2009 CAL "TOP HAND" AWARDS
CAL Award for Mainstream Fiction
A Thousand Veils by D. J. Murphy
“Mr. Murphy has written a magnificient book that is a testament to the human spirit.” Jo Anne Pulcino, Koelbel librarian.
“A beautiful, fascinating story that grips at your heart and soul.” Randy Levin, CAL member, author, publisher and High Altitude Food Specialist.
Neptune’s Chariot by Irv Sternberg
“A very good read about a nautical adventure and a great love story.” Jo Anne Pulcino, Koebel librarian.
“A love story of various degrees, this novel keeps your heart pounding with each turn of the page.” Randy Levin, CAL member, author, publisher and High Altitude Food Specialist.
CAL Award for Genre Fiction
Dark Harvest by Lynda Hilburn
“This is a finely crafted novel which not only entertains—it leaves the reader hoping for more! [This] story is so original and is so full of fun, snappy dialogue, elegant and graphic sensuality, and fast-paced action that I found it difficult to put down.” Susan Ciazza, Reader’s Advisor, Arapahoe Library District.
“Great book. The flow from one scene [to another] is outstanding.” Sandy Whelchel, Executive Director, National Writers Assocation.
CAL Award for Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction
The Trials of Katie Hope by Wick Downing
“Terrific premise. I didn’t know about the loophole in Colorado law. Terrific! The characters are complicated and interesting. It’s an excellent inside glimpse at a trial. I hope we see more of Katie Hope.” Claire Martin, Denver Post Staff Writer
“The Trials of Katie Hope” is an exceptional novel with great characters, beautiful prose and a plot that is both engaging and thrilling. This is a wonderful book.” Bonnie Ramthun, author of The White Gates.
Fact of Life #31 by Denise Vega
“Nuanced, informative, honest. I really like the main character’s complex relationships and the frank portrayal of the complicated layers of high school’s caste system.” Claire Martin, Denver Post Staff Writer.
“A terrific novel with great characters, fast-paced action, lots of information about the little-known subject of midwifery, and a protagonist who is sympathetic without ever being cloying.
CAL Award for Children’s Fiction
Clue School, The Ghost in the Music Room by Phyllis J. Perry
“This clever story allows readers to assemble clues to a mystery and figure it out for themselves, verifying the answer by assembling puzzle pieces provided with the book. Suspenseful and taut, told with lots of entertaining dialogue, this story is a winner.” Ann Nagda, children’s author.
“The mystery was intriguing, with enough clues to help yung readers feel successful in solving it along with the main characters.” Cheryl Fallstead, Editor, Southwest Senior monthly.
CAL Award for Adult Short Fiction
"The 405 is Locked Up" by Manuel Ramos
“It’s a classic story structure of protagonist with problem who makes a choice as a result of events in the story. In this case, the choice he makes is very satisfying, making this a great read!” Rebecca Bates, author of novels and short fiction.
“Ramos gets the emotional content as well as narrative framework moving, writes a nicely complex story, puts together effective and convincing dialog, and also works with overarching conceptual metaphors. [A] fluid and balanced story.” Deborah Robson
CAL Award for Specialty Nonfiction Writing
One Gay, One Straight (Film) by Carol Grever
“This is excellent on all levels…. Very sensitive handling of an important subject.” Constance Gotsh, Program Director, KSJE FM, Farmington, NM
“You address a very challenging topic with candor, and seem to cover all the bases…and doesn’t intrude on the power that comes across from letting the interviewers tell their stories in their own words.” Lee Hart, BrandAmp.
CAL Award for General Nonfiction
It Happened in RMNP by Phyllis J. Perry
“This is a delightful book.” Ann Brandt, writer.
CAL Award for Creative Nonfiction
Disappearing Destinations by Heather J. Hansen
“Disappearing Destinations is a well-written and beautifully organized “call to arms,” regarding the environmental degradation of several popular tourist locations around the world.” Robert L. Shoop, author of several non-fiction works.
“I think this book should be required reading for all high school students and legislators—state and federal! It’s beautifully written.” Cheryl Shubert, librarian.
CAL Award for How-to Nonfiction
The Caregiver’s Choice by Elaine Long
“A compelling read at a time when many adults in their productive and empty-nest years start to face the possibility of having to care for an elderly parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.” Art Elser, a non-fiction writer.
“The author’s voice and approach to the material and the reader are compassionate. The excellent use of personal story to illustrate the need for a given recommendation achieves a lovely and important balance throughout the book....” Judy Fort Brenneman, a speaker, consultant, writing coach and award-winning writer, owner of Greenfire Creative.
CAL Award for Young Adult/Children Nonfiction
Seize the Story by Victoria Hanley
“A terrific book. I just wish it had been around decades ago when I started writing.” Joe Nigg, CAL member who writes adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction books.
“You’ve done an exciting job cutting through the gobbilty gook that can inhabit writing books to talk about the process and craft in terms familiar to teens.” Connie Gotsch, Program Director, KSJE FM, Farmington, NM
CAL Award for Adult Feature Article
Final Roundup by Joy Overbeck
“Riveting, well reported, is perfectly written.” Niki Hayden, feature writer, editor and book author.
“A grab-your-attention, thorough look at something many don’t want to think about: what happens to horses who don’t die of old age in this country. Joy give us a thorough examination of a complicated issue.” Bruce Goldberg, associate editor of the Denver Business Journal.
2009 CAL Award for Adult Essay Nonfiction
Out in the Cold by Julene Bair
“Lovely narrative, a compassionate look at an American family’s way of life that could not be sustained. It’s a tale that is being repeated elsewhere across the country in these dire economic times, but Bair engages the reader with her gorgeous imagery….” Barbara Ellis, Guest Commentaries Editor, The Denver Post.
“The story tugged at my heartstrings.” Janet Reese, freelance writer.
Omniscient Eye by Bruce Berger
"A well-crafted poem that mines a rich, modern metaphor." – Phyllis Perry, writer.