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Evelyn Thurman Award

BannerEvelyn Thuman photo


The Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award is given to honor the memory of former WKU librarian, Evelyn Thurman, who made significant contributions to children’s librarianship and literacy during her 25 years of service.

To learn more about Evelyn and her contributions, please visit her biography page or view past award winners here.


Congratulations to the 2014 Award Winners


Christa Carpenter and Mark Wayne Adams

Jilli, That's Silly Book Cover

Western Kentucky University Libraries has selected Jilli, That’s Silly! --A Story About Being a Girl, written by Christa Carpenter and illustrated by Mark Wayne Adams, as the winner of the eighth Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award. The national award was created to honor the memory of former WKU librarian Evelyn Thurman, who made significant contributions to children’s librarianship and literacy during her 25 years of service to the university and community. Books eligible for the award must be written or illustrated by a Kentucky author or illustrator or have a significant Kentucky-related connection. 

“The committee reviewed several great books; however, this particular book stood out,” said Deana Groves, selection committee member and department head for Library Technical Services at WKU. “It has a very positive message to be true to who you are, and the whimsical illustrations are very colorful and eye catching.”

 Christa Carpenter is a mother, a teacher, and a writer. Since childhood she has enjoyed writing plays, poetry, and stories. She lives in Maitland, Florida, with her two children, Nicholas and Jillian, and their funny dog Eddie.

 Mark Wayne Adams was born in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, and is a graduate of Murray State University where he received a BFA in drawing. Adams has illustrated over forty books, including The Belly Button Fairy and Polly and Her Pigtails. He has worked for Walt Disney World Company, Sea World Orlando, GSI Architectural Sign Company and is now the CEO of his own business. He currently serves as President for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

 Both the author and illustrator will be honored at an awards luncheon in November where they will receive monetary awards from Ms. Thurman’s endowment and commemorative plaques. While in the area, Carpenter and Adams will visit local schools as part of the Southern Kentucky Book Fest’s “Fall into Books” program. For more information about the Evelyn Thurman award, visit  

 This program is made possible by the Evelyn Thurman Children’s Author Fund, the Southern Kentucky Book Fest partnership, and WKU Libraries.

Bar: eligibility

Books eligible for the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award fall into two categories, to be awarded on alternating years: picture books and chapter books. Books must be: a) written or illustrated by a Kentucky author or illustrator; or b) have a significant Kentucky-related theme. A Kentucky author or illustrator is defined as an author/illustrator meeting one or more of the following qualifications: a) a native-born Kentuckian; b) an author/illustrator living in Kentucky; c) an author/illustrator whose permanent home address is Kentucky but who does not at present live in Kentucky. The winner(s) will be invited to WKU to speak to area school children and participate in an award ceremony, where they will receive a monetary prize and commemorative plaque at a reception.

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 Last Modified 9/30/14