Two UPK Titles Named 2020 Kansas Notable Books

State Librarian Eric Norris announced today the 15th annual selection of Kansas Notable Books. The fifteen books feature quality titles with wide public appeal, written either by a Kansan, set in Kansas, or about a Kansas related topic.

“I am proud to present the 2020 Kansas Notable Book list. This year’s list covers a wide swath of our cultural and natural history,” said Eric Norris, State Librarian. “The rich array of works on this year’s list examine petroglyphs across the prairie and go on fantastical high seas adventures with pirates; explore the careers of academics, athletes, and aviators; and consider the importance of family from the viewpoint of a young Exoduster in the 1880s and as a world traveler in a present day small western Kansas town. This year’s list will both educate and entertain. I encourage every Kansan to contact their local public library and celebrate the artists and artistry of Kansas.”

A committee of librarians, academics, and historians nominated titles from a list of eligible books, and state librarian Eric Norris selected the final list. In 2006, the first Kansas Notable Books list was announced. Since then more than 200 books have been recognized for their contribution to Kansas literary heritage.

Two University Press of Kansas books were selected.

Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smoky Hills by Rex Buchanan, Burke Griggs, and Joshua Svaty

Long before the coming of Euro-Americans, native inhabitants of what is now Kansas left their mark on the land: carvings in the soft orange and red sandstone of the states Smoky Hills. Though noted by early settlers, these carvings are little known—and, largely found on private property today, they are now rarely seen. In a series of photographs, Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smoky Hills offers viewers a chance to read the story that these carvings tell of the region’s first people—and to appreciate an important feature of Kansas history and its landscape that is increasingly threatened by erosion and vandalism.

Birds, Bones, and Beetles; The Improbable Career and Remarkable Legacy of University of Kansas Naturalist Charles D. Bunker by Chuck Warner

Every day, in natural history museums all across the country, colonies of dermestid beetles diligently devour the decaying flesh off of animal skeletons that are destined for the museum’s specimen collection. That time-saving process was developed and perfected at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum by Charles D. Bunker, a lowly assistant taxidermist who would rise to become the curator of recent vertebrates and who made an indelible mark on his field. That innovative breakthrough serves as a testament to the tenacity of a quietly determined naturalist.

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

For more information about Kansas Notable Books, explore this page, call 785-296-3296, or email infodesk@ks.gov.