2015 Award Winners

Please visit the Illinois State Library's Talking Book and Braille Service website at:

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2015 has been a stellar year for books! We hope you enjoy our list of recent award winners and honorees, including awards such as the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the Newbery Medal and more. The extensive list contains a variety of fiction, nonfiction, young adult, and children's titles that will keep you busy well into the new year. Please note that this list includes only titles currently available in our collection and may not reflect all winners or nominees for each category.

 

2015 AWARD WINNERS


Andrew Carnegie Medal

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

DB079182

When Paris is invaded by the Nazis, Marie-Laure LeBlanc's father evacuates her to St. Malo to stay with her great-uncle. Blind since the age of six, Marie-Laure must learn the town by the scale model her father has left. Then, the Germans arrive. 2014.

Bestseller, Historical Fiction, Disability Interest, War

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Bryan Stevenson

DB080035

Attorney and law professor discusses founding the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need. Describes one of his first cases--defending Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. 2014.

Law, Biography, Unrated Commercial Audiobook


Carnegie Shortlist

The 6th Extinction: An Unnatural History

Elizabeth Kolbert

DB078463

Editor of The Ends of the Earth (DB 66582) examines the causes of the five prehistoric mass extinctions and compares previous conditions with those existing in the twenty-first century. Posits that humanity is on the brink of the sixth mass extinction and is the primary cause of it. 2014.

Bestseller, Science, History

On Such a Full Sea

Chang-Rae Lee

DB078213

In a post-apocalyptic world, Fan lives in the settlement of B-Mor, where she works as a diver cultivating fish. One day her boyfriend Reg disappears, and Fan leaves B-Mor to discover his fate. 2014.

Young Adult, Science Fiction

Nora Webster

Colm Toibin

DB080260

Newly widowed Nora Webster tries to cope with the well-meaning but misplaced sympathies of her neighbors. They share predictable advice--how to raise her young sons without their father, how to get a job, and how to live as a solitary entity--but Nora can use none of it. 2014.

Bestseller, Family, Irish Interest

Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David

Lawrence Wright

DB079881

Author of Going Clear (DB 76200) examines the religious, political, and cultural determinants of the negotiations that led to 1978's Camp David Accords. Profiles U.S. president Jimmy Carter, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. Details the events of each day of the conference. 2014.

Bestseller, Biography, History, Politics, Unrated Commercial Audiobook


Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Bryan Stevenson

DB080035

Attorney and law professor discusses founding the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need. Describes one of his first cases--defending Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. 2014.

Law, Biography, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

The Great Glass Sea

Josh Weil

DB080014

Russia, the near future. A folkloric tale of twin brothers, Yarik and Dima, both part of the workforce of the world's largest greenhouse, the Oranzheria. After an encounter with the Oranzheria's owner, Yarik begins the climb up the promotion ladder, while Dima dreams of another future. 2014.

Folklore, Russian Interest


Dayton Finalists

Who We Be: The Colorization of America

Jeff Chang

DB082001

Executive director of Stanford University's Institute for Diversity in the Arts examines the issue of race in America, from 1963 to the early twenty-first century. Discusses the influence of politics, popular culture, and media on the ways race and multiculturalism have evolved over a fifty-year period. 2014.

Sociology, History, Race

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

DB079182

When Paris is invaded by the Nazis, Marie-Laure LeBlanc's father evacuates her to St. Malo to stay with her great-uncle. Blind since the age of six, Marie-Laure must learn the town by the scale model her father has left. Then, the Germans arrive. 2014.

Bestseller, Historical Fiction, Disability Interest, War

An Untamed State

Roxane Gay

DB080159

On the way to a family outing at the ocean, Mireille is kidnapped outside her father's Port-au-Prince estate by revolutionaries. As she waits for her father to pay her ransom, she endures many abuses by her kidnappers. Once released, she searches for redemption. 2014.

