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National Outdoor Book Awards

The Prize

The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) is one of the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award programs. Click here for our index and the current award winners.

The purpose of the Awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding writing and publishing for books relating to the outdoors, nature, the environment. The National Outdoor Book Awards are administered by a non-profit, educational institution.

Design and Artistic Merit Category: Books nominated for this award may be of any genre, but they should be graphically and visually appealing and use artistic design, photographs and/or other art forms to enhance subject matter or to convey a message or theme. Nature or outdoor adventure topics are acceptable in this category.

 Year Title and Author(s)
2005 Mountain Ranges of Colorado. Photographed and written by John Fielder. Designed by Mark Mulvany.
This is a magnificent book! Mountain Ranges of Colorado is a milestone in the art of mountain photography. It's also a labor of love, the culmination of fifteen years of dedicated photographic exploration throughout the mountains of Colorado. Everything about this book is impressive from the solid cover which resembles a smooth piece of Rocky Mountain granite, to its cohesive and intelligent design, to John Fielder's masterful photography.
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2004
(tie)
Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky photography by Art Wolfe
Nine years in the making and photographed on seven continents, Edge of the Earth showcases an artist at the peak of his powers. While largely known for his striking wildlife photography, Art Wolfe proves in this volume that he is equally adept at capturing natural landscapes. Wolfe hopes that his work will motivate others to protect wild lands whose destruction he has witnessed first hand. Perhaps, that's why the book's images are so haunting: places of temporal beauty, living on borrowed time in a world ever hungry for land and resources.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
The Mountains Know Arizona: Images of the Land and Stories of Its People Photographs by Michael Collier. Text by Rose Houk. Designed by Mary Winkelmann Velgos
This book started with a wish that would have been difficult to achieve under any circumstances: tell the story of Arizona through the perspective of its mountain ranges. Arizona, after all, is a desert state. But photographer Michael Collier and writer Rose Houk did just that. From seven of Arizona's mountain ranges, we learn something of the state's first inhabitants, its settlers and fortune seekers, its diversity of landforms and ecosystems, and even something of contemporary life. This is a stylish and satisfying book and a testament to a wish come true.
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2003 First Light: Acadia National Park and Maine's Mount Desert Island with photography by Tom Blagden, Jr. and text by Charles R. Tyson, Jr.
First Light is one of those rare books that excels in all measures of an artistic achievement. It's an impressive and fitting tribute to Acadia, the Northeast's only national park. From Tom Blagden's inspiring and impassioned photography to the book's careful and sensitive design, and to the printer's nearly perfect reproduction, this work sparkles and dazzles.
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2002 Wilder Mississippi by Marlo Carter Kirkpatrick, Stephen Kirkpatrick (Photographs), Heidi Flynn Allen (Design)
No matter where you are in the city, in an office, or in a bookstore in a busy shopping center open this book to the first page, you're suddenly someplace else: to a place of quiet sounds, the flutter of wings, the rustle of a white tail, the drip of morning dew. This is a book of subtleties, of elegance and of mesmerizing images of Mississippi's natural world. Stephen Kirkpatrick's brilliant and captivating photography is complemented with an equally captivating design. So carefully executed are the design elements that even the text of the book's subtitles resembles reeds protruding from the surface of a pond. It all comes together beautifully and harmoniously, a joyful pictorial hymn, celebrating the wilderness of Mississippi.
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2001 The Living Wild by Photography by Art Wolfe
This is a book that will take your breath away. The Living Wild is a technical and intellectual marvel, providing a photographic celebration of the diversity of life inhabiting our planet. Celebrated nature photographer Art Wolfe took three years to produce the color photographs of 140 different species from 40 different countries that grace the pages of this large format book. Wolfe is clearly at the top of his game in The Living Wild, and this book should reinforce his position among the best nature photographers in the field. Using a highly effective combination of lens size and perspective, he almost brings the viewer into the photograph, blurring the boundaries of real and artificial. It's a sight to behold.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
2000 Bradford Washburn: Mountain Photography by Bradford Washburn
Traveling the world for eight decades, mountaineer, explorer, scientist and cartographer Bradford Washburn has documented the world's landscapes like no other. This is his life's work as seen through his own camera: one hundred large format mountain photographs, all exquisitely reproduced. The book includes a short interview with Washburn, but it is the photos which speak volumes about him and his artistic genius.
Read Our Review
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1999 Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail by Leonard Adkins
From a practical standpoint, this book is a field identification guide of the flora of the 2,100-mile Appalachian trail and an excellent one at that. But it is much more than a guidebook. It is a work of art and a feast for the eyes. Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail is designed with grace and elegance and filled with exquisite, full-page color photographs. It is rare to find a guidebook where every photograph is perfect, but this is one. If you're hiking or traveling in the Appalachian country, this is one book that you don't want to be without.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1998 Track of the Tiger: Legend and Lore of the Great Cat by Maurice Hornocker
Track of the Tiger is a compelling and masterfully designed book with rich, stunning photography by some of the world's best nature photographers. Nine essays, edited by eminent biologist, Maurice Hornocker, bring alive this magnificent and legendary animal, the largest of the world's cats.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA

Honorable Mentions
bulletThe Southwest's Contrary Land: Forever Changing Between Four Corners and the Sea of Cortes by Craig Childs, Mary Winkelman Velgos, and Peter Ensenberger (2002)
bulletSpotted Bear: A Rocky Mountain Folktale by Hanneke Ippisch (1999)
bullet100 Classic Hikes in Washington: North Cascades, Olympics, Mt. Rainier and South Cascades, Alpine Lakes, Glacier Peak by Ira Spring & Harvey Manning (1998)
bulletThe Rocky Mountain Wild Foods Cookbook by Darcy Williamson (1997)

 

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The National Outdoor Book Award Categories
This is a non-profit, educational program. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges consisting of respected outdoor columnists, authors, educators, and book reviewers from throughout the country. In early November, the NOBA committee announces the winners of the nine categories that make up the awards program plus a set of books that achieved honorable mentions. The NOBA awards are given in nine different categories.
bulletChildren's Books
bulletDesign and Artistic Merit
bulletHistory and Biography
bulletInstructional and How-To
bulletNatural History Literature
bulletNature and Environment
bulletNature Guidebooks
bulletOutdoor Adventure Guidebooks
bulletOutdoor Classics
bulletOutdoor Literature

If you like this list of outdoor award winners, you may enjoy these additional lists of award winning books on mountaineering. Check out the winners (and finalists) of the following awards:
bullet

American Alpine Literary Award

bullet

Banff Mountain Book Awards

bullet

Boardman-Tasker Memorial Award for Mountain Literature



 

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