Flying Pig, Kepler's Win 2008 Pannell Awards

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On Tuesday, May 6, the Women's National Book Association named Kepler's Books and Magazines in Menlo Park, California, and The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont, the winners of the 2008 Lucile Micheels Pannell Awards. Presented annually since 1983, the awards recognize a general bookstore and a specialty store that excel in bringing books and young people together.

Honorable Mention was awarded to Vero Beach Book Center in Vero Beach, Florida.

A jury of five book industry professionals chose the winners based on creativity, responsiveness to community needs, and an understanding of young readers. Kepler's, winner in the general bookstore category, was cited by the judges for "an amazing job resurrecting a store that was on the verge of closing just three years ago." Receiving special mention were Kepler's initiatives, such as its African Library Project, that are "raising awareness of books for young people, not just in their community, but in parts of the world where children do not have books of their own."

In the specialty category, Flying Pig Bookstore owners Elizabeth Bluemle and Josie Leavitt were recognized for having "created a place that gives back to everyone who wants to be part of the book community" and for sharing their knowledge and experience with other booksellers at national and regional organizations, including the New England Independent Booksellers Association.

The jury awarded Vero Beach Book Center honorable mention in recognition of creative programming, such as the Coral Reef, which teach customers both young and old while entertaining them.

Each winner will receive a check for $1,000 and a framed piece of original art by a children's book illustrator. This year's art has been contributed by Janet Stevens, an award-winning illustrator of many books including her latest, Help Me, Mr. Mutt!, and by Chris Van Dusen, illustrator of the bestselling Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo, including this summer's Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig. The presentation of the awards will be on Thursday, May 29, at ABA's Celebration of Bookselling at BookExpo America.