Mystery, Haitian Interest

The Book of Unknown Americans

Cristina Henriquez

DB079170

Maribel Rivera's Mexican family moves to Delaware so brain-damaged Maribel can attend a special school. As they adjust to their new neighborhood, the son of one of the nearby Panamanian families, Mayor Toro, becomes enamored of Maribel--but both families oppose the relationship. 2014.

Family, Disability Interest, Hispanic Fiction, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League

Jeff Hobbs

DB080277

Biography of Robert Peace (1980-2011), a talented young African American man who escaped inner-city Newark for molecular biophysics and biochemistry studies at Yale University. Examines how Peace succumbed to the dangers of the streets when he returned home to teach at his former Catholic high school. 2014.

Biography, History

No Man's Land: Preparing for War and Peace in Post-9/11 America

Elizabeth Samet

DB080274

West Point civilian English professor and author of Soldier's Heart (DB 65746) reflects on teaching at a time when military efforts are being dialed back as a move toward peace. Attempts to address issues her students will face after returning from war. Includes selected list of books and films. 2014.

Sociology, Military, Education, War

The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War

Jacqueline Winspear

DB079941

London, 1914. Kezia Marchant prepares to wed the younger brother of her best friend Dorothy Brissenden. Their friendship is strained by Dorothy's involvement in the suffrage movement and the upcoming marriage. When war is declared, Kezia's letters to the front anchor them all. 2014.

Bestseller, Historical Fiction, War


Man Booker Prize

A Brief History of Seven Killings

James Marlon

DB079940

Fictitious oral history that explores the events and individuals surrounding the attempted assassination of Bob Marley during the political turmoil in Jamaica during the late 1970s. 2014.

Historical Fiction, Jamaican Interest

Man Booker Finalists

Satin Island

Tom McCarthy

DB081334

An anthropologist named U. is embedded at a corporation that wants him to write a company ethnography as they embark on a new project. U. is a trendspotter, collecting observations but never quite getting around to writing his report. 2015.

Psychological Fiction

The Fishermen

Chigozie Obioma

DB081449

In 1990, four Nigerian brothers skip school and go fishing while their strict father goes out of town for work. At the river, they meet a local madman, who tells them one of the boys is destined to be killed by his brother. 2015.

Family, Folklore, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

A Spool of Blue Thread

Anne Tyler

DB080685

From Red Whitshank's parents, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red who fell in love in 1959, to their own grandchildren, who carry the Whitshank legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations' lives unfolding in and around their sprawling, lovingly-worn Baltimore house. 2015.

Family Saga, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara

DB081645

College friends Willem, J.B., Malcolm, and Jude attempt to find their ways within their chosen careers. Each encounters difficulties, but it is Jude, the center of their friendship, who must face the biggest demons of all. 2015.

Bestseller, Friendship, Trauma, Gay Interest


National Book Award

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates

DB082201

Columnist and editor for the Atlantic Monthly examines the history of contentious race relations in America. He reflects on the ways racial inequality plays out in his personal past and in the twenty-first century, and imagines the world his teenage son may inherit. 2015.

Bestseller, Autobiography, History, Sociology, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

Fortune Smiles: Stories

Adam Johnson

DB082453

A collection of short stories from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master's Son (DB 74282). A man searches for his son's mother. A computer programmer finds comfort in a digital copy of the recently assassinated president. A former Stasi agent ponders his past. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

Short Stories, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

Challenger Deep

Neal Shusterman

DB081908

Once Caden Bosch starts to behave oddly, spending more time absorbed with the thoughts in his head, his friends grow concerned. As Caden struggles with reality and fantasy, paranoia begins to take over. 2015.

Young Adult, Mental Illness, Download Only


National Book Finalists

The Turner House

Angela Flournoy

DB081739

Francis and Viola Turner lived in their Detroit home for more than fifty years, raising thirteen children. Now, however, the neighborhood is crumbling, Francis is gone, and their mortgage is underwater, leaving the Turners to decide the fate of their home. 2015.

