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The Montana Book Award is an annual award that recognizes literary and/or artistic excellence in a book published during the award year. Eligible titles will be set in Montana, deal with Montana themes or issues, or be written, edited, or illustrated by a Montana author or artist. Books for all ages will be considered for the award.

The Montana Book Award was founded by the Friends of the Missoula Public Library in 2002 and winners are selected by a committee of individuals representing areas throughout Montana.

eds note: checked in July 2010 and not sure if still going

2008 Montana Book Award winner & honor books

Members of the 2008 Montana Book Award committee included Honore Bray, Missoula; Della Dubbe, Cut Bank; Jan Jelinek, Billings; Anne Kish, Twin Bridges; Mark Miller, Bozeman; Linda Minich, Butte; and Samantha Pierson, Libby. The acting chair is Barbara Theroux, Missoula.

Full Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School Basketball Champions of the World by Linda Peavey and Ursula Smith published by University of Oklahoma Press.

Full-Court Quest tells the story of the girls from Fort Shaw Indian School basketball team who became the world champions at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair. The book gives a rare glimpse into American Indian life and into the world of women’s basketball before “girl’s rules” temporarily shackled the sport. In-depth research and extensive collaboration with the teammates’ descendants, make this an important Montana story as well as an entertaining narrative.

2008 Honor Books

Freeman Walker by David Cates, published by Unbridled Books. At the age of seven a mulatto slave boy, Jimmy Gates, is freed by his owner-father, separated from his mother, and sent to England for an education. This adventure tale comes back to America during the Civil War and into the gold camps of Montana, as one man searches for the meaning of moral freedom.

Montana: Stories of the Land edited by Krys Holmes, published by The Montana Historical Society. This book is a well written, comprehensive history of the state of Montana illustrated with Montana artwork, photographs and artifacts. The book was intended as a textbook for 7th and 8th graders but has great appeal to anyone interested in Montana history and culture.

Requiem for Locusts by Wendy Parciak, published by Two Canoes Press. Marzita is a mentally ill newcomer to the Locust Street neighborhood, a place where no one seems to really know each other. This debut novel gives insight into the world of mental illness and what happens when neighbors confront the chaos in their own lives.

Saving Homewaters: The Story of Montana's Streams and Rivers by Gordon Sullivan, published by Countryman Press. Key conservation and restoration policies between 1900 and 1972 that set the stage for protecting Montana’s streams and rivers from pollution and neglect are examined. Many of the biologists, anglers, and political leaders of today are also interviewed as they continue the environmental fight for clean water.

Red Rover wins 2007 Montana Book Award!
The 2007 Montana Book Award winner is Red Rover by Deirdre McNamer. Red Rover is a beautifully crafted novel about idealism laid waste and the haunting, redemptive bonds of friendship. As boys, Aidan and Neil Tierney ride horseback for miles across unfenced prairie, picturing themselves as gauchos, horsemen of the Argentine pampas. A hundred miles away, Roland Taliaferro wants only to escape the violence and poverty of his family. As war approaches, Aidan and Roland join the FBI. Roland serves Stateside while Aidan requests hazardous duty and is sent as an undercover agent to Nazi­ridden Argentina. Aidan returns to Montana ill, shaken, and divided from Roland over the FBIs role in the war. On a cold December day in 1946, he is found fatally shot, an apparent suicide. The FBI stays silent.

2007 Montana Honor Books

Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis , by Kim Todd.

Evelyn Cameron: Montana's Frontier Photographer , text by Kristi Hager

One Woman's Montana , by Kathe LeSage

Winners 2002 - 2006


2006 Montana Book Award
Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson

2006 Honor Books
The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (Great Discoveries), by David Quammen
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Wings over Montana: A Celebration of Wild Birds, by Donald Jones


2005 Montana Book Award
Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone, by Douglas W. Smith and Gary Ferguson

2005 Honor Books
Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West, by Clemons Work
Mahjong All Day Long, by Beth Lo
X Out of Wonderland: A Saga, by David Cates


2004 Montana Book Award
Useful Girl, by Marcus Stevens

2004 Honor Books
Crown of the Continent: The Last Great Wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, by Ralph Waldt
Little Things in a Big Country: An Artist and Her Dog on the Rocky Mountain Front , by Hannah Hinchman
Tree Girl, by Ben Mikaelsen


2003 Montana Book Award
Hope in Hard Times: New Deal Photographs of Montana, 1936-1942, by Mary Murphy

2003 Honor Books
The Secret Life of Cowboys, by Tom Groneberg
Flight of the Fisherbird, by Nora Martin


2002 Montana Book Award
Pictures from an Expedition, by Diane Smith

2002 Honor Books
The Big Burn, by Jeannette Ingold
Silence & Solitude: Yellowstone's Winter Wilderness, by Tom Murphy
Perma Red, by Debra Magpie Earling


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