Colorado Book Awards Finalist Reading Series

Be sure to join us at the Colorado Book awards celebration in Aspen on June 21 at 3 p.m.!
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Colorado Book Award Finalists Read Friday and Saturday

The Colorado Book Awards finalists from the Children’s, Juvenile and Young Adult categories will read at the Tattered Cover Aspen Grove, 7301 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, CO, 80120, at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8 (it’s OK to wear your pajamas).

The finalist authors of the Mystery and Short Story Collection categories will read on Saturday, May 9, at 7 p.m. at the BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St., Denver, CO 80212.

Friday, May 8, at Tattered Cover Aspen Grove, 7301 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, CO, 80120, 7 p.m.

Children’s Literature

Charlotte Havey is a Colorado native, born in Greeley. She is a former elementary school teacher and preschool director with a special feeling for children and animals that comes across beautifully in her book. Her “Shep The Turnpike Dog” is based on the true story of the tollbooth mascot turned Broomfield legend who won the hearts of drivers in the 1950s and ‘60s. Beginning with his first appearance as a stray puppy at a tollbooth on the Denver-Boulder Turnpike, Shep’s story connects young readers with a special moment in history and the timeless bond between people and pets.

Jennifer Ward’s “Mama Built a Little Nest” is a delightful exploration of the incredible variety of nests birds build for their babies. Ward began writing books for children during her career as a teacher in Arizona. Steven Jenkins illustrated “Mama Built a Little Nest” and has written and illustrated many award-winning children’s books, including “Bees, Snails, and Peacock Tails” and the 2003 Caldecott Honor recipient, “What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?” He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

S. A. Mahan conceives her stories while hiking Rocky Mountain trails and then returns to her mountain home to write them.The Baby Sea Turtle” is a richly illustrated young children's reader about a baby sea turtle that hatches after all of his brothers and sisters have left for the ocean. He makes a wrong turn and heads into danger, and a kind young boy helps him find his ocean home.


Sandra Dallas’s “Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky” shines a light on a dark period of American history in a story of a young Japanese American girl caught up in the prejudices of World War II. Dallas is the author of twelve novels and ten nonfiction books for adults. Her first novel for young readers, “The Quilt Walk,” was the recipient of the 2013 Wrangler Award for the Outstanding Juvenile Book from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Lydia Gil was born in Puerto Rico of Cuban parents. In her "Letters From Heaven" (Arte Público Press), Celeste is heartbroken when her grandmother dies, but everything changes when a letter mysteriously comes in the mail—from Grandma! As letters continue to arrive, each with a recipe of a favorite food she used to prepare, Celeste follows her grandmother’s advice and consoles herself by learning how to cook the dishes.

Jeannie Mobley is an archaeologist and professor who lives in Colorado. Her first novel, “Katerina’s Wish,” received three starred reviews, won the Colorado Book Award, and was a New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing selection. In this year’s finalist book, “Searching for Silverheels,” a girl’s search for the truth about a legendary woman teaches her a lot about bravery and loyalty.

Young Adult

Leah Bassoff is a writer and middle-school teacher and a former assistant editor at Penguin. She has written for Denver Voice and The Coloradan. Laura DeLucateaches anthropology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has done extensive fieldwork in East Africa and has written articles on her experiences with Sudanese refugees in Anthropology News, Anthropology Matters and Journal of Refugee Studies. They both live in Denver. In "Lost Girl Found," Poni’s life in her small village in southern Sudan is simple and complicated at the same time. Stay in school. Beat up any boy who tries to show attention. Watch out for the dangers in the river. When the war comes, soldiers arrive in her village and bombs rain from the sky. There is only one thing for Poni to do. Run. Run for her life.

Amy Kathleen Ryan lives in Fort Collins with her family, tends her messy garden, and tries to keep up with her kids. “Flame” is her sixth novel. Waverly, Kieran, and Seth struggle to survive aboard the New Horizon, surrounded by enemies. Kieran must pretend to co-operate with the evil Anne Mather as he waits for his chance to strike. Waverly testifies against Mather’s crimes to the Church Elders, but can she trust them? Seth covertly foments rebellion against Mather, but his time is running out. Nothing is sure and every moment is a risk in this explosive finale to “The Sky Chasers” series.

Jordan Romero, born July 12, 1996, is an American mountain climber who on May 22, 2010, at the age of thirteen, became the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. By December 25, 2011, at the age of fifteen, he became the youngest person to climb to the summit of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. He worked with Colorado writer Linda LaBlanc to tell his story in "No Summit out of Sight" (Simon & Schuster). Romero is now touring the United States, climbing the tallest peak in each of the fifty states. Romero lives in Big Bear Lake, California. LeBlanc lives in Denver and loves the Rocky Mountains.  As the volunteer activity director of an adult outdoor club, she led camping, hiking, mountain climbing, backpacking, canoeing, rafting, spelunking, downhill and cross country skiing trips 35 weekends a year for 13 years.

Saturday, May 9, 7 p.m. at the Book Bar, 4280 Denver, CO 80212


Chuck Greaves spent twenty-five years as a trial lawyer in Los Angeles. In "The Last Heir" (Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press), an intriguing new case lures attorney Jack MacTaggart from the sweltering smog of L.A. to the rarified air of California wine country to investigate the death of an heir to a Napa Valley empire.  “Hush Money,” Greaves’ first novel, was named by SouthWest Writers as the Best Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Adventure Novel of 2010 and won their Storyteller Award. He is also author of “Hard Twisted,” writing as C. Joseph Greaves.

Dale Lovin was an FBI Agent for twenty-five years, specializing in investigations of violent crimes. In the wake of September 11, 2001, he worked in the establishment of the Congress-mandated enhanced Federal Air Marshal Service. In "Strangers, Lovers and the Winds of Time," flashbacks to disturbing episodes of intolerance in our nation’s history lay the foundation as former FBI Agent Brad Walker encounters faces and voices from his past. Sprinkled with documented investigations into modern-day white supremacist crimes, dramatic action unfolds from the Southwest to the West Coast in a poignant reminder of the words of William Faulkner: “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.”

Mark Stevens worked as a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, The Rocky Mountain News, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, The Denver Post, and Denver Public Schools. A chewed-up corpse high in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area leaves Colorado hunting guide Allison Coil mystified in "Trapline." Obvious signs suggest the dead man is the victim of a mountain lion attack, but Allison’s instincts tell her otherwise. Miles away in Glenwood Springs, a controversial candidate for U.S. Senate is shot during a campaign stop as newspaper reporter Duncan Bloom watches, dodging the long-range gunfire. “Trapline” follows Coil and Bloom as their investigations collide, exposing the dark depths of human indifference.

Short Story Collection

"The Seven Stages of Anger and Other Stories" by Wendy J. Fox (Press 53) is a collection set in the American west--mostly in Colorado and Washington--that explores complicated family dynamics. Fox won the 2014 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction for “The Seven Stages of Anger and Other Stories.” She has contributed to numerous literary journals, including Washington Square, The Missouri Review (online), The Madison Review, PMS poemmemoirstory, The Tusculum Review and ZYZZYVA. She lives in Denver.

In Christopher Merkner’s "The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic," an enraged village gaslights unsuspecting vacationers and a young man delays a confession, fondling the nostrils of his mother's pet pig. In these sharp and uneasy stories, that which binds his characters most closely—offering stability and identity and comfort—are precisely the qualities that set them back and ruin them. Merkner teaches creative writing at West Chester University. His work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Cincinnati Review, Fairy Tale Review, Gettysburg Review, New Orleans Review, and Best American Mystery Stories.

Stories in "Sanctuary:  Family, Friends, & Strangers" are about women who struggle. From a runaway girl to a young woman with a lost career to a traditional woman of the 1880s who turns rogue, these tales range in time and place, but all tell the story of women overcoming adversity. A school librarian in Colorado for twenty-one years,Lucinda Stein’s novel, “Three Threads Woven,” was a 2010 WILLA finalist for Women Writing the West. Her short story, “Sulfur Springs,” won the 2011 LAURA Award for Short Fiction judged by Pam Houston. Stein’s short stories have appeared in Fine Lines, The South Dakota Review, and Women Writing the West online.

Supported by Outskirts Press and Vectra Bank of Colorado, the Colorado Book Awards recognize outstanding contributions by Colorado authors, editors, illustrators and photographers in multiple categories.  As an opening event for Aspen Summer Words, one of the country’s best gatherings for writers and readers, Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book will announce the Colorado Book Award winners on Sunday afternoon, June 21, 2015, during the 24th Annual Colorado Book Awards ceremony at the Aspen Meadows Resort.

About Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book

Established in 1974, Colorado Humanities is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the national award-winning educational nonprofit Motheread, Inc. With offices in the Denver Technological Center, Colorado Humanities works with 300 local program partners throughout the state to design and implement educational programs that best meet each community’s needs. Colorado Humanities' goals are to improve education, strengthen cultural institutions, and enrich community life by inspiring the people of Colorado to explore ideas and appreciate our diverse heritage.

To learn more, visit or call 303.894.7951.


The full list of finalists was announced March 30, 2015.  Congratulations!



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