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Posted on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 : 9:49 a.m.

2009 Great Lakes Book Award winners

By Nicola Rooney

This year's Great Lakes Book Award winners are: Fiction: The Great Perhaps, Joe Meno, W.W. Norton General: The Foie Gras Wars, Mark Caro, Simon & Schuster Children's Chapter Book: The Blind Faith Hotel, Pamela Todd, Simon & Schuster Children's Picture Book: That Book Woman, Heather Henson, David Small (illus.), Simon & Schuster Voice of the Heartland: Becky Anderson, Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, Ill.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 2, during the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association Fall Trade Show in Cleveland, Ohio. Winners will receive $500 and an award designed and produced by Pewabic Pottery, a historic maker of art tiles, ceramics, and glazes, based in Detroit. Winning titles are also featured in the association's holiday catalog, From Our Shelves to Yours: Books for Giving, which has a circulation of about 600,000 copies and is distributed through newspapers, mailings and independent bookstores throughout the region. Marketing kits promoting the winners and finalists will be mailed to bookstore members in October, following the trade show. Becky Anderson: The Voice of the Heartland award is presented to a person or company in the book industry for a lifetime contribution to regional books. This year's Voice of the Heartland recipient, Becky Anderson, of Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, IL, is being recognized for her years of leadership in the American Booksellers Association, the Association of Booksellers for Children, and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. In addition to her association work, Rebecca has long supported "Buy Local" programs in Naperville and in the Great Lakes region. Great Perhaps: In The Great Perhaps, Joe Meno, presents the Caspers, a family of cowards. It's a revealing look at anxiety, ambiguity, and the need for complicated answers to complex questions. Meno teaches Creative Writing at Columbia College in Chicago and is the author of several books, including Hairstyles of the Damned. Foie Gras Wars: Mark Caro chronicles in The Foie Gras Wars the fierce food fight that erupted when Charlie Trotter forswore foie gras and the City of Chicago banned it. The story goes beyond Epicurean circles to the bigger questions of how we should treat the animals we eat. Caro is a longtime Chicago Tribune reporter whose writing on the controversy received awards from the James Beard Foundation and the Assocation of Food Journalists. Blind Faith: The Blind Faith Hotel is a novel about 14-year old Zoe, whose family is falling apart. When she moves to Illinois, Zoe feels like her whole world is going to pieces. She wonders how she'll survive, but finds an answer in an unlikely place and unlikely person. This is Pamela Todd's second published book. She lives in Illinois with her husband and children. That Book Woman: That Book Woman, by Heather Henson, is a rare and moving tale that honors a special part of American history - the Pack Horse Librarians, who in the 1930s helped untold numbers of Appalachian children see stories amid the "chicken scratch" and made them into lifetime readers. It's illustrated with David Small's distinctive ink and watercolor paintings. Henson is from Kentucky, Small lives in Michigan . The other finalists for this year's awards were: Children's Chapter Books

After the Trains, Gloria Whelan, Harper Collins I Put a Spell on You, Adam Selzer, Random House Knucklehead, Jon Scieszka, Penguin Group The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, Candace Fleming, Random House My Brother Abe, Harry Mazer, Simon & Schuster

Children's Picture Books Baby Dragon, Amy Ehrlich, Will Hillenbrand (Illus.), Candlewick Press Birds, Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek (Illus.), Harper Collins Old Bear, Kevin Henkes, Harper Collins The Underwear Salesman, J. Patrick Lewis, Serge Bloch (Illus.), Simon & Schuster

Fiction Dark Places, Gillian Flynn, Random House A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Starvation Lake, Bryan Gruley, Simon & Schuster The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski, Harper Collins

General Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting, Michael Perry, Harper Collins Horse Soldiers, Doug Stanton, Simon & Schuster Ripped, Greg Kot, Simon & Schuster A Splintered History of Wood, Spike Carlsen, Harper Collins The Great Lakes Book Awards were established in 1995 to recognize and reward excellence in the writing and publishing of books that capture the spirit and enhance awareness of the Great Lakes region. To be eligible for the awards, books needed to be by authors who live in the Great Lakes region or have a Great Lakes theme or setting and have been published between June 1, 2008, and May 31, 2009. Detailed information about the awards is available on the association Web site.