2023 Kansas Notable Books list announced

TOPEKA –The State Library of Kansas is proud to announce the 2023 Kansas Notable Books list. This year’s list of Kansas Notable Books continues the tradition of celebrating the rich stories and vibrant spirit of the state.

“The authors of the 2023 Kansas Notable Books not only help us gain a deeper understanding of our world, but also encourage empathy for others and reflection on our own life experiences,” State Librarian Ray C. Walling said. “Written by Kansans or about Kansas and Kansans, these fifteen books explore wanderlust, transformative collaboration, hidden struggles, inspiring resilience, and the power of love.”

Authors will be recognized and awarded medals by the State Librarian at the Kansas Book Festival on September 16 at Washburn University. The Book Festival is a free event that is open to the public. For more information on the event, visit kansasbookfestival.com.

The selection process for the Kansas Notable Books involved a rigorous evaluation by a selection committee made up of librarians, educators, and literary professionals. Their task was to identify books that exemplify quality writing, compelling storytelling, and significant contributions to the literary landscape. This year’s list features a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children’s literature, ensuring there is something for every reader.

A program of the Kansas Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, Kansas Notable Books works to foster a love for reading by promoting these exceptional works across the state. Public libraries, schools, and bookstores feature the Kansas Notable Books prominently and organize events that engage readers and highlight the authors’ accomplishments. An annual grant program administrated by the State Library supports Kansas public libraries adding Notable Books titles to their collections in formats best suited to their patrons. Applications will be released mid-June.

For more information about the Kansas Notable Books program, visit kslib.info/notablebooks or contact the State Library of Kansas at 785-296-3296 or email infodesk@ks.gov.

2023 Kansas Notable Books

  • Cabby Potts, Duchess of Dirt by Kathleen Wilford, Blue Bronco Books
  • Easy Beauty: A Memoir by Chloe Cooper Jones, Simon & Schuster
  • Hell’s Half-Acre: The Untold Story of the Benders by Susan Jonusas, Viking
  • Justa’s Escape: A Journey from WWII Ukraine by Justina Neufeld with Russell Binkley, Wipf and Stock
  • Kansas Speaks Out: Poems in the Age of Me, Too edited by Dennis Etzel, Jr and Jericho Hockett, An Actual Kansas Press
  • Letters to Martin: Meditations on Democracy by Randal Maurice Jelks, Lawrence Hill Books
  • The Monster’s Bones: The Discovery of T. Rex and How It Shook Our World by David K. Randall, W. W. Norton & Company
  • Native American Stories for Kids: 12 Traditional Stories from Indigenous Tribes Across North America by Tom Pecore Weso, Rockridge Press
  • A New Guide to Kansas Mushrooms by Sherry Kay, Benjamin Sikes, and Caleb Morse, University Press of Kansas
  • Nothing but the Dirt: Stories from an American Farm Town by Kate Benz, University Press of Kansas
  • One Boy Watching by Grant Snider, Chronicle Books
  • River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard, Doubleday
  • The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S. Lewis, Hyperion
  • The Vagabond’s Way: 366 Meditations on Wanderlust, Discovery, and the Art of Travel by Rolf Potts, Random House
  • Winfield’s Walnut Valley Festival by Seth Bate, The History Press
Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttp://www.sunflowerstateradio.com
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 2020 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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