Between the Covers: Clare Vanderpool in Town Saturday

Between the Covers: Clare Vanderpool in Town Saturday

A collaboration by Telluride’s Bookends: Between the Covers Bookstore and Wilkinson Public Library.

Clare Vanderpool

Clare Vanderpool

Newbery Medal-winning author Clare Vanderpool will pay a first-time visit to Telluride, Saturday. August 1, 11 a.m. at the Wilkinson Public Library.

Vanderpool won the award in 2011 for “Moon Over Manifest,” (Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books) (ages 9-12, grades 5-8) and it was the first time in 30 years that a debut novelist was awarded the prestigious children’s literature prize, administered by a division of the American Library Association.

The Newbery Medal was established in 1921 and has been awarded in the past to the likes of Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins), Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time), Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia), and Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux). “Vanderpool illustrates the importance of stories as a way for children to understand the past, inform the present and provide hope for the future,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Cynthia K. Richey. Vanderpool followed up with another standout, “Navigating Early,” a 2014 Printz Honor Book about a boy named Jack from Kansas, another from Maine named Early, a boat on the Appalachian trail, the search for a great bear, and 3.14 (pi), culminating in a journey of a lifetime.


The town of Manifest is based on Frontenac, Kan., the home of debut author Clare Vanderpool’s maternal grandparents. Vanderpool was inspired to write about what the idea of “home” might look like to a girl who had grown up riding the rails. Drawing on stories she heard as a child, along with research in town newspapers, yearbooks, and graveyards, Clare found a rich and colorful history for her story.



Publishers Weekly (09/27/2010): *Starred Review* Set in 1936, this memorable coming-of-age story follows 12-year-old Abilene Tucker’s unusual summer in her father’s hometown of Manifest, Kans., while he’s away on a railroad job. Having had an itinerant upbringing, Abilene is eager to connect to her father’s childhood, a goal that proves difficult. The immigrant town has become rundown, but is populated with well-developed, idiosyncratic characters and has a dynamic past involving the KKK, an influenza scare, and a bootlegging operation. Manifest’s history emerges in stories recounted by Miss Sadie (a Hungarian medium) and in news columns written in 1917 by Hattie Mae Harper, “Reporter About Town.” With new friends Lettie and Ruthanne, Abilene pieces together the past, coming to understand, as Miss Sadie says, that “maybe what you’re looking for is not so much the mark your daddy made on this town, but the mark the town made on your daddy.” Witty, bold, and curious, Abilene is as unforgettable as the other residents of Manifest, and the variety of voices allows the town’s small mysteries to bloom. Replete with historical details and surprises, Vanderpool’s debut delights, while giving insight into family and community. Ages 912. (Oct.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Booklist (10/15/2010): *Starred Review* After a life of riding the rails with her father, 12-year-old Abilene cant understand why he has sent her away to stay with Pastor Shady Howard in Manifest, Missouri, a town he left years earlier; but over the summer she pieces together his story. In 1936, Manifest is a town worn down by sadness, drought, and the Depression, but it is more welcoming to newcomers than it was in 1918, when it was a conglomeration of coal-mining immigrants who were kept apart by habit, company practice, and prejudice. Abilene quickly finds friends and uncovers a local mystery. Their summer-long spy hunt reveals deep-seated secrets and helps restore residents faith in the bright future once promised on the towns sign. Abilene’s first-person narrative is intertwined with newspaper columns from 1917 to 1918 and stories told by a diviner, Miss Sadie, while letters home from a soldier fighting in WWI add yet another narrative layer. Vanderpool weaves humor and sorrow into a complex tale involving murders, orphans, bootlegging, and a mother in hiding. With believable dialogue, vocabulary and imagery appropriate to time and place, and well-developed characters, this rich and rewarding first novel is like sucking on a butterscotch. Smooth and sweet. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)


Clare Vanderpool lives in her native Wichita, Kansas, with her husband and their four children, 4 blocks from her childhood home. The kids were 1, 3, 5, and 7 when she started writing Moon Over Manifest; they were 10, 12, 14, and 16 when the book was published. Vanderpool has family ties to the Western Slope of Colorado, having spent time here with her husband’s family, who used to take a train from Grand Junction to Telluride to ski when kids lift tickets were $6.


There is a jazz performance by Free Notes Harmony Parks especially for children and their families as part of the Telluride Jazz Festival at the library after Clare’s event.

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