May 11, 2023 - News

"Rim to River" and "Raulito" to represent state at D.C. book festival

A book titled Rim to River on a light colored wood grained tabled.

Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

If visitors to the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., want to know what Arizona is all about, Tom Zoellner's "Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona" and Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford's "Raulito: The First Latino Governor of Arizona" will be there to tell them all about it.

Driving the news: Arizona's chapter of the Library of Congress Center for the Book selected those works to represent the state at the festival.

Zoom in: For nearly 20 years, the Arizona Center for the Book has selected one children's book to represent the state at the festival and the Library of Congress's Great Reads from Great Places list.

  • This is the first year that the center chose both a children's book and an adults' selection, Donna Throckmorton, the center's library services consultant, told Axios Phoenix.
  • The criteria for selections is that books may be written by authors from Arizona, take place here or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage, she said.
  • Other recent selections include "Across the Desert" by Dusti Bowling, "Nobody Hugs a Cactus" by Carter Goodrich and "Fry Bread" by Kevin Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal.

Catch up quick: Axios Phoenix in March profiled Zoellner's book, a collection of 17 essays that the fifth-generation Arizonan described as part love letter and part indictment of his home state.

  • Zoellner walked the length of the state for his book, starting near Buckskin Mountain near the Utah state line and making his way south to the Mexican border in an attempt to find the Sonoran valley that's believed to have given Arizona its name.

What he's saying: "What an incredible honor," Zoellner told us. "The book is sort of a love letter to Arizona, but it also I think is fairly unsparing in some of its criticism of the state. It's not exactly 100% promotional of Arizona."

  • He likened it to the 50 commemorative quarters that showcase something iconic from each state.

What's next: The 2023 National Book Festival will be Aug. 12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

You tell us: We thought it would be fun to choose our list, so we want to know what books you'd choose to represent the state at the festival.

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