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Kansas Notable Books 2011

The Kansas Notable Books List is the annual recognition of 15 outstanding titles by Kansas authors or about Kansas. It is the only honor for Kansas books by Kansans, highlighting our lively contemporary writing community and encouraging readers to enjoy some of the best writing of the authors among us.

A committee of KCFB Affiliates, Fellows, and authors of previous Notable Books identifies these titles from among those published the previous year, and the State Librarian makes the selection for the final List. A reception and medal awards ceremony honor the books and their authors and illustrators.

Throughout the award year, KCFB promotes all the titles on that year's List electronically, at literary events, and among librarians and booksellers.

Please view the current year's list below; prior years' lists (2006-2010) can be seen here. For downloadable copies of the press release, poster, and bookmarks, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions book cover

Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman (Shawnee Mission)

Inspired by Kansan Mary Brooks Picken, a pioneer in the domestic arts and an authority on dressmaking, Vintage Notions includes inspirational essays and projects for each month of the year. The pages are embellished with vintage fabrics and notions, crafting ideas, sewing patterns and seasonal recipes. Barickman inspires readers to enjoy hobbies that promise personal reward, potential financial reward, and personal fulfillment.

And Hell Followed With It book cover

And Hell Followed With It: Life and Death in a Kansas Tornado by Bonar Menninger (Fairway)

On June 8, 1966, a massive EF-5 tornado cut a 22-mile swath across eastern Kansas and straight through the state's capital city. In the aftermath, 16 people were dead, more than 500 were injured, and property damage reached $100 million. It became known as the most destructive tornado in U.S. history up to that time. Author Bonar Menninger interviewed dozens of survivors to construct a narrative that conveys in detail the disaster. Dozens of remarkable photographs document the devastation.

Appetite for America book cover

Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire that Civilized the Wild West by Stephen Fried (Philadelphia PA)

Appetite for America is the story of Fred Harvey as well as the story of expansion into the Wild West and the heyday of the railroad. Harvey's staff, known as the celebrated Harvey Girls, were renowned as the country's first female workforce. Stephen Fried portrays Harvey as a visionary who built his business from a single lunch counter into a family empire. Photos and never-before-published recipes enhance the historical biography.

Baking with Friends book cover

Baking With Friends: Recipes, Tips, and Fun Facts for Teaching Kids to Bake by Sharon Davis (Manhattan) and Charlene Patton (Topeka)

Authors Sharon Davis and Charlene Patton collaborated on a children's cookbook peppered with lessons, hints and educational facts to share in the kitchen. Attention is given to nutritional facts, cooking vocabulary, and colorful illustrations. Thirty tasty, healthy recipes will be a hit in most homes.

 

Bound book cover

Bound by Antonya Nelson (Houston TX)

A young wife and older, entrepreneurial husband are negotiating their age differences and well-concealed secrets. As a serial adulterer, Oliver has just fallen in love again. Placid and content, Catherine suddenly becomes guardian to a teenage girl when a long-forgotten high school friend dies. Public and private obligations change for the couple as local news reports turn up the volume on the reappearance of a serial killer. Nelson was named to the 2010 Kansas Notable Books list.

Crossing the Tracks book cover

Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber (Mission Hills)

Barbara Stuber's debut novel is the story of one dusty summer and Iris, a 15-year-old girl who struggles to cast aside her grief and learn to trust, hope, and love. She is buoyed by the understanding of the woman she cares for, but just as she starts to break out of her shell, tragedy strikes. Iris must find the fortitude to discover who she is.

Distant Home book cover

A Distant Home by George Paris (Topeka)

It's 1920 in western Kansas and the house David promised his bride Emily remains unfinished due to the previous summers' failed wheat crop. Forced to move into the crowded home of her extended family, Emily is miserable. In addition, the once sweet and lovable David is increasingly hostile toward her and their newborn daughter. Emily's father seeks to rectify the situation for his daughter. 

Flyover People book cover

Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a RectangularState by Cheryl Unruh (Emporia)

Flyover People is a compilation of 80 essays that demonstrate the author's passion for Kansas. Unruh writes of Kansas topography, the wind, the sky, the people, the seasons, small towns and growing up in a dirt-street town of 400 residents. Each essay is a snapshot of a day in the life and is written from one Kansan to another. 