Historical Fiction, Family, Download Only

Fates and Furies

Lauren Groff

DB082476

The story of a marriage, told in two parts. First is Lotto's story. A failed actor, he becomes a successful playwright with his wife, Mathilde, at his side. Mathilde's perspective on their shared years is quite different from Lotto's, however, with her own secrets and desires. 2015.

Romance, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

Sy Montgomery

DB082438

Naturalist and documentary writer explores the world, intelligence, and consciousness of octopuses. Describes her interactions with captive giant Pacific octopuses named Athena, Octavia, Kali, and Karma at the New England Aquarium in Boston, and her field investigations in French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico. 2015.

Science, Animals

If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran

Carla Power

DB082465

Journalist relates her educational journey learning about the Quran. Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi, a scholar of women in Islam, serves as her mentor. Power discusses her personal history in Arabic and Islamic countries, the Sheikh's educational journey, and the importance of cross-cultural education. 2015.

Religion, Sociology, History

Bone Gap

Laura Ruby

DB081401

Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza. His inability to distinguish between faces, however, makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation. 2015.

Young Adult, Mystery

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War

Steve Sheinkin

DB082850

Recounts how Daniel Ellsberg, a government analyst, leaked 7,000 pages of secret documents to the New York Times, exposing the lies behind America's involvement in the Vietnam War. Highlights the risks Ellsberg took in order to give the nation the truth. 2015.

Young Adult, History, War, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara

DB081645

College friends Willem, J.B., Malcolm, and Jude attempt to find their ways within their chosen careers. Each encounters difficulties, but it is Jude, the center of their friendship, who must face the biggest demons of all. 2015.

Bestseller, Friendship, Trauma, Gay Interest


PEN/Faulkner Award

Song of the Shank

Jeffrey Renard Allen

DB079514

1866. Thomas Wiggins, known as Blind Tom, and his guardian, Eliza Bethune, return to their New York apartment after riots. Tom, a musical savant and former slave, does not fit in anywhere, but a stranger soon arrives offering to reunite him with his liberated mother. 2014.

Historical Fiction, Disability Interest

Prayers for the Stolen

Jennifer Clement

DB078476

Guerrero, Mexico. Drug traffickers rule this state, so Ladydi's mother disguises her as a boy to save her from being kidnapped. Ladydi tries to start a new life in Acapulco, but the drug cartels' influence follows her. 2014.

Psychological Fiction, Family

Preparation for the Next Life

Atticus Lish

DB081409

Immigrant Zou Lei and Iraq War veteran Skinner, currently AWOL, meet on the streets of New York City, where they are both trying to survive. Life on the fringes wears both of them down, but they find a little comfort. 2014.

Psychological Fiction, Romance

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel

DB079693

On the eve of civilization's collapse due to pandemic, actor Arthur Leander dies on stage while performing King Lear. Eight-year-old Kirsten Raymonde is also in the play, and as she grows older, she discovers secrets of their new dystopia link back to Arthur. 2014.

Bestseller, Science Fiction, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

Dept. of Speculation

Jenny Offill

DB080602

A woman examines her life, particularly her relationship with her husband while they encounter the challenges of daily life, as well as more serious issues, such as infidelity. The protagonist analyzes her observations, drawing on a store of philosophical, historical, and literary insights. 2014.

Psychological Fiction, Family


Pulitzer Prize

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

DB079182

When Paris is invaded by the Nazis, Marie-Laure LeBlanc's father evacuates her to St. Malo to stay with her great-uncle. Blind since the age of six, Marie-Laure must learn the town by the scale model her father has left. Then, the Germans arrive. 2014.

Bestseller, Historical Fiction, Disability Interest, War

Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People

Elizabeth Fenn

DB080813

Historian Elizabeth Fenn examines discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, geology, climatology, and epidemiology to retrieve the history of the Mandan Indians, a tribe of Plains people who lived along the upper Missouri River. Twenty-first century archaeological finds are referenced to demonstrate how the Mandan society thrived and later collapsed. 2014.

