WNBA Announces Children's Bookseller Award Winners

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The Women's National Book Association (WNBA) has announced the winners of the 2004 Lucile Micheels Pannell Awards.

The UConn Co-op in Storrs, Connecticut, was awarded the prize for a general bookstore, and the winner in the children's specialty category was Hicklebee's Children's Books in San Jose, California. The announcement comes after six weeks of deliberation, and WNBA noted that the jury of five book industry professionals had selected UConn Co-op and Hicklebee's based on their creativity, responsiveness to community needs, passion, and understanding of children's books and young readers.

The Pannell Awards will be presented on Friday, June 4, at BookExpo America in Chicago at the Children's Book and Author Breakfast. Each winner will receive a check for $1,000 and a framed piece of original art created by a children's book illustrator. This year's art was contributed by artists Denise Fleming and Mo Willems.

"The entries from our nominees this year were so inspiring. These stores are really on the right track, not only in terms of helping young readers develop a passion for books, but also in terms of running smart, responsive businesses," noted Eileen Hanning, WNBA's Pannell committee chair, in a statement. "The winners this year demonstrated an extraordinary desire and ability to engage young readers and energize their growing love of books while simultaneously reaching out to the entire children's book buying market," she said, adding that "Hicklebee's and UConn Co-op do an amazing job serving children and the adults who buy books for them."

The Pannell Award was created in 1983 to honor Lucile Micheels Pannell, who was an esteemed Chicago bookseller. The award recognizes retail bookstores that excel at creatively bringing books and children together and inspiring children's interest in books and reading. This year's jury consisted of: Jenny Abrami, Chronicle Books; Steve Geck, Greenwillow Books; Judy Hijikata, The Reading Connection; Angus Killick, Hyperion Books for Children; and Susan Salzman Raab, Raab Associates.

In addition to the award winners, the jury selected the following stores for honorable mention: Kid's Center in Tucson, Arizona, and Oblong Books and Music in Millerton, New York.

The WNBA noted that the Pannell jury was especially impressed with Hicklebee's efforts to reach young readers from before birth through their teen years, implementing such programs as a baby registry program and an innovative press conference-format event for author Paul Fleischman. The jury highlighted UConn Co-op's strong focus on children's books, including hand-selling and outreach to the community, with such initiatives as the Connecticut Children's Book Fair and a Saturday morning summer program.

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 website at www.wnba-books.org.