Children’s literature is focus of William Allen White Children’s Book Awards celebration

October 1, 2013

More than 400 students and educators will celebrate children’s literature during the 61st annual William Allen White Children’s Book Awards on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2012, at Emporia State University. The events, including a special event on Friday night, are open to the public.

Authors Patrick Jennings and Peg Kehret will be the guests of honor during a day that culminates in receiving their awards. Jennings wrote “Guinea Dog” (EgmontUSA), and Kehret wrote “Ghost Dog Secrets” “Penguing Group).

“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.

From 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, Jennings will sign copies of his book at the William Allen White State Historical Site, 927 Exchange St., in Emporia. Copies of “Guinea Dog” will be available for purchase at the event. Free refreshments will be available and brief tours of the site will be available by donation.

Free events on Saturday, Oct. 5, kick off bright and early at 7:30 a.m. in Emporia State University’s Memorial Union. From 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., copies of the books and souvenirs of the celebration will be sold by the Memorial Union Bookstore, and both authors will be available to sign the books. From 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., children’s activities will be available including a storyteller, writing letters to authors and craft projects. At 10:45 a.m., a parade through the Emporia State campus begins.

Participants should enter the east side of the Memorial Union. Ambassadors will direct everyone to activities from there.

At 11:30 a.m., the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards Ceremony begins in Webb Hall in the Memorial Union. During the event, both authors will speak. Tickets are required for seating at the event and cost $5 each.

The William Allen White Children’s Book Award program was founded in 1952 by Ruth Garver Gagliardo, a specialist in children’s literature at 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.

Additional resources:



Achievement - Emporia State University

Check out our students' achievements and accomplishments on Emporia State's site