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Area students among winners at 2012 Kansas Book Festival
edu deh book fest olivia and Patti blackwell
Olivia and Patti Blackwell

TOPEKA – Nearly 2,000 book enthusiasts joined Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback for the 2012 Kansas Book Festival at the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka Sept 15.
“The turnout for our second annual festival was great. I want to extend my deepest thanks to the excellent authors who took part in the festival, the adults and children who took time on this beautiful Saturday to come out and enjoy the event, and all of our amazing sponsors who helped make this event possible,” Brownback said.
The keynote presentation at the Festival featured 91-year-old Navajo Marine Chester Nez and his co-author Judith Avila. Nez was one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers from WW II.
In the Kansas Book Festival writing contest, there was a first and second place winner in each grade division per congressional district. They each won $250 for their efforts.
The area winners were:
6th-8th Grade, Second Place – Olivia Blackwell, Great Bend, the daughter of Mark and Patti Blackwell. She is a freshman this year at Great Bend High School.
9th-12th Grade, Second Place – Kayla Schartz, Ellinwood, daughter of Gary and Kim Schartz. She is a senior at Ellinwood High School.

Other winners were:
3rd-5th Grade, First Place
Mackynzie Marsh, Lakin
Ashlyn Zachgo, Wamego
Lily Elizabeth Strass, Overland Park
Kristin J. Woodruff, Maize

3rd-5th Grade, Second Place
Jennifer Crum, Lakin
Aubrey Hildebrand, Wamego
Sofia Hedstrom, Overland Park
Kaleo E. Vincent, Valley Center

6th-8th Grade, First Place
Kacie Timmons, Smith Center
Abigail Jackson, Eudora
Hannah Greer, Olathe
Grace Donaldson, Wichita

6th-8th Grade, Second Place
 Anita Patel, Topeka
Anna Marie Darling, Paola
Michelle Willson, Conway Springs

9th-12th Grade, First Place
Nicole Gieselman, McPherson
Sarah Gerber, Wetmore
Annika Hedstrom, Overland Park
Christine Fuston, Wichita

9th-12th Grade, Second Place
 Jessica Hermesch, Nemaha Valley
Alex Gottschalk, Olathe
Ally Burr, Arkansas City
In total, more than 30 authors who participated in the 2012 Kansas Book Festival, including Candice Millard, Matthew Polly, Brad Sneed and many of the 2012 Kansas Notable Book winners.
“In conjunction with my husband’s initiative to improve the number of fourth-grade students reading at or above grade level, it is our hope the Kansas Book Festival will promote literacy and encourage a life-long love of reading by bringing authors, publishers and illustrators together with the people of Kansas,” Brownback said.
During the book festival, the First Lady assisted the Kansas State Library in recognizing the 2012 Kansas Notable Books by presenting awards to their authors. The Kansas Notable Book Award is the only award for books either written by Kansans or that have a Kansas connection. The winners this year are:
• Marci Penner: 8 Wonders of Kansas! Guidebook
• Wyatt Townley: The Afterlives of Trees
• Candace Fleming: Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
• Lori Roy: Bent Road: A Novel
• Candice Millard: Destiny of the Republic
• Mary Doria Russell: Doc: A Novel
• Roderick Townley: The Door in the Forest
• Elizabeth Bunce: Liar’s Moon
• Tracy Seeley: My Ruby Slippers: The Road Back to Kansas
• Ramon Powers and James Leiker: The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory
• Kelly Enright: Osa and Martin: For the Love of Adventure
• Julie Courtwright: Prairie Fire: A Great Plains History
• Thomas Fox Averill: rode
• Katherine Karlin: Send Me Work: Stories
• Matthew Polly: Tapped Out: Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts
The Kansas Book Festival is a 501(c)3 organization established through the Topeka Community Foundation. The book festival organization will award grants to public and school libraries across the state that can be used to supplement their books, reading programs, and technology.
The 2013 Kansas Book Festival will take place on Sept. 14, 2013.