And the Winners Are . . .

Every spring for the last thirty plus years, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) celebrates the little guys in the publishing world through its Benjamin Franklin Awards. This is actually a highly regarded indie book award program that recognizes excellence in editorial content, photography, and design. This year the IBPA judges, hundreds of them, chose winners in fifty-six different categories, winnowing through about 1,700 entries. That’s a lot of books. Earning a Ben Franklin is one of the highest national honors for independent publishers and authors. 

The awards ceremony was just a wee bit different this year as authors gathered via video to learn the winners and enjoy the usual antics of the IBPA staff.


Since 2014, Thrums Books has received ten Benjamin Franklin awards, mostly in the Multicultural category, but also in the Photography and Travel categories—all the things you’ve come to love about our books.

So this year, we were pleased once again when three of our books won awards. Keith Recker’s True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigments won gold for the Multicultural Category. A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala by Deborah Chandler and A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Peru & Bolivia by Cynthia LeCount Samake were silver winners in the Travel Category.

During Deborah Chandler’s acceptance speech (given virtually from her home in Guatemala, of course), she thanked the IBPA “for giving an award to travel books when no one can travel.” But I would disagree with Deborah. We can still travel without ever leaving our homes, and it’s books like hers that make it possible. As our authors wander the planet meeting artisans, learning their crafts, and discovering their traditions, their clear, clever voices bring us along with them.They narrate color, people, and place with such deftness that we too are able to walk the side roads of Guatemala’s highlands, learning the stories and skills of Maya weavers.

Armchair traveler
Celebrants in the Anata Andina festival in Oruro, Bolivia. Anata Andina is an indigenous celebration held before Carnival. Photo by Cynthia LeCount Samake from her book A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Peru and Bolivia.

And we can journey high in the Bolivian Andes, taking in the textile traditions of an indigenous spring celebration. Or we can travel to India and experience the joy of transforming marigold offerings from Hindu temples into an exquisite natural dye.

Adiv Pure Nature uses up to 900 kilos of marigold petals a week in their natural dye workshop. Photo by Julie Hall from True Colors.

These are just some of the places you can travel with this years’ Benjamin Franklin Winners. They are cheerful guides. They will show you the way.

Congratulations, everyone!



In celebration of our recent awards, we’re offering up to 50% off  this year’s Benjamin Franklin award winners.


1 thoughts on “And the Winners Are . . .

  1. Deborah Chandler says:

    Nice. And for sure, reading the two books besides mine has made me want to go to the wondrous places they talk about, to see the rich cultures portrayed. These are beautiful celebrations of the best humanity has to offer. We need that right now.

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