Books, Botany and Awards

June 13, 2024 Helen Fowler Library

Each year the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL), determines outstanding books worthy of the Annual Literature Award. The goals of the award are to: 

  • Recognize a work that makes a significant contribution to the literature of botany or horticulture
  • Increase the visibility of CBHL
  • Encourage participation by the CBHL community in recognizing significant contributions to the literature of the field

This year’s winners are below.

This year the winner of the CBHL Literature Award
“Maria Sibylla Merian: Changing the Nature of Art and Science” by Bert Van de Roemer, Florence Pieters, Hans Mulder, Kay Etheridge and Marieke van Delft 

This book presents a wide-ranging exploration of Merian’s remarkable life, discoveries and contributions.

The Award of Excellence for Garden and Nature Writing 
“Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden” by Camille T. Dungy

This Colorado author shares her efforts to diversify her suburban yard from a lawn to a native pollinator garden. The story intertwines with environmental and social justice.

Award of Excellence in History
“A Curious Herbal: Elizabeth Blackwell’s Pioneering Masterpiece of Botanical Art” edited by Marta McDowell and Janet Stiles Tyson, essayist

This excellent introduction to Blackwell’s 18th century herbal makes her work accessible to new audiences.

Award of Excellence for Botanical Art and Illustration
“Plants of the Qur’an: History & Culture” by Shahina Ghazanfar and Sue Wickison

This work shares the history and uses of plants and is accompanied by stunning illustrations.

Award of Excellence for Botany
“In the Herbarium: The Hidden World of Collecting and Preserving Plants” by Maura C. Flannery

The author weaves a story exploring the history, natural history, art, and science behind the collection of plant specimens.

Award of Excellence for Literature for Children
“My Indigo World: A True Story of the Color Blue” by Rosa Chang

This picture book explores growing and using indigo from the author’s native Korea to Baltimore. She shares history, plant science and her personal story in a way that will intrigue readers of all ages.


The Helen Fowler Library at the Denver Botanic Gardens is home to an extensive and award-winning botany and horticulture collection. The library owns all these award-winning titles and members of the Gardens may borrow them. Stop in for a visit and see all that the library has to offer.

This article was contributed by Public Services Librarian Patty Wright.

two people relaxing in library with books

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