National Book Festival, 2014....Proudly Announcing Missouri's Book Selection!

Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom, written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans, Kansas City, Missouri.



The Missouri Center for the Book is honored to announce that it has selected Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom, a story of the Underground Railroad, by Shane W. Evans, as Missouri’s selection for the National Book Festival’s “Discover Great Places through Reading Map.” Each state selects one title of fiction or non-fiction, a book about the state or by an author from the state that is a good read for children or young adults. The map is distributed at the Pavilion of the States at the Festival listing “Great Reads About Great Places.”  The book is the 2012 winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award.  Evans’ outstanding, award-winning story of the Underground Railroad is told in sparse text and haunting pictures, presents the story of a family escaping slavery, their fight for the light of freedom and the light of a new life, discovered along their way.  This book uses Evans’ powerful illustration style to help readers feel the darkness of the terrifying journey, as well as the light and joy when the journey is completed.

2012 Coretta Scott King Winner, 2011 NAACP Image Award winning artist Shane W. Evans has lent his talents to nearly 30 children’s books. His work has brought him recognition from the White House with an invitation to a previous National Book Festival, as well as being featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. Evans has worked with a diverse group of individuals, including Holly Robinson Pete, Shaquille O’Neal, Taye Diggs, bell hooks, Deloris Jordan and Rosilyn Jordan.  His work has has been recognized by several prestigious publishers, including, Scholastic Inc., Harper Collins, Candlewick, and Chronicle books. Shane's contribution to the field of children’s literature is well known and highly regarded.  The widely popular Shanna Show series is now a Disney animated short, inspiring the spin off, Shane’s Kindergarten Countdown. African American history successful trilogy, Nobody Gonna Turn Me Round, was nominated for an NAACP image award.  Evans is the founder of The Dream Studio, a community art space in Kansas City, Missouri, where he resides.

The National Book Festival will be held in Washington DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, August 30, 2014. This year’s festival will feature authors, poets and illustrators in several pavilions. Festival-goers can meet and hear firsthand from their favorite poets and authors, get books signed, hear special entertainment, have photos taken with storybook characters and participate in a variety of activities. The Pavilion of the States will represent reading and library programs and literary events in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. trusts and territories. Children attending the festival are given maps to take to each state’s table to have that state stamped to receive a prize. For more information, please visit

If you have the opportunity to attend, don't miss it... and be sure to stop by the Missouri table to say you are from the Show Me State!