Florida Book Awards winners for 2020 announced

Gabi Justice of Safety Harbor wins a silver medal for her YA book “Dog Girl,” about a teen who rescues a pit bull.
Dog Girl cover
Dog Girl cover [ Month9Books ]
Published April 20, 2021|Updated April 22, 2021

The winners of the 2020 Florida Book Awards cover a lot of ground in their pages: robots and dragonflies, Jacksonville rock bands and a Sanibel artist, Florida’s springs and its governors.

The Florida Book Awards, established in 2006, is an annual awards program that recognizes, honors and celebrates literature by Florida authors and books about Florida published in the previous year.

Coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries and co-sponsored by several Florida arts, writers and literacy organizations, the awards include up to three prizes (gold, silver and bronze medals) in 11 categories. All books must be written by authors who live in Florida, except for those in the Florida nonfiction and visual arts categories, which must be about Florida subject matter.

This year, only one award went to a Tampa Bay area author. Gabi Justice of Safety Harbor won a silver medal in the young adult category for her YA romance Dog Girl, about a teen who runs a dog rescue operation.

For 2020, the judges did not select any winners in the general fiction category.

This year the awards ceremony (usually held at the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee) will be virtual.

Here are the 2020 Florida Book Award winners:

Young children’s literature

Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal: Queen of Tejano Music: Selena by Silvia Lopez (Miami)

Silver: Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! by Alexandra Alessandri (Miami)

Older children’s literature

Jean E. Lowrie Gold Medal: Beastly Bionics: Rad Robots, Brilliant Biomimicry, and Incredible Inventions Inspired by Nature by Jennifer Swanson (Jacksonville)

Silver: The Mathematical Investigations of Dr. O and Arya by Arya Okten and Giray Okten (Tallahassee)

Bronze: Dragonflies: Water Angels and Brilliant Bioindicators by Marta Magellan (Miami)


Gold: My Life in Gluttony: A Culinary Adventure by Jeffrey Spear (Jacksonville Beach)

Florida nonfiction

Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal: The Governors of Florida edited by R. Boyd Murphree and Robert A. Taylor (Quincy)

Silver: Florida’s Healing Waters: Gilded Age Mineral Springs, Seaside Resorts, and Health Spas by Rick Kilby (Orlando)

Bronze: Jacksonville and the Roots of Southern Rock by Michael Ray FitzGerald (Jacksonville)

General nonfiction

Gold: Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America by Gerald Posner (Miami Beach)

Silver: Black Panther in Exile: The Pete O’Neal Story by Paul J. Magnarella (Gainesville)

Bronze: Still Invisible? Examining America’s Black Male Crisis by Elvin J. Dowling (Miramar)


Gold: Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs by William Fargason (Tallahassee)

Silver: Earnest, Earnest? by Eleanor Boudreau (Tallahassee)

Bronze: Sacrificial Metal by Esther Lee (Jacksonville)

Popular fiction

Gold: Assassin’s Strike by Ward Larsen (Sarasota)

Silver: Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning (Stuart)

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Bronze: The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette (Key West)

Spanish language

Gold: Parece una república by Francisco Larios (Miami)

Silver: P by María Cristina Fernández (Miami)

Bronze: Tres semillas de granada. Ensayos desde el inframundo by Rose Mary Salum (Miami)

Visual arts

Richard E. Rice Gold Medal: Captivated by Steve Saari (Sanibel)

Young adult

Gold: It’s My Life by Stacie Ramey (Wellington)

Silver: Dog Girl by Gabi Justice (Safety Harbor)

Bronze: Camper Girl by Glenn Erick Miller (Naples)