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William Allen White Book Award Celebration Focuses on Books, Children

October 4, 2017

Students and educators from across Kansas will celebrate children’s literature during the 65th annual William Allen White Children’s Book Awards on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at Emporia State University. The events are open to the public.

Authors Jennifer Brown and Dianna Dorisi Winget will be guests of honor for the book awards during a day that culminates in receiving their awards. Brown wrote “Life on Mars,” selected by Kansas schoolchildren in Grades 3 through 5. Winget wrote “A Million Ways Home,” selected by voters in Grades 6 through 8.

Free events on Saturday kick off bright and early at 7:40 a.m. in Emporia State University’s Memorial Union. From 7:40 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 to 10:30 a.m., children’s activities will be available including writing letters to authors, silly science, zoo docents and craft projects. At 10:45 a.m., the Emporia High School cheerleaders and band will lead a parade.

The awards ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. in Webb Hall on the second floor of the Memorial Union. Tickets cost $5 and are available at the door. 

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

The William Allen White Children’s Book Award program began after the famed journalist’s death on Jan. 29, 1944 — Kansas Day — when two memorial foundations were created in his name. 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.

William Allen White Legacy Day

After the book award celebration, another event to honor William Allen White will be held

in Albert Taylor Hall on the ESU campus. The event celebrates William Allen White Legacy Day in Emporia on Oct. 7 as proclaimed by the City of Emporia. 

The featured program is “The Making of the Film William Allen White with Director Kevin Willmott,” preceded by a 1944 NBC Cavalcade of America radio drama” From Emporia Kansas.” The radio program is the first non-print profile of the Sage of Emporia broadcast soon after his death in January 1944.

The Willmott documentary, nearing post-production, is the most recent non-print investigation of Sage anticipating the sesquicentennial of White's birth in Emporia in 1868. Willmott, professor of Film Studies at the University of Kansas and a two-time Sundance Film Festival award winner, will discuss his process directing the documentary and screen clips from interviews. Questions and answers will follow. 

Adult admission to the Legacy Day event costs $5; children and students are free. All Emporia State faculty, staff and students will be admitted free with their Hornet ID. Tickets for a VIP event after the program may be purchased for $45 in advance from the Emporia Convention and Visitor Bureau, 719 Commercial St., Emporia.

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