|Evelyn Thurman's Bio||Past Evelyn Thurman Award Winners|
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.
Congratulations to the 2017 Award Winner
Western Kentucky University Libraries has selected River Runs Deep, by Jennifer Bradbury, as the winner of the eleventh Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award. The annual 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.
This year’s winning book is a historical fiction book centering around a twelve-year-old boy sent to live in Mammoth Cave to heal him of his deadly disease, known today as tuberculosis. While in the cave, Elias trips onto what is known as the Underground Railroad.
Kirkus Reviews said “Bradbury uses an odd historical fact to jump-start a story about the Underground Railroad,” calling it “a solid look at a fascinating historical side note.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books states “Elias’ grappling with the morality of slavery is both thoughtful and realistic” adding “The cave itself enjoys a featured role, and readers up for a satisfying fusion of historical fiction, conspiracy, and survival will want to explore.”
Bradbury grew up in Owensboro, Kentucky and now lives in Burlington, Washington. She attended Western Kentucky University and is a former English teacher at Burlington-Edison High School where she fell in love with YA literature. River Runs Deep is a return to one of her favorite childhood settings—Mammoth Cave.
When asked about the book, Drakes Creek Middle School Media Librarian Renee Hale stated, “I really enjoyed the main character, Elias and the fact that he knew what was right and what was wrong,” said Hale. “He wasn’t wishy-washy in his beliefs and in the end he did what he needed to do to save those around him.”
The author will be honored at an awards luncheon in November. While in the area, Bradbury will visit local schools, reinforcing the importance of reading, writing and the value of books. Visit http://www.wku.edu/library/awards/evelynthurman.php for more information about the award.
This program is made possible by the Evelyn Thurman Children’s Author Fund, the Southern Kentucky Book Fest partnership, and Friends of WKU Libraries. For more information, contact Sara Volpi, literary outreach coordinator for WKU Libraries, firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-745-4502.
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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