Winner of the 2019 Gail Lee Martin Book Award

The Kansas Author Club met in Wichita on October 4-6, 2019. At the annual convention, they announce the winners of various book awards and one of those is the Kansas History Book Award, named in honor of Gail Lee Martin. Many people donated at the time of her death to help sponsor this book award.

The winner for 2019 is James Kenyon’s book, Golden Rule Days. Here are the judge’s comments about the book:

“The book is a history of the 109 Kansas high schools that have closed over the years. A remarkable amount of research went into compiling this book. Just the collecting of personal stories for each school and weaving them into the history must have taken years of work.

Each school gets 2 to 6 pages so it’s a hefty book at almost 400 pages. There’s a map highlighting the county so you can quickly see where the high school was. The entry includes the mascot, school colors, the year it closed, and the location. A brief history of the locale is followed by notable graduates, memories of teachers, activities and events, athletics, and why the school closed.

There are tidbits from yearbooks, memories from former students, and other bits of information collected by the author. There is some coverage of integration/segregation, a few school songs are featured, rivalries, and tragedies. Most of the schools have a photo of the building. The index includes the school names and names of individuals.

This is a solid reference title for public libraries and makes fun browsing for students seeking memories of their school days.”

Announcement of the 2019 Martin Kansas History Book Award

(from the KAC webpage)

The photo above shows Cynthia Ross, Gail’s daughter with the author James Kenyon at the convention. He is a repeat winner as his children’s book, A Cow for College, won the prize last year.

If anyone would like to contribute to keeping the book award funded, you can send a check to

Kansas Authors Club
C/o Tracy Million Simmons
P.O. Box 333
Emporia, KS 66801

Be sure to note on the check that it is for the Gail Lee Martin, Kansas History Book Award fund.

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