Two authors who live on opposite coasts of the United States will come to Kansas in October to accept the 2022 William Allen White Children’s Book Awards. Voters in grades 3-5 chose Rodman Philbrick’s “Wildfire.” Voters in grades 6-8 chose “The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise” by Dan Gemeinhart.
The 70th annual celebration of the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards program, led by Emporia State University and supported in part by the Trusler Foundation, will take place on October 1, 2022. On this day, school children across the state of Kansas will be heading to Emporia for special events, including lock-ins, author readings and book signings. The public is invited. Tickets for the awards ceremony are $6; all other events are free.
“Celebrating the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards is a wonderful conclusion to a year-long process,” said Dr. Wooseob Jeong, Dean of the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State+ University libraries and archives. “During the 2021-22 school year, Kansas school children read the books nominated for their age. Then they vote for their favorites. In October, they come to our campus, meet the winning authors and listen to them share their experiences.
Philbrick’s “Wildfire” tells the story of 12-year-old Sam, who is at summer camp when a raging wildfire approaches. When the camp is evacuated, Sam runs back to retrieve his phone. He is separated from his group by a wall of fire. Sam encounters another lost survivor and together they work to defy all odds and foil one of the deadliest fires of all time.
Author Philbrick lives on the East Coast, dividing his time between Maine and Florida. He has been writing novels since the age of 16.
In “The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise”, Coyote and his father, Rodeo, travel around the United States in an old school bus since Coyote’s mother and two sisters were killed in a car accident five years prior. When Coyote discovers that the park in their old neighborhood is going to be demolished, she wants to return home to save a precious memory box she buried with her mother and sisters.
Coyote’s solution to returning to Washington State is to create an elaborate plan for his father to drive back without realizing it. Along the way, father and daughter pick up an assortment of travelers who become the friends Coyote needs to complete the difficult journey.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, into a military family, author Gemeinhart moved around often until he landed in Kennewick, Washington to finish high school. After college and adventures that included teaching in Cairo, Egypt, Gemeinhart and his wife settled in Wenatchee, Washington, where he landed his dream job as a librarian.
The William Allen White Children’s Book Award program began on April 22, 1952, eight years after the famous journalist died on January 29, 1944 – Kansas Day. Emporia State University launched the William Allen White Children’s Book Award, which was guided by Ruth Garver Gagliardo, who was hired by White to write for The Emporia Gazette.
A book lover, Gagliardo wrote a regular column that commented on books, music, and art, and often focused on children’s books. She was one of the first to review children’s books for a new
Additional Resources: Paper, which gave parents, teachers and librarians an overview of quality children’s books.
Gagliardo’s column led to “The Children’s Bookshelf”, a book review column in Kansas Teacher magazine. She also started the Traveling Children’s Book Show, which has been bringing great books to children across Kansas for 23 years.
For more information on the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards, including past winners, go to https://wawchildrensbookaward. com/. Donations for the annual event can be made online here.
Additional Resources: Publishers – “Wildfire” is published by Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. “The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise” is published by Henry Holt and Co.
Authors – Rodman Philbrick is online at https://rodmanphilbrick.com/. Dan Gemeinhart is online at https://dangemeinhart. com/index.html.