State Library announces 2018 Kansas Notable Books
Acting State Librarian Eric Norris announced today the 13th annual selection of Kansas Notable Books. The 15 books feature quality titles with wide public appeal, either written by a Kansan or about a Kansas-related topic.
“I am proud to present the 2018 Kansas Notable Book list. Choosing only 15 books is no easy task,” said Eric Norris, Acting State Librarian. “The selection committee began with a pool of over 100 submitted titles and worked diligently to identify the year’s best works by authors and illustrators from Kansas, as well as those works that highlight our history and heritage. Kansans are encouraged to visit their local public library and celebrate the artists and the artistry of Kansas.”
2018 Kansas Notable Books
Bad Kansas: Stories by Becky Mandelbaum of Rockport, Wash. — In this darkly humorous collection, Kansas becomes a state of mind as the characters struggle to define their relationship to home and what it means to stay or leave, to hold on or let go.
Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs by Carol Murray of Overland Park, illustrations by Melissa Sweet of Portland, Maine — Playful poems highlight surprising facts about the world of insects, from familiar ants and exotic dragonflies to cringe-worthy ticks and magnificent fireflies in this picture book for children.
Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom Clavin of Sag Harbor, N.Y. — Cowpokes, desperadoes, and lawmen: it wasn’t always easy to tell which was which. This rollicking tale of Dodge City brims with colorful characters. From frontier settlement, to cattle drives, to a railroad town, the history of Dodge City is the story of how the West was won.
Feet of the Messenger: Poems by H.C. Palmer of Lenexa — Between the horrors of the Vietnam War and the pacific silences of the Kansas prairie, these poems honor both the beauty of the English language and the ancient powers of poetry to speak experience without diminishing it.
Fireflies in the Gathering Dark: Poems by Maril Crabtree of Mission — These poems traverse landscapes, inner and outer: physical landscapes and metaphysical ones; the landscape of relationships; the landscape of age, from childhood to maturity; and the questing landscape that leads to new understandings.
Headlights on the Prairie: Essays on Home by Robert Rebein of Irvington Ind. — These essays bring a storyteller’s gifts to life’s dramas, large and small. Moments of singular grace and grit encapsulate the lives of feedlot cowboys, long-haul truckers, and farm kids dreaming of basketball glory.
Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign Against Joseph McCarthy by David A. Nichols of Winfield — This fast-paced account reveals President Eisenhower’s subtly clever role in the destruction of demagogue Joe McCarthy. Drawn from documents in the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Nichols presents a gripping story of a classic power struggle.
Kansas Baseball, 1858-1941 by Mark E. Eberle of Hays — The early history of baseball in Kansas is the story of towns and the ballparks they built. It was a time when baseball was adopted by early settlers, then taken up by soldiers sent west, and finally by teams formed to express the identity of growing and diverse communities.
Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers by Marci Penner of Inman and WenDee Rowe of Inman — The ultimate guidebook for all things to see and do in Kansas features 4,500 attractions, 843 eateries, and more than 1,600 color photos. Counties are arranged alphabetically within six geographic regions as are the cities within each county. Entries include directions, hours and contact information.
The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill James of Lawrence and Rachel McCarthy James of Lawrence — A baseball statistician and his daughter deliver a provocative story that aims to solve a 100-year-old mass murder case. The two painstakingly scoured thousands of newspapers and records to discover and reveal the identity of one of the deadliest serial killers in America.
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson of Asheville, N.C. — While the stories of three women span multiple generations and thousands of miles, their lives are intertwined. Before leaving Kansas to go to Mars, Adri discovers Catherine’s journal of the Dust Bowl and Lenore’s letters about World War I. Each story weaves a unifying thread of hope.
The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity by Grant Snider of Derby — What do ideas look like? Where do they come from? These one- and two-page comics have been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Kansas City Star. They are a colorful look into the creative process.
Stark Mad Abolitionists: Lawrence, Kansas, and the Battle over Slavery in the Civil War Era by Robert K. Sutton of Bethesda Md. — In 1854, Boston was in an uproar. Businessman Amos Adams Lawrence was inspired to put his efforts and considerable fortune toward keeping slavery out of Kansas. The town that came to bear Lawrence’s name became part of a bigger story of people willing to risk their lives and fortunes for freedom.
That is My Dream! by Langston Hughes and Daniel Miyares of Lenexa — Langston Hughes’s inspiring and timeless poem “Dream Variation” comes joyously to life in a gorgeously illustrated picture book. Follow one child on a walk through his small segregated town in the 1950s. Then watch his mind take flight as he images a brighter, more inclusive world.
To The Stars Through Difficulties by Romalyn Tilghman of Long Beach, Calif. — Inspired by the women who built 59 Carnegie libraries in Kansas, the No Guilt Quilters overcome numerous obstacles to build the Cultural Center on the Plains- proving that New Hope is more than just the name of a town.