Notable Books Announced, as More than 900 Attend Book Festival

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TOPEKA – More than 900 book enthusiasts joined Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback Saturday, for the 2011 Kansas Book Festival at the Kansas State Historical Society.

“I’m so pleased with the turnout and the level of participation in this event. I want to extend my deepest thanks to the authors who took part in this event, the parents and students who took the time on this beautiful Saturday to participate, and the sponsors who helped make this event possible,” First Lady Brownback said.

The keynote presentation at the Festival featured David Eisenhower, grandson of President Dwight Eisenhower, and David Nichols, an expert on Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. David Eisenhower recounted anecdotes about his life and his grandfather.

The second keynote presentation featured Kansas author Alexandra Robbins, author of the New York Times’ bestseller The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School.

In addition to Eisenhower and Robbins, more than 30 authors participated in the 2011 Kansas Book Festival, including Clare Vanderpool, Kansas’ first Newbery Medal winner and author of Moon Over Manifest, and many of the 2011 Kansas Notable Book winners.

“In conjunction with my husband’s initiative to improve the number of fourth-grade students reading at or above grade level, it is our hope the Kansas Book Festival will promote literacy and encourage a life-long love of reading by bringing authors, publishers and illustrators together with the people of Kansas,” Mrs. Brownback said.

During the book festival, the First Lady assisted the Kansas State Library in recognizing the 2011 Kansas Notable Books by presenting awards to their authors. The Kansas Notable Book Award is the only award for books either written by Kansans or that have a Kansas connection. The winners this year are:

Amy Barickman (Shawnee Mission): Amy Barickman’s Vintage Notions
Bonar Menninger (Fairway): And Hell Followed With It: Life and Death in a Kansas Tornado
Stephen Fried (Philadelphia PA): Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire that Civilized the Wild West
Sharon Davis (Manhattan) and Charlene Patton (Topeka): Baking With Friends: Recipes, Tips, and Fun Facts for Teaching Kids to Bake
Antonya Nelson (Houston TX): Bound
Barbara Stuber (Mission Hills): Crossing the Tracks
George Paris (Topeka): A Distant Home
Cheryl Unruh (Emporia): Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State
Denise Low (Lawrence): Ghost Stories of the New West: From Einstein's Brain to Geronimo's Boots
Jack Mayer (Middlebury VT): Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project
Clare Vanderpool (Wichita): Moon Over Manifest
Beverley Buller (Newton): A Prairie Peter Pan: The Story of Mary White
Lana Wirt Myers (Newton): Prairie Rhythms: The Life and Poetry of May Williams Ward
Nancy Pickard (Merriam): The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Elizabeth C. Bunce (Lenexa): Star Crossed

The Topeka Community Foundation, the book festival organization, will award grants to public and school libraries across the state that can be used to supplement their books, reading programs, and technology.

The following sponsors made the 2011 Kansas Book Festival possible:
Gold Medal Sponsors: Security Benefit & Payless Shoe Source
Book Festival Champion Sponsors: Capitol Federal & Barnes & Noble
First Addition Sponsors: Book IT!, Cox Communications, Dillon’s Food Stores, Hallmark Cards, Westar Energy

The 2012 Kansas Book Festival will take place on September 15, 2012. The location will be announced at a later date.