Current Awards

2017 Nominations: 

1st Ride is proud to announce our third year running of award nominations: 

This year we received 11 award nominations including 8 Next Generation Indie Book Award nominations and 3 Eric Hoffer Awards! Congratulations to all of the writers, illustrators, and teams that created these honored books! 

Check out all of our Award nominated books below: 

Withered Hosts

Withered_Hosts_CoverWritten by Scott Bisig

Creative Team: Matt Galeone, Katie Leary, Amy Beth Leasure, John Orrand, Beth Williams

FINALIST for: The Library Association of Rockland County (LARC) Book of the Year award which celebrates the talent of authors in Rockland County, New York.

Buy this book: Print ¦ Kindle


Brian and Alison Graham are already haunted when they move into their new apartment, and are almost ghosts themselves: cursed by the loss of a child, inhabiting a vacant marriage, doomed to cope in separate and destructive ways.

Almost immediately, three-year-old Emma begins losing sleep. Brian begins losing memories. Soon, there are dangers everywhere – figures in the shadows, ominous warnings from the apartment downstairs; the building itself, even the people in it, may not be what they seem. As Brian struggles to keep his sanity, his marriage, and to save his remaining child, he will come to realize that their pasts are not past at all.

The Grahams have no idea what it means to be really haunted – but they will. And, over twenty-three long days, it will take every last bit of their willpower – and the courage to face the truth – if there is any hope for their survival.



Written by Jenine Zimmers

Creative Team: Matt Galeone, Lauren Lowther, Beth Williams

Nominated for: 

  • The Next Generation Award for First Novel
  • The Next Generation Award for Young  New Adult
  • Eric Hoffer Award for Commercial Fiction

Buy this book: Print ¦ Kindle ¦ Nook


Margaret Fryburger. Margaret Linebacker. Faggaret Lardburger. Fatty. Almost no one calls Margaret Steinberger by her real name. Now a 323-pound high school senior, she’s used to humiliation, whether it’s squeezing into Spandex for a Biggest Loser audition video, or hiding in a bathroom stall to eat Oreo cookies.

Underneath the fat is a girl with a sense of humor who dreams of singing somewhere grander than her parents’ basement. One who wants to stop binge eating nachos at night. One determined to find her first real friend. A friend would make it easier to face the bullies she’s had since elementary school. Sometimes it’s humiliating: they’ve followed her down the hall making fart noises. Sometimes it’s far worse: they once forced chocolates into her mouth until she puked.

This year she takes control of her life. She finds an ally in Mr. Hansen, a first-year theater teacher who shares her love of show tunes, and Casey, a born performer who could be (fingers crossed) the friend she’s always wanted. But as Margaret’s confidence builds, her bullies take their torment to painful new heights, breaking Margaret in a way she hadn’t known they could. The incident rocks her and those around her, leaving them to wonder if the damage of a bully can ever really be fixed, and if revenge can sometimes be morally right.

FATTY is a story about the inner demons that we (bullies included) battle as we attempt to fit in, not only with others, but with ourselves.

The Elephant and the Bird Feeder: Adventure in Thailand

Written by Leona Upton Illig, Illustrated by Elena Bisig

Creative Team: Melinda Elingburg, Matt Galeone, Makenzie Rustin, Beth Williams

Nominated for:

  • The Next Generation Award for Children’s / Juvenile Fiction
  • The Next Generation Award for Animals / Pets
  • Eric Hoffer Award for Children’s
  • Eric Hoffer Award for Chapter Book

Buy this book: Print ¦ Kindle ¦ Nook


Should I trust my en­emy? Befriend a stranger? Believe the impossible? Three youngsters living in the Thai countryside—an elephant, a parrot, and a boy—must find the answers to these questions. Their choices could determine their survival.

Young readers will eagerly follow the adventures of this unlikely trio as they journey through the back country in search of a home for an orphaned elephant. A modern-day fable about the values of cooperation, compassion, and respect for nature, this story will capture hearts and inspire young minds.


Seeds of Eden: The Concilium Series Book 1

Written by A.P. Watson

Creative Team: Melinda Elingburg, Matt Galeone, Katie Leary,  Beth Williams
Cover art and layout by: Regina Wamba
Photo:  ©Regina Wamba with MaeIDesign and Photography

Nominated for: 

  • The Next Generation Award for First Novel
  • The Next Generation Award for Fantasy

Buy this book: Print ¦ Kindle ¦ Nook


Visions of decapitated corpses, pools of blood, and a masked executioner have haunted Evey for as long as she can remember. Torn between a life in the waking world and dreams of the dead, she realizes her normal existence is nothing more than an illusion. As the veil between reality and her subconscious dissipates, she begins to question her own sanity. Each night as she closes her eyes, she wonders what wrongs she committed to warrant such a curse.

When a handsome stranger suddenly appears in Evey’s life, he is able to provide her with the answers she seeks. However, the only thing more mystifying than Conrad’s appearance in one of her nightmares is the undeniable attraction she feels for him. It is only when he confesses their fates and souls have been intertwined for centuries that an ancient secret is revealed. Now, the two of them must outrun a great darkness or it will claim their lives again.

A Very Oberst & Valentine Christmas

a_very_oberst__vale_cover_for_kindleWritten by Matt Galeone
Illustrated by Bethany Farrell 

Creative Team: Katie Leary, AB Leasure, Beth Williams

Nominated for: 

  • The Next Generation Award for Children’s  Fiction 0-6
  • The Next Generation Award for Children’s  Fiction 6+

Buy this book: Print¦ Kindle


What is that white stuff falling from the sky out there?
Why are there bows and ornaments and strange new smells everywhere?
What a funny time of year for two little kittens wondering, what’s all the fuss? 
Let’s find out and enjoy A Very Oberst and Valentine Christmas!

The loveable furry duo Oberst and Valentine are back and about to experience all of the magic and mayhem of the holiday season! Join the fun-loving pair as they, along with their human Matt, play in the snow, get tangled in lights, and explore the true meaning of the season. Will Oberst find the right gift for Valentine? Will Valentine ever stop attacking the Christmas tree?!? 

Come share the season with Oberst and Valentine as they learn that the best part of the holidays is sharing them with the people (and furry friends) that you love!
We hope you and your loved ones enjoy this sweet, silly, funny, and touching holiday story about love and family. Here’s wishing you A Very Oberst and Valentine Christmas!


Congratulations to all of our nominated authors and illustrators! Check out a list of our past finalists and winners