TALLAHASSEE, Fla. With its ninth annual competition now complete, the Florida Book Awards has announced winners for books published in 2014 in the nine categories of competition.

Coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries, the Florida Book Awards is the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program. It was established in 2006 to celebrate the best Florida literature. Authors must be full-time Florida residents, except in the nonfiction and visual arts categories, where the subject matter must focus on Florida.

The more than 200 submissions for the 2014 awards were read by juries of three members, each nominated from across the state by co-sponsoring organizations. Jurors are authorized to select up to three medalists (including one gold winner, one silver runner-up and one bronze medalist) in each of the nine categories; jurors are also authorized to make no selections in a given year.

A new award has been introduced this year, the “Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Children’s Literature”, which provides a cash prize for the Gold Winner of the Florida Book Awards in the Children’s Literature category. This award is in memory of Gwen P. Reichert and serves as a lasting tribute to honor her accomplishments as a rare book collector, nurturer of authors and their audience, and her commitment to children’s education. Gwen worked as a school principal and was an enthusiastic children’s book collector. She became friends and pen pals with celebrated children’s book authors including Tasha Tudor and Maurice Sendak. Gwen also founded and served as president of the Randolph Caldecott Society in St. Augustine, Florida.

Florida Book Awards 2014 Winners by Category

Children’s Literature

Gold Medal and Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Children’s Literature: Cleopatra in Space (Scholastic) by Mike Maihack

Silver Medal: Hello, I’m Johnny Cash (Candlewick Press) by G. Neri, illustrated by A.G. Ford

Bronze Medal: Just A Drop of Water (Sky Pony Press) by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

Florida Non-Fiction

Gold Medal: La Florida: Five Hundred Years of Hispanic Presence (University Press of  Florida) edited by Viviana Díaz Balsera and Rachel A. May

Silver Medal: The Peace of Blue: Water Journeys (University Press of Florida) by Bill Belleville

Bronze Medal: Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine by (University Press of Florida) Thomas Graham

General Fiction

Gold Medal: The Invention of Wings (Viking Penguin Group) by Sue Monk Kidd

Silver Medal: The Heaven of Animals (Simon & Schuster) by David James Poissant

Bronze Medal: The Sheltering (University of South Carolina Press) by Mark Powell

General Nonfiction

Gold Medal: Merlin Stone Remembered (Llewellyn Worldwide) by David B. Axelrod, Lenny Schneir, and Carol Thomas

Silver Medal: Einstein Relatively Simple: Our Universe Revealed in Everyday Language (World Scientific Publishing Company) by Ira Mark Egdall

Bronze Medal: Southside Buddhist Essays (University of Tampa Press) by Ira Sukrungruang


Gold Medal: SLANT SIX (Copper Canyon Press) by Erin Belieu

Silver Medal: On the Street of Divine Love (University of Pittsburgh Press) by Barbara Hamby

Bronze Medal: The Small Blades Hurt (Measure Press) by Erica Dawson

Popular Fiction

Gold Medal: Haunted (G. P. Putnam’s Sons) by Randy Wayne White

Silver Medal: Assassin’s Game (Forge Books) by Ward Larsen

Bronze Medal: The Design is Murder (Carina Press) by Jean Harrington

Spanish Language

Gold Medal: El Arma Secreta (Editora Nacional de la República Dominicana) by José M. Fernández Pequeño

Visual Arts

Gold Medal: Africa in Florida: Five Hundred Years of African Presence in the Sunshine State (University Press of Florida) edited by Amanda B. Carlson and Robin Poynor

Silver Medal: Everglades: America’s Wetland (University Press of Florida) by Mac Stone

Bronze Medal: Surfing Florida: A Photographic History (University Press of Florida) by Paul Aho

Young Adult Literature

Gold Medal: Kiss of Broken Glass (HarperTeen) by Madeleine Kuderick

Silver Medal: Knockout Games (Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Publishing Group) by G. Neri

Bronze Medal: More Than Good Enough (Flux) by Crissa-Jean Chappell

All award recipients will be honored at the Abitz Family Dinner, the annual Florida Book Awards banquet, on April 9th at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. The nine gold medalists will be recognized March 11th at the Florida Heritage Awards Ceremony sponsored by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs. Winners will also be hosted by First Lady Ann Scott at a luncheon at the mansion and invited to participate on a Florida Book Awards panel at the inaugural Word of the South literary and music festival in Tallahassee in April.

Co-sponsors of the competition include humanities organizations from across the state such as the Florida Center for the Book; the State Library and Archives of Florida; the Florida Historical Society; the Florida Humanities Council; the Florida Literary Arts Coalition; the Florida Library Association; the Florida Association for Media in Education; the Center for Literature and Theatre @ Miami Dade College; the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America; Friends of FSU Libraries; the Florida Writers Association; the Florida Literacy Coalition; and “Just Read, Florida!”

Learn more about the Florida Book Awards at floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu.

Winners by Location (Florida only)

David B. Axelrod – DAYTONA

Viviana Díaz Balsera – MIAMI

Bill Belleville – SANFORD


Kerry O’Malley Cerra – CORAL SPRINGS

Crissa-Jean Chappell – MIAMI

Erica Dawson – TAMPA

Ira Mark Egdall – HOLLYWOOD

Thomas Graham – ST. AUGUSTINE

Barbara Hamby – TALLAHASSEE

Jean Harrington – NAPLES

Sue Monk Kidd – MARCO ISLAND

Madeleine Kuderick – PALM HARBOR

Ward Larsen – SARASOTA

Mike Maihack – LUTZ

G. Neri – TAMPA

José M. Fernández Pequeño – MIAMI

David James Poissant – OVIEDO

Mark Powell – DELAND

Lenny Schneir – DAYTONA

Ira Sukrungruang – BRANDON

Randy Wayne White – SANIBEL

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