On January 25, the California Independent Booksellers Alliance streamed an awards ceremony honoring the winners of the annual Golden Poppy Awards, recognizing “the most distinguished books written and illustrated by creators who have made California their home.” CALIBA’s 238 bookstore members and their employees voted on short lists of finalists in 14 categories, including a new category, children’s nonfiction.

“This year, we were lucky to see a record number of submissions and votes by our bookselling community,” said outgoing CALIBA coexecutive director Kristin Rasmussen, who served with Ann Seaton in the position, and is now moving on to a position as Scholastic district sales manager. CALIBA encouraged participation with an Instagram contest for the best bookstore display featuring the Golden Poppy contenders, won by Bookshop Benicia in Solano County, Calif. The ceremony was held via video conference.

Rasmussen called on three emcees to lead the ceremony: romance author Jasmine Guillory (whose While We Were Dating received a 2021 Golden Poppy), Jhoanna Belfer of Bel Canto Books (Long Beach, Calif.), and Susan Reckers of Rakestraw Books (Danville, Calif.). The emcees in turn brought in other CALIBA booksellers to read the categories and briefly interview each winner.

All but one of the winning authors were available to attend the livestream, among them national best sellers Abraham Verghese (The Covenant of Water), Brian Selznick (Big Tree), Jon Klassen (The Skull), and Nina Simon, former executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, whose whodunit Mother-Daughter Murder Night is set along the California coast.

This year’s Golden Poppy winners include: