Two Books Chosen to Represent Kansas at National Book Festival


“A Vote for Susanna” and “The Chicken Sisters” chosen for the National Center for the Book’s Great Reads from Great Places program

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TOPEKA – The Kansas Center for the Book, a program at the State Library of Kansas, has selected one youth book and one adult book to represent the state at the 2022 National Book Festival. The youth book chosen is A Vote for Susanna: The First Woman Mayor by Karen M. Greenwald, illustrated by Sian James. The book chosen for adults is The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia.

Both titles will be part of National Center for the Book’s Great Reads from Great Places program. Great Reads from Great Places features books and authors representing the literary heritage of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Marianas. For over 20 years this program has included a highlighted youth title from each affiliate center. In 2022, “Great Reads from Great Places” is including titles for adults for the first time.

This year’s National Book Festival on September 3 will be held in-person in Washington, D.C., but will include many livestreamed and recorded virtual programs celebrating books and authors. Author Karen Greenwald will take part in an online panel conversation with other chosen authors from state Centers for the Book to talk about her book and what inspired her.

This and other panel discussions will be posted toward the end of August on the National Book Festival website and the Library of Congress’s YouTube channel.

About the Books

“A Vote for Susanna: The First Woman Mayor”

In 1887 the state of Kansas gave women the right to vote in municipal elections. But some men in the city of Argonia, Kansas didn’t think women should have a say in choosing their next mayor, so they put a woman on the ballot—as a joke. That woman was Susanna Salter—and soon the men would find the joke was on them! Narrated by a grandmother who remembered what happened on that election day, this is the true story of a woman who stood up for her right to vote and accomplished so much more.

“A Vote for Susanna” was named by the State Library to the 2022 Kansas Notable Books list.

“The Chicken Sisters”

Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster. In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state- and the legendary feud between their respective owners has lasted just as long. When family secrets become public knowledge on Food Wars, the reality TV competition that promises $100,00 to the winner, the sisters must choose: Will they fight each other, or fight for their heritage?

“The Chicken Sisters” was named by the State Library to the 2021 Kansas Notable Books list.

About Kansas Center for the Book

The Kansas Center for the Book is a program at the State Library of Kansas which is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book. The mission of the Kansas Center for the Book is to highlight the state’s literary heritage and foster an interest in books, reading, and libraries.

The State Library of Kansas – To learn more, visit

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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