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2022 Award Winner

The winner of the 2022 Towner Award is...The Pig War: How a Porcine Tragedy Taught England and America to Share, written by Emma Bland Smith and illustrated by Allison Jay!

Cover of book "The Pig War"

Here is a true story of how the great nations of America and England almost went to war in 1859 over a pig – but learned to share instead. In 1859, the British and Americans coexist on the small island of San Juan, located off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. They are on fairly good terms – until one fateful morning when an innocent hog owned by a British man has the misfortune to eat some potatoes on an American farmer’s land. In a moment of rash anger, Lyman Cutlar shoots Charles Griffin’s pig, inadvertently almost bringing the two nations to war. Tensions flare, armies gather, cannons are rolled out...all because of a pig!

Emma Bland Smith is the award-winning author of Journey: Based on the True Story of OR7, the Most Famous Wolf in the West, as well as other fiction and nonfiction books for children. Many of Emma’s books include animals—wolves, dogs, pigs, even alligators! Emma is a librarian and author and lives in San Francisco with her husband, two kids, dog, and cat—but no wolf, pig, or alligator. Visit her online at emmabsmith.com and on Twitter at @emmablandsmith.

Alison Jay studied graphic design in London where she now lives. She has worked in all areas of illustration including advertising, packaging, editorial, and design. She has illustrated many children's books, including Welcome to the Zoo which was selected for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.


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Previous Winners

2022: The Pig War: How a Porcine Tragedy Taught England and America to Share by Emma Bland Smith

2021: Big Cats by Nic Bishop

2020: Avalanche Dog Heroes: Piper and Friends Learn to Search the Snow by Elizabeth Rusch

2019: This Book Isn't Safe by Colin Furze

2018: Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton

2017: Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli

2016: Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy

2015: Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss

2014: Snakes by Nic Bishop 


About Bill Towner

The Towner Award is named in honor of William "Bill" Towner who served as the Library Media Specialist at Kimball Elementary School in the Seattle School District until 1996. He was the WLMA Library Media Specialist of the Year in 1990.

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  Thanks Mr. Towner!
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