William Allen White

Children's Book Award

The William Allen White Children’s Book Award is the oldest statewide Children’s book award in the United States.

It was established in 1952 by the late Ruth Garver Gagliardo, a children’s literature specialist at Emporia State University. To honor the memory of one of Kansas’ most distinguished citizens, the award was titled The William Allen White Children's Book Award. William Allen White was an American author, politician, leader of the Progressive movement and the newspaper editor of The Emporia Gazette.

Supported in part by the Trusler Foundation and the Emporia State University Libraries & Archives, The White Awards Program was established to encourage the children of Kansas to read and enjoy good books.

2018 White Award Book Winners Announced


Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

was selected by voters in Grades 3 through 5

In “Fish in a Tree,” Hunt tells the story of Ally, a young girl who lands in a new school and hides her inability to read by creating clever and disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help, however her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, she feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. This emotionally-charged, uplifting novel will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.


Took by Mary Downing Hahn

was selected by voters in Grades 6 through 8.

“Took”, the winner in the Grades 6 through 8 category, is about a spooky mystery in West Virginia. When seventh-grader Daniel and his seven-year-old sister, Erica, move from suburban Connecticut to an abandoned farmhouse in rural West Virginia, they learn of a “conjure woman” and her resurrected razorback hog, Bloody Bones. As the tale goes, she abducts a girl every 50 years. After Daniel’s younger sister and her look-alike doll become more withdrawn and disappear into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong. Did the witch strike? He begins to wonder if Erica has been “took.”