History, Sociology, Native American Interest

The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe

David Kertzer

DB078327

Brown University professor uses Vatican archives released in 2006 to investigate the relationship between Pope Pius XI and Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, who both came to power in 1922. Discusses the ways they used each other to achieve their goals and the pope's ultimate regret over their bargain. 2014.

Biography, History, Religion, Politics

The 6th Extinction: An Unnatural History

Elizabeth Kolbert

DB078463

Editor of The Ends of the Earth (DB 66582) examines the causes of the five prehistoric mass extinctions and compares previous conditions with those existing in the twenty-first century. Posits that humanity is on the brink of the sixth mass extinction and is the primary cause of it. 2014.

Bestseller, Science, History


Pulitzer Finalists

Empire of Cotton: A Global History

Sven Beckert

DB080856

Historian Sven Beckert recounts the rise and fall of the cotton empire, its centrality to world economics, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Beckert tracks these changes over time, examining market dynamics and cultural implications across the globe and the constant power struggles that pervaded this market. 2014.

History, Economics, African American Interest

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism

Thomas Brothers

DB078244

Music professor examines the life, career, and influence of jazz trumpeter and bandleader Armstrong (1901-1971). Chronicles Armstrong's ascendency in the music scenes of Chicago and New York City and discusses ways he helped to establish jazz as a musical art form. 2014.

Biography, Music

Let Me Be Frank with You

Richard Ford

DB080486

Four short stories about the experiences of now sixty-eight-year-old Frank Bascombe, from The Lay of the Land (DB 64163). In "I'm Here," Frank travels down to Sea-Clift at the request of a man who had bought Frank's former house to view the damage from Hurricane Sandy. 2014.

Short Stories, Psychological Fiction

No Good Men among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes

Anand Gopal

DB079895

Journalist scrutinizes the lives of three Afghans to comprehend the effects of American intervention. Gopal tells the stories of a Taliban commander, a U.S.-backed warlord, and a village housewife. Describes the day-to-day life of each and how their lives have changed. 2014.

Biography, History, War

Stalin: Volume I; Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928

Stephen Kotkin

DB080820

First of a three-volume life of Ioseb Jughashvili (1878-1953), the Georgian cobbler's son and seminarian who rose through the ranks of the Russian Bolshevik party under the nom de guerre Joseph Stalin, becoming at once a shrewd political operator, charismatic dictator, brutal despot, and cynical world leader. 2014.

Biography, History, Politics

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

Evan Osnos

DB079724

Journalist uses his experiences living in China between 2005 and 2013 to examine the state of the country--especially that of individuals. Features stories of a soldier who defected to China from Taiwan, a scholar who began an influential dating service, and subversive artist Ai Weiwei. 2014.

History, Politics, Sociology, Unrated Commercial Audiobook


CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARDS


Mildred L. Batchelder Award

Mikis and the Donkey

Bibi Dumon Tak

DB082801

On the Greek island of Corfu, young Mikis is thrilled when his grandfather buys a new donkey, Tsaki, but soon worries that his grandfather is overworking the animal. Determined to take care of her, Mikis pampers Tsaki and she in turn surprises him. First published in Dutch in 2011. 2014.

Grades 3-6

Odyssey Honors

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

Julie Berry

DB080634

Seven very proper Victorian young ladies conspire to hide the murder of their headmistress from the authorities in order to keep St. Etheldreda's School for Girls open. 2014.

Grades 6-9, Humor, Mystery, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

Five, Six, Seven, Nate!

Tim Federle

DB078334

Now on Broadway as second understudy for E. T., Nate Foster keeps in close contact with his best friend Libby while dealing with his own insecurities as the cast member with the least training and experience. Sequel to Better Nate than Ever (DB 76408). 2014.

Grades 5-8, Family, Friends

A Snicker of Magic

Natalie Lloyd

DB078816

The Pickle family relocates to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town which legend says was once magic. But Felicity is convinced the enchantment is still there, and with the help of her new friend Jonah the Beedle she hopes to revive it. 2014.

