WLA Book Awards Home | The Towner Award | 2025 Nominees

Nominate | Vote | Teacher Resources |Towner Committee | Award History


2023 Award Winner

The winner of the 2023 Towner Award is...Battle of the Butts: The Science Behind Animal Behinds written by Jocelyn Rish and illustrated by David Creighton-Pester!

Did you know manatees swim using farts? Or that herrings communicate by passing gas? Butts are used for breathing, eating, swimming, talking, and even killing in the animal kingdom. Focusing on ten different animals and their derrières, and offering fun facts about their origin, habitat, and “posterior power,” this hilarious book captures the wonder of our ecosystem. Which animal has the coolest butt power? That’s up to you to decide!

Jocelyn Rish is a writer and filmmaker who loves exploring the magic of stories in all their formats. Her short stories have been published in Highlights for Children and The Post & Courier, and she previously wrote for the MTV News website. Her debut book was published in November of 2021 by Running Press Kids, an imprint of Hachette. It’s a nonfiction picture book called Battle of the Butts, about ten animals that do weird things with their butts. Her next book is Battle of the Brains, about ten animals that have mind-blowing brain powers, which will be published November 8, 2022, by Running Press Kids. Jocelyn has won awards for her short stories, screenplays, short films, and novels, including the 2020 Book Pipeline YA Unpublished Contest, 2013 SCBWI WIP Grant for Contemporary Novel for Young People, 2009 Highlights Fiction contest, and two different grants to turn her short stories into short films: Saying Goodbye and High Heels & Hoodoo. She and her brother also won a grant to create a feature-length horror anthology called Grave Intentions, which is available on Amazon and other digital platforms. When Jocelyn’s not writing or doom scrolling social media, she tutors elementary school kids struggling to read through Reading Partners. Jocelyn lives outside of Charleston, SC, with her dogs.

David Creighton-Pester is an illustrator and graphic designer from Hamilton, New Zealand where he lives with his wife and 2 young children. His illustration work has been published in books and used on products around the world including New Zealand, Australia, the UK, France, Spain, USA, and Canada.

Click the title to go to a Choice Board!!!

Previous Winners

2023: Battle of the Butts

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.

Bill TownerTowner Display

  Thanks Mr. Towner!
Towner Thanks