Ghost Stories of the New West book cover

Ghost Stories of the New West: From Einstein's Brain to Geronimo's Boots by Denise Low (Lawrence)

Ghost Stories takes readers on a head-to-toe discovery of colliding cultures, shifting winds, and legendary figures who still populate the Great Plains. Low brings to life Native and settler heritages, expanding this genre to include historic figures, memorabilia, geology, and finally, herself. This is Low's third appearance on the Kansas Notable Books list.

Life in a Jar book cover

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer (Middlebury VT)

During World War II, Polish, Catholic social worker Irena Sendler, organized a rescue network to save 2,500 Jewish children in the Warsaw ghetto. After the war her heroism was suppressed and remained unknown for 60 years. In 2003, three southeast Kansas high school students discovered her story and fashioned it into a National History Day project. Mayer weaves two generations and two stories into a larger saga that gives new meaning and relevance to the Holocaust. 

Moon Over Manifest book cover

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (Wichita)

Twelve-year-old Abilene is the daughter of a drifter who, in the summer of 1936, sends her to stay with an old friend in Manifest, Kansas. After finding a hidden box with memorabilia, Abilene learns that this new town holds old secrets and old grudges. As Manifest's secrets are uncovered, Abilene weaves her own history and learns about her father's youth. Wichita author Clare Vanderpool received the Newbery Medal for this story based on her ancestors, and the real, southeastern Kansas town of Frontenac.

Prairie Peter Pan book cover

A Prairie Peter Pan: The Story of Mary White by Beverley O. Buller (Newton)

Mary White's brief life was characterized with spunk and spirit leaving their mark on her hometown. After her death, her father, William Allen White, poured his heart into a renowned loving essay that left its mark on American literature. William Allen White was a small-town newspaper editor with a national reputation. The compelling and often reprinted article he wrote about Mary's life and untimely death, has allowed her to stay forever young and alive, like Peter Pan. Buller is making her second appearance on the Kansas Notable Books list.

Prairie Rhythms book cover

Prairie Rhythms: The Life and Poetry of May Williams Ward by Lana Wirt Myers (Newton)

Prairie Rhythms is a montage of poetry and autobiographical writing. Enhanced by Myers' biographical detail, photographs, and Ward's own block prints, the book captures the essence of a Kansas poet who knows Kansas. A definitive addition to Kansas literary writing, this book secures Ward's place as one of Kansas' finest poets.

Scent of Rain and Lightning book cover

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard (Merriam)

One beautiful summer afternoon, Jody Linder receives shocking news: The man convicted of murdering her father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It's been 23 years since a stormy night left her father shot and killed, and her mother gone, presumed dead. The protective embrace of her family hasn't erased the pain of that catastrophic night. Author Nancy Pickard is an award-winning mystery writer and a 2007 Notable Books List author, who calls Kansas home.

StarCrossed book cover

Star Crossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Lenexa)

Sixteen-year-old Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief. When a routine job goes wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get away, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so. Accepted as a lady's maid, Digger finds peace and friendship in her new position, as well as jewels for the taking. After being caught in the act of thievery, Digger realizes her hosts may place her at the heart of a rebellion. Bunce was named to the 2010 Kansas Notable Books list as well.


"Notable Books awards benefit not only the authors, but also all Kansas citizens. They bring attention to distinctly Kansas experiences and geographies. They promote a deeper literacy through encouragement of the literary arts. Their message to readers is to get involved in lifelong learning." -Denise Low, author, Words of a Prairie Alchemist (Notable Book 2007) and Ghost Stories of the New West (Notable Book 2011) and editor, To The Stars: Kansas Poets of the Ad Astra Project (Notable Book 2010)

"Having a book named a Kansas Notable Book was a humbling but validating experience-and continues to be so. It's taught me new appreciation for the considerable work done for literacy in our state by the Kansas Center for the Book as well. The Notable Book program empowers authors to continue to do their best-and to let Kansas provide inspiration." -Beverley O. Buller, author, From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White (Notable Book 2008) and A Prairie Peter Pan (Notable Book 2011)

Download bookmarks (.pdf)
Download poster (.pdf)
Download press release (.pdf)


|     Last modified: Oct 24, 2013