WNBA Announces 2006 Children’s Bookseller Award Winners
Date: May 8, 2006
The Women’s National Book Association is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Lucile Micheels Pannell Award. This year’s Award for a general bookstore goes to Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont. The winner in the children’s specialty category is A Likely Story Children’s Bookstore in Alexandria, Virginia. The Awards will be presented at BookExpo America in Washington, D.C. at the Children’s Book and Author Breakfast on Friday, May 19, 2006. The breakfast is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association-Children’s Book Council Joint Committee, the Association of Booksellers for Children, and BookExpo America. Each winner will receive a check for $1000 and a framed piece of original art created by a children’s book illustrator. This year’s art was contributed by artists Marla Frazee and Graeme Base. In addition to the Award winners, the jury selected Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona for an honorable mention in the general store category.
The Pannell Award was established in 1981, and first given in 1983, to honor Ms. Pannell, a model bookwoman and children’s bookseller. The Award recognizes retail bookstores who excel at creatively bringing books and children together and inspiring children’s interest in books and reading. After six weeks of deliberation, the jury of five book industry professionals selected Northshire and A Likely Story as the winners based on creativity, responsiveness to community needs, passion, and understanding of children’s books and young readers.
“The winners this year are both well-established stores–Northshire is 30 years old and A Likely Story is more than 20–but both have re-invented themselves over time to respond to the changing needs and interests of their communities,” explained Eileen Hanning, WNBA Pannell Award Chair. “The stores that won this year were chosen because their day-to-day practices are truly dedicated to the needs of young readers and their families. In addition, both stores take handselling so seriously they have training materials or programs to cultivate this essential art.”
“Children’s booksellers attending BEA this year have a wonderful opportunity to visit one of the winning stores. A Likely Story is less than nine miles from the Washington Convention Center, and only two blocks from the King Street Metro Station,” added Hanning. “I hope they’ll take a break from prowling the exhibit hall and go see A Likely Story for themselves!”
This is the second Pannell Award for A Likely Story. It won for the first time in 1988. The jury found this store to be a model of energy, enthusiasm and business sense. With a staff of just seven people (and one dog), A Likely Story conducts seven story times a week, including a Chapter By Chapter story time, distinct story times for children under and over two, and foreign language and musical story times. They conduct summer camps for readers of all ages and interests, snow day specials, and family nights. One juror remarked, “Their energy and enthusiasm are amazing. I am impressed by how much they have created that is mostly done with an expenditure of time and hard work.”
After twenty years under the same owners, A Likely Story changed hands in 2004. Careful market analysis, revitalizing relationships with schools and community groups, and a marketing strategy based on a large volume of high-quality children’s book-themed events for families keep this little store going strong.
In the general store category, Northshire Bookstore impressed the jury with their store-wide commitment to all readers, not just the grown-up ones. Indeed, both the physical layout of their children’s section–occupying the entire sunlit second floor of the store–and the warm and enthusiastic welcome teens receive in the store’s café–to meet, study, or hang out–demonstrate how much Northshire values young readers. Their regular programming includes after-school programs where children can explore a topic in depth, grandparents’ night (created to help these special book buyers feel more confident choosing books for the children in their lives), and ongoing crafts, story times, book groups, and poetry slams.
Northshire puts the same passion and effort into the buying, staffing, marketing, merchandising, and graphics for its children’s section as they do for the rest of the store. The value they place on even the youngest of their customers shines through in their business practices. “Northshire is the gold standard for how general bookstores should treat their sections for young people. Every aspect is given such careful thought and total commitment–no wonder they are the byword for bookselling excellence in our industry” exclaimed one Pannell juror.
Like Northshire, Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, is also 30 years old. The jury awarded Changing Hands an honorable mention for their especially distinctive work with teen readers and with the Phoenix Zoo, as well as for their remarkably community-minded philosophy.
This year’s Pannell Award jury consisted of:
Jill Bailey, Penguin Group USA and DK Books for Young Readers
Geoffrey Hughes, Harcourt Trade Publishers
Anne Irish, Children’s Bookselling Consultuant
Ellen Myrick, North-South Books
Jason Wells, Abrams Books for Young Readers/Amulet Books
The Women’s National Book Association, founded in 1917, is a national organization of women and men who work with and value books. WNBA, an all-volunteer organization, exists to promote reading and to support the role of women in the community of the book. To learn more about the organization, visit their web site at www.wnba-books.org.
Name: Eileen Hanning, WNBA Pannell Chair
Email: eidh at yahoo.com