Grades 4-7, Fantasy, Unrated Commercial Audiobook


Pura Belpre Award

I Lived on Butterfly Hill

Marjorie Agosin

DB081239

When her beloved country, Chile, is taken over by a sadistic military government, eleven-year-old Celeste is sent to America for her safety. Her idealistic parents, both doctors, must stay behind and go into hiding before the government makes them disappear. Translated from Spanish. 2014.

Grades 5-8, Historical Fiction


Belpre Honors

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Duncan Tonatiuh

DB082429

Recounts how young Sylvia Mendez and her brothers wanted to go to the school closest to their new home in California but were told they must attend a Mexican school. Their family organized, sued, and helped end segregation in the state. 2014.

Grades 2-4, History, Sociology


Randolph Caldecott Medal

Caldecott Honors

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

Jen Bryant

DB080620

Biography of Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), the creator of the thesaurus. Describes how books were young Peter's companions, and how from within their pages came the inspiration for his treasure house of words--starting with many, many lists. Sibert Award. 2014.

Grades 2-4, Language


John Newbery Medal

The Crossover

Kwame Alexander

DB079528

Twin fourteen-year-old basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court, as their father ignores his declining health. Told in hip-hop style verse. 2014.

Young Adult, Poetry, Sports, Family


Newbery Honors

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson

DB080026

In this autobiography told through vivid poems, Woodson explores her childhood as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement. Reflects on the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite her difficulties with reading as a child. Commercial audiobook. For grades 4-7. 2014.

Grades 4-7, Autobiography, Poetry, Unrated Commercial Audiobook


Schneider Family Book Award

Girls like Us

Gail Giles

DB080270

Graduates of their school's special-education program, Quincy and Biddy are placed together in their first independent apartment and begin new jobs. Their adult status comes with challenges, but they find common ground and discover a strong friendship. 2014.

Young Adult, Disability Interest, Friendship

Rain Reign

Ann Martin

DB079921

Struggling with Asperger's, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog. But when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to the limits of her comfort zone--which may mean leaving her routines in order to search for her pet. 2014.

Grades 4-7, Disability Interest, Animals

A Boy and a Jaguar

Alan Rabinowitz

DB082083

Autobiography of a wildcat conservationist. Author discusses his lifelong struggle with stuttering and how his love of animals helped him learn to communicate better, propelling him into a career in wildlife advocacy. 2014.

Grades 2-4, Disability Interest, Animals


Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

Jen Bryant

DB080620

Biography of Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), the creator of the thesaurus. Describes how books were young Peter's companions, and how from within their pages came the inspiration for his treasure house of words--starting with many, many lists. Caldecott Honors. 2014.

Grades 2-4, Language


Sibert Honors

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson

DB080026

In this autobiography told through vivid poems, Woodson explores her childhood as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement. Reflects on the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite her difficulties with reading as a child. Commercial audiobook. For grades 4-7. 2014.

Grades 4-7, Autobiography, Poetry, Unrated Commercial Audiobook

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

Patricia Hruby Powell

DB079158

A portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker (1906-1975). The African-American dancer worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to become a sensation on the grandest of stages in France. 2014.

Grades 5-8, Biography, Music and Dance,

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands

Katherine Roy

DB080358

Discusses the ocean's most fearsome and famous predator, the great white shark, and the scientists who study them--just twenty-six miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. 2014.

Grades 3-6, Animals, Science

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Duncan Tonatiuh

DB082429

Recounts how young Sylvia Mendez and her brothers wanted to go to the school closest to their new home in California but were told they must attend a Mexican school. Their family organized, sued, and helped end segregation in the state. 2014.

Grades 2-4, History, Sociology

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson

DB080026

In this autobiography told through vivid poems, Woodson explores her childhood as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement. Reflects on the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite her difficulties with reading as a child. Commercial audiobook. For grades 4-7. 2014.

Grades 4-7, Autobiography, Poetry, Unrated Commercial Audiobook