...A Time To Read


The Missouri Center for the Book (MCB) recently named George Hodgman's, "Bettyville" (Viking, 2015) as the winner of the first Ardis L. Glenn Prize.  The prize is named in honor of noted Kansas City Antiquarian Bookseller, Ardis L. Glenn.  Hodgman's memoir, equal parts compassion and humor, recount his return to Paris, Missouri from his literary life in New York to take care of his aging mother.  

The MCB selection committee had a rich assortment of books to review.  The nominating process was carefully crafted to be inclusive for all books meeting the general requirement of a "strong connection" to Missouri.  That connection could be the author, subject matter, publisher, printer or illustrator.  In keeping with the spirit of Ardis L. Glenn and her love of fine and rare books provisions are included for craftspeople in the competition.  A binder or book artist could also be considered for the award.

From the many books nominated a short list of three titles was agreed upon by the committee.  The winning book, "Bettyville",  along with "Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days along the Mississippi River " (Acclaim Press, Moberly, Mo.) by Gayle Harper and "Painting for Peace in Ferguson"  (Amphorae Publishing Group, St. Louis) by Carol Swartout Klein.

"Roadtrip with a Raindrop" is a beautifully written and exquisitely photographed book recounting Ms Harper's trip from the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota to New Orleans and the rivers end at the Gulf of Mexico.  The 90 days refers to the time it takes for a raindrop falling at the source to travel the length of the river.  In thoughtful and moving prose Harper tells stories of the river, the towns and most importantly the people who are touched by the river.  Harper is an intrepid traveller and the book is filled with wonderful anecdotes of river life and the characters she meets along the way.  http://gayleharper.com

"Painting for Peace in Ferguson" is no stranger to the Missouri Center for the Book and the committee.  It was the MCB 2015 representative to the National Book Festival in Washington D.C.  It documents a spontaneous response by the community of Ferguson, Missouri to the devastating events of 2014.  Rather than continue a cycle of violence, people picked up paint brushes and decorated the plywood boards covering broken windows and storefronts.  The book has received national attention and contributed to a lessening of tensions in the community.  The poem along with the pictures of the paintings remind us of the power of peace, hope and love.  The book is a kalidescope of color with an uplifting message.  Proceeds from the book have been donated to the community by Klein and her message of hope continues to resonate as Ferguson rebuilds and moves forward.  http://www.paintingforpeacebook.com

The Missouri Center for the Book is an affiliate of the Library of Congress.  It is one of 50 state centers. We are proud to have established a prize based in Missouri and hope it will become a tradition in the literary life of our state.