ELLINWOOD — Ellinwood Middle School student Michaela Hughes, one of the top readers in her school, presented the William Allen White Children’s Book Award to 2010 grades 6-8 winner Cynthia Kadohata for her novel "Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam" earlier this month at Emporia State University.
Two presenters from the state were chosen. The other student chosen was Gracie Schmidt from Hays.
Hughes is the daughter of Taff and Wendy Hughes. She is also involved in 4-H and school activities.
Kansas school children chose the winners of the book awards. This is the 58th annual program. Kadohata was a first-time winner. Approximately 40,000 third- through eighth-graders took part in naming the two winning books. "How to Steal a Dog" was this year’s choice of third through fifth graders.
"Cracker! The Best Dog in Viet Nam," is Kadohata’s story of a how a young soldier in Vietnam bonds with his bomb-sniffing dog.
The night before the awards students, teachers, and librarians participated in a sleepover at the Emporia Recreation Center. The two winning authors, Cynthia Kadohata and Barbara O’Connor stopped by for a question/answer session. Approximately one hundred students from as far way as Holcomb met the two authors and asked them what it is like to be an author.
The next morning there were autograph sessions with the visiting authors and children’s activities at the ESU Memorial Union. After Hughes presented at the awards ceremony, she and her guests were invited to a luncheon with the visiting authors.
The White Awards program is the nation’s first statewide reader’s choice award. It is directed by Emporia State University and supported by the Trusler Foundation. The program was founded in 1952 by Ruth Carver Gagliardo, a children’s literature specialist, to honor the memory of one of the state’s most distinguished citizens by encouraging Kansas schoolchildren to read and enjoy good books.
Hughes was accompanied by her mother, sister Shaini Hughes and EMS teacher Connie Mitchum.