White book awards go to titles with dog themes

April 25, 2013

Dogs rule for readers in the 2013 William Allen White Children’s Book Awards. “Guinea Dog” by Patrick Jennings (EgmontUSA) and “Ghost Dog Secrets” by Peg Kehret (Penguin Group) have been judged the best by Kansas schoolchildren.

The William Allen White Children’s Book Award program was founded in 1952 by Ruth Garver Gagliardo, a specialist in children’s literature for Emporia State University. One of the few literary awards that asks young readers to choose the winners, the program is directed by Emporia State University and supported in part by the Trusler Foundation.

Both authors have been invited to the awards celebration, set for Saturday, Oct. 5 in Emporia.

“Guinea Dog,” selected by voters in Grades 3 through 5, tells the story of Rufus, who dreams of having a dog as a pet. But his dad objects, and his mom’s solution sounds crazy. Still, Mom brings home a guinea pig for Rufus, who discovers this pig things she’s a dog.

“Ghost Dog Secrets,” selected by voters in Grades 6 through 8, is the story of Rusty, a sixth-grade boy who feeds a dog left chained in frigid weather with no food, water or shelter. Eventually, Rusty and his friends take the dog to their hideout. As they face multiple challenges — a snoopy sister and threats from the dog’s owner — Rusty faces a new challenge when a ghost dog appears in his room and tries to lead him to an even deeper secret.

During the October awards celebration, schoolchildren from across the state of Kansas travel to Emporia for special events including lock-ins, author readings and book signings along with a parade through downtown Emporia to the awards ceremony itself. Many teachers use travel to the book awards as incentives in their school reading programs.

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