-Aloud finalists also reflect the playful, well-paced language, the engaging themes, and the universal appeal to a wide range of ages embodied by E.B. White’s collection of beloved books.

Every bookseller at an ABA member store is encouraged to vote; one ballot per person will be accepted. One book in each category will be declared the winner, with the exception of the Picture Book Hall of Fame, where booksellers will choose three inductees. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, April 13, and will be feted along with the honor book recipients at ABA’s Celebration of Bookselling and Author Awards Lunch on Thursday, May 12, at BookExpo America 2016 in Chicago.

The finalists in the Indies Choice Book Award categories of Adult Fiction, Adult Nonfiction, and Adult Debut were chosen by a jury of six ABA member booksellers from titles appearing on the 2015 Indie Next Lists. The finalists for the Indies Choice Book Award in the Young Adult category and for the E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader and Picture Book awards were chosen by a jury of five children’s booksellers from the ABC Children’s Group at ABA. Finalists were chosen from titles appearing on the 2015 Kids’ Indie Next Lists, with additional titles for the E.B. White awards nominated by ABC Group members. The finalists for the 2016 Indie Champion Award were chosen by both juries.

This year’s finalists are:


  • City on Fire: A Novel, by Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf)
  • Fates and Furies: A Novel, by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)
  • Get in Trouble: Stories, by Kelly Link (Random House)
  • A Little Life: A Novel, by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday)
  • The Sympathizer: A Novel, by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press)
  • Welcome to Braggsville: A Novel, by T. Geronimo Johnson (William Morrow)


  • Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson (Crown)
  • Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt, by Kristin Hersh (University of Texas Press)
  • H Is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald (Grove Press)
  • Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs, by Sally Mann (Little, Brown & Company)
  • Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey, by Marie Mutsuki Mockett (W.W. Norton & Company)


  • Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, by Mary Norris (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Dragonfish:  A Novel, by Vu Tran (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel, by J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking)
  • The Meursault Investigation: A Novel, by Kamel Daoud (Other Press)
  • Our Endless Numbered Days: A Novel, by Claire Fuller (Tin House Books)
  • The Turner House: A Novel, by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)


  • Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy (Balzer + Bray)
  • More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera (Soho Teen)
  • Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli (Balzer + Bray)
  • Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, by M.T. Anderson (Candlewick)


  • The Blackthorn Key, by Kevin Sands (Aladdin)
  • Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate (Feiwel & Friends)
  • George, by Alex Gino (Scholastic Press)
  • Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson (Dial Books for Young Readers)
  • The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, by Kelly Jones (Knopf Books for Young Readers)


  • Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett, Christian Robinson (Illus.) (Chronicle Books)
  • Mother Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins (Disney-Hyperion)
  • The Princess and the Pony, by Kate Beaton (Arthur A. Levine Books)
  • Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall (Greenwillow)
  • Toys Meet Snow: Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-Loving Rubber Ball, by Emily Jenkins, Paul O. Zelinsky (Illus.) (Schwartz & Wade)
  • Waiting, by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)


  • Eloise, by Kay Thompson, Hilary Knight (Illus.) (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • Julius, the Baby of the World, by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)
  • Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg (HMH Books for Young Readers)
  • The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, by Audrey and Don Wood (Child’s Play)
  • Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag (Putnam Books for Young Readers)
  • Olivia, by Ian Falconer (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
  • Strega Nona, by Tomi dePaola (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • Swimmy, by Leon Lionni (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Stieg (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo, by Arlene Mosel, Blair Lent (Illus.) (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
  • Tuesday, by David Weisner (HMH Books for Young Readers)


The Indie Champion Award is presented to the author, illustrator, or group that, in the opinion of booksellers, has the best sense of the importance of independent bookstores to their communities at large and the strongest personal commitment to foster and support the mission and passion of independent booksellers. ABA invites readers to learn more about the finalists by clicking on their names below:

To help booksellers promote the finalists in newsletters and other marketing materials, the Indies Choice and E.B. White awards logos are available in BookWeb’s Designs and Downloads.

Members of this year’s Indies Choice Book Awards jury for the adult categories are Jonathon Welch of Talking Leaves ... Books in Buffalo, New York (Chair); Nona Camuel of CoffeeTree Books in Morehead, Kentucky; Bill Cusumano of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi; David Enyeart of Common Good Books in St. Paul, Minnesota; Katie Orphan of The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, California; and Luisa Smith of Book Passage in Corte Madera, California.

The 2016 jury members for the children’s categories are Cathy Berner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Texas (Chair); Johanna Albrecht of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Debbie Buck of Vintage Books in Vancouver, Washington; Sarah Rettger of Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Page Seck of Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio.

All ABA member booksellers are invited to cast their ballots now.

The Celebration of Bookselling and Author Awards Lunch will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, in the Special Events Hall at McCormick Place. Reservations for the lunch, which is free, are now open to booksellers at all ABA member stores who are registered for BEA. Seating is limited, and there is a maximum of three booksellers per store location. Learn more.