Grades 3 - 5: How to Steal a Dog, Barbara O'Connor

Grades 6 - 8: Cracker! The Best Dog in Viet Nam, Cynthia Kadohata

Past Winners

Two children’s book authors will be honored next fall after having been chosen by Kansas third- through eighth-graders to receive this year’s William Allen White Children’s Book Award.

“How to Steal a Dog,” by Barbara O’Connor and “Cracker! The Best Dog in Viet Nam,” by Cynthia Kodahota were the winners in the 58th annual statewide readers’ choice award program directed by Emporia State University. Both authors have been invited to take part in the award presentation in Emporia on Oct. 2.

“How to Steal a Dog is the story of a young girl who persuades her younger brother to help get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward offered by the owners.

“Cracker! The Best Dog in Viet Nam” is the story of the relationship between a soldier in Vietnam and his bomb-sniffing dog.

The annual awards ceremony draws students from across the state to Emporia for two days in celebration of children’s books. This year’s ceremony will see some changes because of the expansion and renovation of ESU’s Memorial Union. Those interested can check on details of the ceremony on the William Allen White Award Web site,, for information as it becomes available.

The White Awards program is the nation’s first statewide reader’s choice award. It is directed by ESU and supported by the Trusler Foundation. It was founded in 1952 by Ruth Carver Gagliardo, a children’s literature specialist, to honor the memory of one of the state’s most distinguished citizens by encouraging Kansas schoolchildren to read and enjoy good books.


Additional resources:

•  William Allen White Children's Book Awards:

•  Scholastic Books:

•  Barbara O'Connor:

•  Cynthia Kadohata: