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2009 Book Award Reviews:

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J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award
Nelson Poetry Book Award
History Book Award

Grant Williams, KAC State Vice President 2009 reports:
The KAC State Book awards (J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award and the Nelson Poetry Book Award) have been judged and selected by the following Judges

2009 J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award:
Eunice Boeve
, District 6, Phillipsburg
Ride a Shadowed Trail

About Ride a Shadowed Trail: Joshua Ryder is eight-years-old and living with his Mexican mother in the seaport town of Indianola, Texas when she is murdered. Pete Waters an old ex-cowboy teaches him the cowboy trade,and gives him a colt he calls Shadow to raise as his own. The boy longs to know something of his white father, his "pa" as he likes to think of him, but eleven years will pass before he learns the truth. Eleven years in which his cowboy skills are tested, his heart opens to young love, he again knows sorrow, and finally meets the outlaw, Cole Slade, his mother's killer.

Judge’s statement :
The winner was frankly unexpected (to me) because it really isn't the type of novel, a western story, I generally would choose to read. However, Ride a Shadowed Trail was captivating in both plot and character and it does not take expected turns or easy endings. In it the characters grow and evolve, and we see what in their lives leads to these changes. The novel is a much more complicated structure and the covered time and changes that occur are real because they are believably foreshadowed.

2009 Judge: Marlys Cervantes
Ms. Marlys Cervantes is currently the Department Chairman for Humanities Cowley College , Arkansas City Kansas . She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Arts in Literature. She has expanded programs in creative writing and is Director of Multicultural Scholars Program. She was named Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and Student learning, Master Teacher and Master Presenter Awards. Also she was Cowley College Booster of the year 2004. Ms. Cervantes is also President of the Ponca Playhouse in Ponca City Oklahoma and local activities such as ReACT and RAIN.

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2009 Nelson Poetry Book Award:
Lora K. Reiter, District 2, Ottawa.
Snake in the Cradle

Reiter graduated from Beloit High School in north central Kansas. She earned her B. A. and Ph. D. from KU (M.A. from St. Louis U.).While she has made her living as an English professor (St. Louis University, Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and Ottawa University), Reiter has written all her life, primarily poetry and short stories, dozens of which have been published regionally and nationally and earned her prizes from "little magazines" (academic journals), the Kansas Authors Club, and Kansas Voices
    Snake in the Cradle is Reiter's first book of poetry deals with love, death, unexpectedly grace and eplosive violence. Sometimes it is even comic. Regardless of subject, Reiter's control of the language is masterful.

2009 Judge: Ms. Lianne Flax is the Arkansas City Librarian and distributes books to the care centers in Arkansas City along, as well as carrying out many library functions. She is a Board Member of the Literacy Council and a member of the Cowley County Writers Guild. Ms. Flax is a graduate of Emporia State University.

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2009 Ferguson History Book Award:
Eileen Umbehr, District 4, Alma
Small Town Showdown

Small Town Showdown, by Eileen Umbehr

Small Town Showdown is the true story of Keen A. Umbehr, a trashman who dared to challenge the powers that be in his hometown of Alma, Kansas, population 850. While hauling trash for the towns within Wabaunsee County, Keen also wrote a weekly newspaper column called "My Perspective" wherein he often criticized the decisions of the local county commissioners. Eileen UmbehrThe Board of commissioners were not accustomed to being challenged, and after an investigation by the State Attorney General's Office and the KBI, the commissioners voted to terminate the newspaper's designation as the official county paper. Shortly thereafter, they voted to terminate Keen's trash collection contract, despite the fact that he had provided his customers with ten years of perfect service—by the grace of God.  
    Five years later, on June 28, 1996, the case was settled in Keen's favor by the United States Supreme Court (7-2). The Topeka Capital-Journal named Keen one of eight “Distinguished Kansans” for 1996. On June 18, 1998, he was one of twelve recipients of the  Free Spirit Award from the Freedom Forum.
    See also "Book tells trash hauling saga," by Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capital-Journal, April 24, 2008.

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